the joy of [curried butternut squash] soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup – photograph by Japhet Alvarez

This post appeared in my Fresh Perspective column in Kingston This Week on 22 November. I meant to post it here while I was still away but between American Thanksgiving and driving home from Vermont yesterday – I’m late!

I’m making this wonderful four-ingredient vegan soup this weekend – a perfect, warming recipe for a cold, late November weekend.

The Joy of Soup

I’m spending a month away from home – in Vermont – where I’m doing a writing residency. One of the huge joys and perils of being here is that the talented (though slightly ferocious) chef cooks three meals a day for the staff and sixty some-odd artists visiting from around the world.

It’s a joy because the chef – who has tattoos of scallops, garlic cloves, and cooking implements down his arms – is inspired and creative. This is his art – beautiful food – and it’s exciting to see what he will come up with next. It’s a peril because most of us are gaining weight, unable to resist the temptation of mussel and prawn curry, maple glazed ribs, New York bagels and lox, Maine scallops, brown sugar glazed salmon with cranberry couscous, and local Vermont bacon, cheddar, yogurt and apples. The brownies are practically dangerous they’re so wickedly good – dense, dark and loaded with walnuts. And at every meal there are loaves of artisan rye bread and Vermont creamery butter.

It’s an interesting thing being fed three meals a day. As a lover of food, kitchens and cooking, I appreciate the huge effort, care, and time that goes into the meals I’m being served. I know firsthand that really good cooking is a labour of love. Not having to grocery shop, plan menus, spend time cooking or cleaning up afterwards has freed me up to do so many other things. But that said one of the things I’m most looking forward to is getting back into my own small but efficient and beautiful kitchen.

 I’m not ungrateful but all the choice and abundance have left me craving simple one-dish meals. My own perfectly scrambled eggs on thinly sliced homemade brown bread, toasted and lightly buttered. Homemade soup. A grilled cheddar cheese sandwich. An uncomplicated salad of organic greens, roasted beets and chèvre with a balsamic vinaigrette. A humble potato and onion frittata.

But it’s this soup – Curried Butternut Squash Soup – made with only four ingredients that I’m longing for most. It’s healthy, fast to make, satisfying and tasty. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan – so an excellent recipe to have on hand if you’re catering to anyone on a special diet. I made a pot before I left and I’m still thinking about how good it was. It’s the first thing I’ll make when I get back home.

Don’t substitute any other type of squash in this recipe. Butternut squash are perfect for soup making because they are intensely flavourful, dense, and cook down to a perfect silky consistency. Like most of the rest of the winter squash family, they are high in fibre, loaded with beta carotene, very low in fat and sodium, and a good source of Vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Measure for measure butternut squash has half the calories and carbohydrates of sweet potato. On top of all this – like most of the squash family – butternut squash are easy to grow and inexpensive to buy.

This recipe from A Taste of Wintergreen serves four and makes a perfect simple meal with a good loaf of bread.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

 1 large butternut squash (approx. 1.2 kg), peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 5-6 cups of cubed squash and don’t worry if there’s more)

 4 cups organic vegetarian stock

1 400 ml can coconut milk

1 tbsp red curry paste (I use Patak’s Madras Curry Paste)

Bring the squash to the boil in the stock and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until squash is very tender. When the squash is soft enough to mash with a potato masher, remove from the heat and mash thoroughly, in the stock.

Return the soup to low heat, stir in the curry paste and then the coconut milk. Let the soup cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld, and serve immediately.


16 thoughts on “the joy of [curried butternut squash] soup

  1. Hmm… think this will be on the menu this week for sure……sounds delicious and extremely simple… Thanks, Lindy!!

  2. This is perfect for tomorrow as I have everything needed….even the coconut milk! Thanks….(whoops, no curry paste though…ha!) off to the store….
    I am a soup lover too as it helps control my appetite as is so good for basic nutrition.

  3. Looks and sounds delicious! I have never prepared butternut squash. You make it sound easy and delectable!!

  4. Why did I not think of this Lindy? Butternut squash is my favourite soup and I’m addicted to coconut milk. This Thai twist is perfect. I often roast my butternut squash before using it for soup, as it gives it a lovely caramelly, nutty flavour..and I usually grind some five spice powder on top. In an utterly pretentious move, we brought back spice pastes from Thailand this year and froze them in ice cube trays. I’ve just popped a red one into the pot and the flavours are to die for. Thank you, Lindy for inspiring my Tuesday night soupl bowl!

  5. YUM! Thanks so much for sharing this easy and very tasty looking soup. I love soup year-round but especially when the snow is flying 🙂 So glad I’ve found you and your delicious blog. Waves from the other side of the country, and a cheer for peace-sign Gravatars 😉 ~Gina

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