Curry Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup
It’s been raining a lot the past few days, sheets of rain in fact. It makes driving into the City on a daily basis so much harder with traffic, drivers going too fast and the pouring rain causing slick roads. Although I can’t complain too much, California needs the rain now and I’d rather have wet roads than the piles of snow on the East Coast. The rainy weather has positive qualities though, I sleep so much better with the steady pounding of rain drops on my window and it put me in a soup mood.
I love soups of all types, Cambodian Herbal Chicken, Lentil & Sausage, Pho, Soondubu, Ramen and Chicken Noodle just to name a few. There’s something that makes you feel so cozy and comfortable when tucking into a hot bowl of slurp-tastic goodness. I wanted something incredibly easy to make, good for me and full of flavor. I just happened to be looking in my cupboard and spied a bottle of yellow curry powder; luckily I’d gone grocery shopping that morning and had a ton of fresh fruits and veggies on hand. I decided it was kismet and I must, absolutely MUST make myself a bowl of Curry Butternut Squash & Carrot soup.
This soup is vegan as I used vegetable stock and no animal products, it has hints of warming spices from fennel seeds, cumin and paprika as well as booming flavors from the curry and shishito peppers. What are Shishito Peppers? Glad you asked! They’re an Asian variety of pepper that is small, about the size of your pinky and they can range from sweet to hot. It’s like a Russian roulette of flavor; you’re not sure when you bite into it what you’ll get. They have a slight fruity flavor and I love them lightly grilled and salted. Only 1 in 10 peppers are actually spicy but not enough to set your mouth on fire. It’s one of my new favorite ingredients to use.
I’m all about ease with my recipes; I just roughly chopped everything the same size, threw it into a soup pot then pureed it all at the end. My little secret is adding a sweet variety of apple in the mix; it lends sweetness without any extra added sugar. I topped my soup with Scallion and Chive oil and Grilled Cheese Croutons because soup and grilled cheese just go together in my book. If you want to keep this vegan, omit the grilled cheese and add some toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for texture. Either way you top it, this soup will surely become one of your favorites no matter the weather!
- 1 lbs. Butternut Squash, 1 inch dice
- ½ lbs. Carrots, 1 inch dice
- 1 Apple, 1 inch dice, sweet variety such as Gala or Pink Lady
- 10 Shishito Peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 Medium Onion, roughly chopped
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
- 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp. Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp. Paprika Powder
- 1 tbsp. Curry Powder
- ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper, optional
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4-5 Cups Vegetable Stock, enough to cover vegetables
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. Oil, I used Grapeseed
Scallion & Chive Oil:
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 4 tbsp. Chives, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp. Scallions, thinly sliced
Grilled Cheese Croutons:
- 2 slices of Bread, I used a sodium free Sprouted Wheat variety
- 2 slices of Cheese, I used Pepper Jack
- Coconut Oil Spray
- Over Medium High heat, add oil and onions to a soup pot, stir until onions are translucent, about 5 mins.
- Lower heat to medium, add garlic and fennel seeds, continue to stir until both are fragrant but careful not to burn, about 2 mins.
- Add Turmeric, Cumin, Curry, Paprika and Cayenne; allow spices to bloom in oil, about 1 min.
- Add butternut squash, shishito peppers, apples, carrots as well as salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until covered in spices, 1 min.
- Turn heat to high, add bay leaf and enough vegetable stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to low and allow simmering until vegetables are soft. About 20-25 mins.
- Turn off heat, discard bay leaf and blend soup in batches using a blender, food processor or emersion blender. If vegetables are too thick to blend, add a splash of stock or water. Remember not too much extra liquid to keep soup nice and thick.
- Return soup to pot and check for seasoning, add additional salt and pepper as needed.
For Scallion & Chive Oil:
- In small pan over low heat, add oil
- When oil is hot, add scallions and chives, tossing for 1 min.
- Turn off heat and set aside
- Top soup with 1-2 tsp of Scallion & Chive Oil
For Grilled Cheese Croutons:
- Warm skillet over medium heat
- Place cheese between 2 slices of bread, spray generous amount of coconut oil on top.
- Place sandwich coconut oil side down, turn heat to low. Allow sandwich to brown and cheese to slightly melt.
- Spray top side of sandwich generously with coconut oil before flipping. Allow to brown before turning off heat and moving sandwich to cutting board.
- Cut into 9 or 12 pieces. Place 3 or 4 crouton pieces on top of soup.
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