Creamy Acorn Squash Soup
Considering my blog is supposed to chronicle my balancing of life as a music major with other things, it’s pretty pathetic that I haven’t found time to post ANY of the recipes I’ve made in the past six weeks. To be fair, everyone falls out of their habits sometimes, and I actually have been going through some tough decision-making processes lately. If you’ve read my post about the five things that my junior year taught me, you know that I’m very hard on myself. That’s why, when the time (which is now) came to decide what I wanted to do about graduate school auditions, I decided to take a year off in order to prepare auditions to the best of my ability. Then, I began to get encouragement from several different teachers whom I respect very much, telling me that my goals are within reach now, and a year off would probably be unnecessary. So, I sit before you today decision-less, but I can’t afford to stay that way for much longer. It’s killing me, but at least now I can curl up with a hot bowl of this here squash soup when the days get rough.
I love this recipe for a few reasons.
1) It’s super easy. A bit time consuming, but low maintenance. And I’m very high maintenance, so consider this a miracle.
2) It has all the usual suspects when it comes to autumnal spices and flavors, and you can make it any time of the year when you’re missing these wonderfully crisp fall days. You can also season it however you want, with as many or as few spices as you wish.
3) A little bit goes a LONG way because it’s very filling and satisfying, so it will last you a while as leftovers. One recipe can also feed a large group of people (at least 8-10, possibly 12)
4) It’s super healthy. But that kind of goes without saying. 😉
5) The soup itself (without the garnishes I added) is vegan, gluten free, and can be oil free.
How can you lose?!
- 2 medium acorn squash
- olive oil
- 1 tbs. whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup original, unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425˚F (I put my oven on “convection roast,” if you have that setting). Clean and halve both acorn squash, scooping out the seeds and pulp. Cut the pointy nubs off of each half so that they can sit flat while they’re concave-side-up. Stick cloves into the yellow flesh of the squash, making sure to cover the squash evenly (see pictures below). If you’re having trouble, carefully score X’s into the flesh. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the squash and then flip them face down. Bake for about 20 minutes, then flip squash right side up, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Once the squash are cool enough to handle, remove the cloves and scoop out the flesh, being careful not to include any bits of skin if possible. In a saucepan, combine the squash flesh, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and vegetable stock over medium-high heat. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaves/cinnamon stick. Using an immersion blender, blend the squash and vegetable stock. Pouring the ingredients into a regular blender would work fine as well. Add almond milk, cardamom, coriander, salt, and pepper, then stir to combine. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with rosemary, homemade croutons, almond milk drizzle, all of the above, or get creative!
- Make this a spicy squash soup by adding a little bit of hot chili sauce (like Sriracha) or red pepper flakes. If adding pepper flakes, do so gradually while blending to control the heat content and keep the soup smooth.
- Use a very small amount of pure maple syrup in addition to/instead of olive oil when cooking your squash for a sweeter soup.
- Substitute any type of squash if you can’t find or don’t like acorn squash. Butternut squash or pumpkin would work very well in this recipe, and I plan to try this next with a kabocha that I have lying around.