Butternut Squash Soup – Vegan & Gluten-free

Apples make this soup sweet while cayenne pepper and smoked paprika give it zest. This soup is simple to make in one pot, naturally gluten-free, and by using coconut milk, it’s vegan too. I was going to use fresh butternut squash, but I waited too long and it went bad, so I grabbed a few bags of frozen chopped butternut squash from the freezer and, voila, an easy and delicious winter delight was born.

Butternut Squash preparation: 1 hour if fresh or 20 minutes if frozen

Soup preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 large ONION, roughly chopped
2 large APPLES, peeled, corded, and roughly chopped
1 medium BUTTERNUT SQUASH (3 lbs) or 40 ounces frozen
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (EVOO)
4 cups VEGETABLE BROTH
1 BAY LEAF
1 sprig SAGE
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER
1/8 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER
1 teaspoon NUTMEG
1 cup canned unsweetened COCONUT MILK (plus some for topping)
Sprinkle of SMOKED PAPRIKA

Directions

  • PREPARE butternut squash
    • If FRESH:
      • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F
      • CUT squash in half lengthwise
      • SCOOP out seeds and discard
      • SPRAY flesh with cooking spray and a pinch of salt and pepper
      • PLACE flesh side down in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of water
      • BAKE about 1 hour, until flesh is soft
      • COOL until you can handle and then SCOOP out the flesh
    • If FROZEN:
      • PLACE frozen cubed squash in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water per 10 ounces of cubes
      • MICROWAVE for 5 minutes per 10 ounces (time depending on the power of your microwave). You want the cubes to be soft not frozen.
  • HEAT the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat
  • ADD the onions and SAUTE for 5 minutes
  • ADD the garlic to the onions and SAUTE for another 2 or 3 minutes until the onions are translucent and the garlic is tender
  • ADD the apples, butternut squash, sage, nutmeg, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and vegetable broth and STIR well
  • ADD the coconut milk and STIR until blended
  • Bring mixture to a BOIL and then turn off heat
  • REMOVE sprig of sage and bay leaf and discard
  • PUREE the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender* to your desired smoothness.** Be very careful when working with hot liquid.
    • *If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Transfer the soup in small batches to a countertop blender and puree each batch until smooth. Be careful when filling the blender and make sure to put the top on because hot liquid can really hurt you.
    • **I leave some chunks of apple in my soup, just because I like it that way.
  • ADD additional seasoning to taste
  • SERVE warm TOPPED with extra coconut milk and a SPRINKLE of smoked paprika