We’re in the heart of autumn, in all its splendor: the crisp air, the crunching leaves, the vibrant gold and amber colors. And of course—the best part—cozy comfort food! And what’s more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup that warms you all the way through?
I’ve been in soup heaven these last couple of months, exploring all kinds of new recipes and concoctions of my own. There’s one soup I created that I’ve returned to numerous times and deemed my favorite. It’s simple to make, incredibly nutritious, and oh-so scrumptious! Make way for my new…Autumn Spice Squash Soup.
This soup has some unique qualities that make it extra awesome. For one, it’s flexible! You can make this soup with any sweet squash. I’ve tried butternut, acorn, and dumpling squash, and each produced great results. It’s also versatile. You can tweak this recipe to create three different kinds of soup (including the original):
Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup: Use butternut squash; swap out the vegetable broth for coconut milk; double the curry seasoning; and omit the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Sweet Creamy Squash Soup: Use all milk (of your choice) for the liquid; replace curry seasoning with cinnamon; add a dash of allspice.
Autumn Spice Squash Soup: This is the recipe below, essentially a combination of the previous two. Autumn flavors come through with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and the curry seasoning makes the spices shine. The coconut milk and vegetable broth combine in a delicious contrast of sweet creaminess with a salty, thinner base. I created this soup to capture both my love of the sweet, creamy version and my husband’s preference for the saltier, spicier version. Compromise does create the best results!
In addition to the wonderful flavors, this soup makes the top of my list because the ingredients are so affordable and accessible! The vegetables are some of the cheapest available, and they can sit on your counter for a long time before rotting. I consider these ingredients staples in my kitchen, so I usually have them all on hand (it helps that they don’t need to be fresh). When I’m out of ideas, this soup is one of my go-to meals.
This is such a great time of year for squash. According to nutritional consultant and bestselling author Kimberly Snyder, our bodies need different foods in each season—and the foods we need just so happen to coincide with the plants that grow seasonally. Snyder states that our bodies need warmer, heavier, cooked foods to sustain and keep us warm through the cold winter months. This is why fall foods like winter squash and root vegetables stay good for multiple months—to provide food during the barren winter.
Squash is bursting with wholesome goodness! A single serving of butternut squash provides almost 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of folate, and over 100 percent of vitamin A. That beautiful orange color reveals heart disease-fighting carotenoids. And a little-known secret: the seeds are packed with vitamins and healthy fats. Pumpkin seeds in particular have gained attention for these health benefits, but all squash share this nutritional goodness. That’s why I love that we puree the seeds in this recipe. Leave nothing to waste!
Squash isn’t the only star in this soup. Onion and garlic are wonderful immunity boosters, and who doesn’t need a flu-fighter this time of year? Plus the spices add their own nutritional benefits. Cinnamon is great for regulating blood sugar. Nutmeg relieves indigestion and detoxes the body. Curry powder contributes to bone health, and recent research suggests it may even reduce various cancer growths and activities in the human body. So let’s get cooking!
Autumn Spice Squash Soup
I have a confession: I’m a recipe rebel. I ignore measurements, and I season to taste. So while you can certainly follow this recipe to the letter, I recommend holding off on the spices until the end and then tasting as you go. This way, you can cater to the flavor that’s perfect for your palate! For maximum nutritional benefits, purchase organic ingredients and local vegetables if possible.
Note that the curry seasoning called for in this recipe is different than pure curry powder. In addition to the curry, it contains a mix of other spices. You can use curry powder here, but keep in mind it will result in a stronger curry flavor. This recipe also calls for you to leave the squash seeds intact. However, if you don’t have a high power blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, you may need to omit the seeds.
1 large butternut squash, 2 acorn squash, or 4 dumpling squash
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1½ cups vegetable broth (I use low-sodium so I can add salt to taste, but regular works as well)
1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk or milk of your choice (coconut adds a natural sweetness)
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or sea salt (table salt works fine if it’s all you have on hand)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1½ teaspoon curry seasoning
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup pumpkin seeds (for topping)
- Place whole squash in preheated 400°F oven for 30 minutes, or until tender all the way through. Peel cooked squash (it will slide right off) and chop into a few large pieces, leaving the seeds intact (unless you don’t have a high-power blender; see note above).
- Heat coconut or olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until slightly browned. Add garlic and cook until slightly browned.
- Add onion and garlic to high-power blender. Add broth, then blend on medium-high until pureed.
- Transfer to a pot and cook over medium heat. Slowly add coconut milk until you reach your desired consistency.
- Add salt, pepper, and spices, tasting as you go. Top with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!