This is comforting, thick, creamy, vegetarian soup that is perfect for this time of year. It's also quick to prep and cook using butternut squash already cut into cubes. Cut cubes can be found in the produce section of the market. You can, also, use butternut squash spirals if cubes aren't available.
I use shallots for the soup. They are a mild-flavored member of the onion family. Shallots break down as they cook, making a smoother sauce than their onion cousins.
Gala or Honeycrisp apples are used. They're sweet and do not turn brown when cut.
* White or any sweet onion can be used instead of shallots.
* If butternut squash cubes or spirals are not available, peel a whole squash and cut into 1-inch cubes. They may take longer to cook.
* Four crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bottled minced garlic.
* If using other apples, cut them just before adding them to the soup to prevent them from turning brown.
* To buy: 1 pound butternut squash cubes, 1 jar minced garlic, 1 small piece fresh ginger or 1 bottle ground ginger, 1 bottle ground nutmeg, 1 carton light cream, 2 shallots, 1 Gala or Honeycrisp apple, 1 whole-grain baguette, 1 small container pecan pieces and 1 container vegetable broth.
* Staples: olive oil and salt.
Butternut Squash Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
4 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1 pound)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
2 slices toasted whole- grain baguette
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons light cream
1 cup diced Gala or Honeycrisp apples
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and butternut squash cubes. Saute 5 minutes, stirring several times. Add the vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and simmer 15 minutes. The squash should be soft. Cook a few more minutes if needed.
Meanwhile toast the pecans and baguette. When soup is ready, add the nutmeg and salt to taste. Remove soup to a blender, and process until smooth. Divide between two large soup bowls, and swirl cream onto the soup. Sprinkle pecans and apples on top, and serve with the toasted baguette.
Yield 2 servings.
Per serving: 542 calories (47% from fat), 28.2 grams fat (4.5 grams saturated, 14.3 grams monounsaturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 11.4 grams protein, 72.6 grams carbohydrates, 11.1 grams fiber, 362 milligrams sodium.
— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer
Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." Listen to Gassenheimer on www.WDNA.org and all major podcast sites. Email her at Linda@ DinnerInMinutes.com.