The fall season is full of delicious seasonal produce that I have been doing my best to showcase throughout the last few posts. Today’s recipe is not going to be another pumpkin recipe but rather another vegetable. A great source of carotenoids as well, butternut squash is a wonderful and very versatile vegetable that is great even when roasted on its own. Today, however, we are going to be making a delicious Butternut Squash and Leek Soup.

Butternut squash is often utilized in many soup recipes because it provides a rich flavor and a creamy texture. But most of those soups are filled with unnecessary amounts of butter, cream, and salt. Those ingredients, while not particularly detrimental to health in small portions, are often eaten in excessive amounts and we should be limiting their intake. Besides, they take the attention away from the already flavorful taste of butternut squash.

So instead of using needless fat sources to improve the taste of my soup, I instead opted for adding rosemary and garlic that would help the butternut squash flavors stand out more. The soup can be eaten on its own but it also works great with various additions like roasted pieces of sourdough bread. The other day, I served it with some baked beet chips and it was an absolute hit at my house. The earthy chips complemented the sweetness of the soup perfectly! I included the recipe for the chips as well so make sure to check it out. I originally found it on “Minimalist Baker“.

I feel like there are two secrets to making this soup taste so good. The first one is the Roasted Butternut Squash Seed Oil I bought at a store specializing in different kinds of olive oil and vinegar. The recipe would probably also work if you used regular olive oil but if you have a chance to try out this specialized olive oil then I highly recommend you give it a chance. It’s a great addition to any fall dish, not only this soup.

The other secret is in the broth. I use vegetable broth from Trader Joe’s. It’s low in sodium and contains only organic vegetables with no genetically modified ingredients. The nutritional value is also very balanced and I honestly cannot find any faults with it. Of course, if you can then you should use a homemade vegetable broth but I understand very well that not everyone has the time for that (me included).

Nutrients in this recipe

Butternut squash is full of vitamins. 1 serving contains 4 times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and half of the vitamin C intake. It’s also full of vitamin E, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It’s truly a nutritional powerhouse, full of antioxidants and minerals.

Onions are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate. Both onions and garlic contain sulfides that have been linked to improved immune system response and respiratory health. They also have antibacterial properties.

Leeks have similar properties to onions and garlic since they all come from the same family. They have a lot of fiber, flavonoids, and contain about half of the recommended intake of vitamin K.

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties due to its carnosol content. The carnosic acid has been proven to prevent nervous system damage. There are studies that also show rosemary has a positive effect on the digestive tract.

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Necessary equipment:

  • a spoon for scooping seeds
  • a baking dish
  • a stock pot
  • a wooden spoon
  • an immersion blender

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 to 3 lbs)
  • 3 leeks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 T. of butternut squash seed oil OR olive oil
  • 1 T. of chopped fresh rosemary OR 1/2 T. of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t. of chopped fresh oregano OR 1/4 t. of dried oregano
  • 1/4 t. of cinnamon powder
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/4 t. of cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds from the inside. Don’t discard the seeds but rather save them and roast in the oven to use in another dish (like my spaghetti squash recipe).
  3. Cover the surface of the butternut squash halves with a small amount of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes or until tender.
  4. Mince the garlic cloves, chop the onion, and slice the leeks. If you are using fresh herbs, chop the rosemary and oregano.
  5. Once the butternut squash is ready, chop into medium-sized cubes.
  6. Pour oil into a stock pot and heat over low medium heat.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute while stirring frequently.
  8. Add in the chopped onion and leeks and cook under a cover for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add in the butternut squash, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg. Stir and add the vegetable broth.
  10. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to simmer.
  11. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into a creamy consistency.

Baked Beet Chips

Necessary equipment:

  • two jelly roll pans
  • parchment paper
  • a mandolin
  • a large mixing bowl

Ingredients:

  • 3 large OR 4 medium beets
  • 1 T. olive oil OR canola oil
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare two jelly roll pans and line them with parchment paper.
  3. Chop the rosemary. Thoroughly scrub the beets clean and slice them very thinly. It’s best to use a mandolin but you can also do it with a sharp knife. Try to be as consistent as possible so that the chips bake evenly.
  4. Toss the chips in a large mixing bowl together with olive oil and seasonings. Coat each beet slice evenly using your hands.
  5. Transfer the seasoned slices onto the parchment paper. Make sure none of the slices are touching.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned. It’s best to check the oven frequently to make sure your chips won’t burn.
  7. Take out from the oven and leave to cool.