Butternut-squash soup

IMG_2528Butternut squash is high in the vitamins A, C, K, B5 and B6, folate, and minerals; magnesium, and potassium. For this reason it is a great veg for tissue, muscle and collagen strength, a strong immune system and healthy bones, healthy heart and nervous system. The spices and herbs are packed full of antioxidants too.

This soup is a healthy mix for everyone to benefit from, but is particularly beneficial for women approaching the menopause.

My spicy and dairy-free Butternut squash soup

Dairy Free and Suitable for vegans

Serves 4 as a starter. Preparation time- 20 minutes. Cooking time- approx. 30 minutes

When I say spicy I don’t mean chilli spice, but the lovely soft warming heat of ground ginger and all the added goodness from cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg.

I came up with this recipe by combining the herbs and spices from a pastitsio recipe (a lovely Greek dish) with the versatile butternut squash and I think it all works beautifully together.

The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the butternut squash but if you have a sharp knife, and you put your favourite music on, it will soon be done!

You will need a blender to combine the ingredients at the end of cooking.

Ingredients

Rapeseed oil – 2 tablespoons

Butternut squash -1 medium, chopped (about 500g of flesh with the skin and seeds removed) chopped

Onion -1 large, chopped

Garlic -2 cloves, chopped

Vegetable bouillon – 1 litre (good quality)

Oregano – dried, 7.5ml

Thyme – dried, 5ml

Cinnamon – ground, 1ml

Ground, dried Ginger (not fresh ginger root) – 5ml

Ground Nutmeg – 1ml.

Bay leaf- 1

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1) Put the chopped squash, onion and garlic into a large saucepan, turn on the heat and immediately add the oil. Stir well so all the veg is coated in oil. Get a good sounding sizzle going and then turn down the heat a little so that it continues to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veg are just starting to turn golden (not burnt!).

2) Measure out all the spices and herbs into a small dish and then add them to the vegetables in one go. Stir well to combine throughout and keep stirring for a minute or so to give the spices chance to warm up. (Enjoy the fragrance!)

3) Add the hot stock, the bay leaf and the black pepper and stir well. Put the lid on the saucepan and bring the soup to the boil. Turn down the heat so that you have an energetic simmer going on- enough to cook the squash but not to burn everything to the bottom of the pan! Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Test that the squash is cooked through and then take of the heat.

5) Allow to cool for a few minutes, take out the bay leaf and then carefully blend the soup in the pan with a stick blender. (please keep the stick blender pointing down and low into the pan to avoid hot splashes).

6) Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning (with all the lovely spices going on I don’t think that any salt is required, but this is personal preference of course), return the pan to the heat to keep it warm before serving.

7) Serve with crusty seeded wholemeal bread and a swirl of soya cream if you like.

Enjoy X

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