“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
―J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This my friends is literally the fall and winter weather I long for. This is what I imagine will greet me each and every November. While the temperate environment in which I reside never ceases to disappoint me, each year I find myself expecting the same thing; harsh, biting, cruel cold weather. What I get is weather in the sixties and the occasional cloud. My hopes dashed every year as I sweat in sweaters meant for Canadian winters, stubbornly refusing to accept reality.
Indulge me, will you? Every gust of icy Southern Californian wind (use your imaginations folks) bites through my cozy knit sweaters. I find that every night feels like a “soup night”. Every cloudy cold morning (there have been 4) conjures images of me sitting next to the fireplace (I don’t have) wearing a cashmere sweater (I don’t own one) enjoying a hot bowl of soup as I listen to the…you get the idea.
Cold or not, the season of squash has descended upon us and squash soup recipes in particular are in abundance this time of year. Everyone has their version and I have yet to encounter one that didn’t induce salivation. Creamy, vibrant, fragrant, and comforting—a good squash soup is satisfying in any climate.
This particular recipe did not evolve in the autumnal squash ether. One of my family’s favorite holiday recipes is a mashed butternut squash dish with scallions and a bit of nutmeg. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and it is simple yet the kind of soul-serving food I crave this time of year. If we’re being real here everything she makes fits the description. She’s a feisty lady who spent much of her life not only cooking for her family in Nicaragua and but for people in their hometown as well. It was one of the many amazing things she did to help support her family and a big source of my cooking genes. Of all the stories my mother tells about her childhood, the ones involving food are my favorite.
This soup is a creamy flavorful version of her squash recipe made with vegetable stock, coconut milk, and spices. It’s full of flavor and very hearty and filling. The best part is it’s 99.9% vegan (I fried some sage in butter and drizzled some on the popcorn) and more importantly it’s easy to put together. It’s perfect to serve at any holiday gathering you have coming up or to make on a cold, windy night (*ahem*or a cool afternoon *ahem*).
As always I like to adorn my soups with an array of toppings; a variety of flavors and textures I find especially important with a creamy soup such as this. Curly green scallion tops, garam masala-spiced popcorn, candied walnuts, lemony coconut cream, and butter* fried sage sit atop this particular potage. (Obviously don’t use butter for a vegan sage topping!)
What is your go-to squash soup recipe? Or what soups do you enjoy making this time of year? Comment below!
*A note about the scallions, they have a fairly strong presence in here so if you don’t want an oniony flavor use less in the soup, or omit them entirely and just garnish with a few!
Oh, and to get the green tops super curly; slice them very thin and let the soak in ice water for about 20 minutes or so.
Butternut Squash & Scallion Soup
- Olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 5 cloves garlic, skin on
- 3-4 scallions, trimmed and quartered
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 15oz. can coconut milk
- Pinch nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- Salt and pepper
For the Coconut Crema
- ½ cup coconut cream
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- Diced or curly scallions
- Fresh popcorn drizzled with a little coconut oil and sprinkled with garam masala
- Candied walnuts
- Hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange carrots, squash, and garlic on top.
- Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until squash and carrots are tender. You could also roast the green onions (I did 2 roasted and one raw) but be sure to check on them after 10 minutes or so, so they don’t burn.
- Peel roasted garlic and add to a soup pot along with carrots, onions, and squash.
- Add in stock, coconut milk, and spices and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- OR you can add roasted veggies with liquids and spices to a bender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot.
- Cook over medium heat until soup is heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
- To make the coconut crema combine all the ingredients and stir to combine.
- Serve soup with crema, green onions, popcorn, walnuts, and whatever else you’re into!