Step away from the sugar and marshmallows. . .
Planning a Thanksgiving menu can be overwhelming, to say the least. We all have our favorite tried-and-true family recipes that we turn to every year: stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce. . . [drools]
But it's also fun to change things up with fresh recipes and different ingredients. Don’t be afraid to go online and find some unique (and healthier) substitutes for what is normally an over-eaten, calorie-laden meal resulting in food coma. . .
Step Away from the Sugar and Marshmallows!
Many hosts like to present a colorful, enticing feast for their hungry guests, and will incorporate vegetables such as green beans and yams into the menu. But with turkey and stuffing as the main stars, we too often try to cover up the simple, earthy goodness of these veggies with dairy, salt, and sugar to make them more “appealing” (thanks, Betty Crocker).
So what’s a good alternative to your Aunt Sally’s candied yams? Enter, butternut squash.
Butternut squash is one of the best foods out there—the harvest lasts for months (hence the term “Winter Squash”), and it can be easily grown in the EarthBox® gardening system. It’s healthy, and chock full of vitamins and nutrients. And it’s one of the easiest and most versatile foods to cook with: stuff it, cube it, mash it, add it to just about anything, or purée it into SOUP. . .my absolute favorite.
No More Food Hangovers...Soup-er!
Soup is amazing—it has a nice way of whetting your appetite before a big meal, and sets the tone for what’s ahead. It keeps you warm on a cold day, and is the perfect way to incorporate vegetables into your diet (and your kids’ diets, too). Virtually anything you have in your kitchen can be whipped up into a big pot of deliciousness!
Every year I serve this warming, delicious butternut squash soup to my family on Thanksgiving. It’s a great way to start the meal while the turkey rests, and won’t leave you feeling full or bloated before you dive in to the big feast.
RECIPE: Thanksgiving Butternut Squash Soup
For all of our recipes, we will try to list suitable substitutions for vegetarian/ vegan, and/or gluten-free diets if applicable.
Makes 16-18 cups/ Easily serves 12
What You'll Need
- Glass baking dish
- Large stockpot
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Spoon/ seed scoop
- Tissues to dry your tears while cutting onions
- 1 lg. or 2 sm./med. Butternut Squash (You can also add in a small can of pure pumpkin if you don't have enough squash)
- 2 Tbsp. Butter (substitute Olive Oil if vegan)
- 2 med. Yellow Onions, diced
- 3 lg. Carrots, shredded
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 64 oz. Vegetable Broth
- 1 – 14 oz. can full-fat Coconut Milk, such as Native Forest®
- ½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (omit if vegan) note: Using prepackaged/ pre-shredded Parmesan cheese is not recommended, since anti-caking agents will make the soup lumpy and the cheese won’t melt and blend properly.
- 2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. Yellow Curry Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric
- 1-2 tsp. Ground Sage
- 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco®
- Salt, to taste
- Garnish* (optional)
Let's Get Cookin'
- Preheat your oven to 350°
- Trim top and bottom of butternut squash, and use a vegetable peeler to remove skin. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop seeds and pulp, cut into large cubes.
- Place cubes in a glass baking dish with a half-inch of water, and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until cubes are fork-tender when tested.
- In a skillet, add 2 Tbsp. butter (or oil) and melt over low heat. Add in diced onion, minced garlic, and shredded carrot and a pinch of salt. Stir frequently, until onions are translucent and carrot is soft. Don’t let the vegetables brown or burn.
- Once everything is finished cooking and baking, transfer a portion of the squash and a portion of the vegetables to a blender. Add in 1 cup of broth and purée on high-speed until smooth. Transfer to a stockpot, and continue processing in batches. After last batch, pour remaining juices from the baking dish and 2 cups of broth into the blender to get the last bit of purée.
- Heat soup to almost boiling, adding in any remaining broth, and stirring through to blend batches. Once incorporated, add in coconut milk, stirring until dissolved.
- Add in nutmeg, curry powder, turmeric, sage, and hot sauce; stirring to blend.
- Once soup is very hot, near boiling, slowly add in your cheese, stirring constantly to incorporate and melt the cheese. If salt is desired, add to taste.
- Let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes and serve immediately. Soup may be stored in refrigerator up to 5 days, or frozen in smaller batches to enjoy all winter.
*Optional Garnish:Try one, or any combination, of the below recommendations.
- Smoked Paprika
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Sour Cream
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Toasted Baguette Slice
- Parmesan-crusted croutons
Have you eveer made Butternut Squash Soup before? We’d love to hear your recipe variations in the comments section, below!