Thursday, October 27, 2011

Autumn Simulation: Butternut Squash, Apple, and Carrot Soup

I’ve lived in southern California for over three years now and I shouldn’t complain; the weather is gorgeous here. But (I said I shouldn’t complain, not that I can’t complain) sometimes I really start to miss the seasons. Right now in New England, the leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, the air is cool and crisp, and every restaurant has a whole slew of cozy soups added to the menu.

I’ve been feeling nostalgic, so yesterday when my friend Victoria sent me a photo of the colorful trees outside her university library in New York City, I just about cried. I had had enough. I was determined to be all cozy and autumnal, despite the complete lack of autumn here in Santa Barbara.

So I decided to concoct a soup of my own using the coziest fall ingredient I could think of: butternut squash. And then I went and hung out in a pumpkin patch.

Vegan Butternut Squash, Apple, and Carrot Soup
1 whole butternut squash
3 carrots, chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
½ yellow onion, diced
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup unprocessed soy milk

I haven’t made many soups, so I was kind of making it up as I went along (which, incidentally, is the story of my life).

I knew I’d have to soften the carrots and butternut squash if I was going to put them in the blender later, so I simmered them in a big pot for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I sauteed the onion, apples and olive oil in another big pot. I sprinkled the cinnamon on top and the kitchen started to smell like autumn – it was working!

I took the somewhat softened butternut squash out of its pot to peel it and chop it up. It was pretty painstaking work – butternut squash has got to be the least pliable vegetable I’ve encountered. The plus side is that I got a stellar arm workout.

After I chopped the butternut squash into about 1-inch cubes, I added it and the carrots into the pot with the onion and apples:

I let it simmer for about a half hour. Then I added the soy milk and let it simmer for another half hour. I just kept checking it every so often to see how soft the squash was getting.

After an hour of simmering, the squash chunks were soft enough that they wouldn’t injure my blender. So I put the mixture in the blender in two batches and pulsed it a few times. It turned into a thick, somewhat grainy, sweet and flavorful soup, and I took a gorgeous picture of it.

To complete my perfectly autumnal day, I went to a pumpkin patch, picked out a couple of perfect pumpkins, and carved them into creepy-looking Jack-O-Lanterns with David. He ate two bowls of the butternut squash soup over the course of the day and said it tasted delicious but that it reminded him of baby food.

Well, isn’t baby food just a bunch of vegetables blended up anyway? I wasn’t offended. Babies wish they could eat this butternut squash soup.

In the end, it didn’t matter that it was 72 degrees outside and cloudless, as always. I was successfully autumnal, and I don’t care what the interminable sunny weather has to say about it.


  1. Nice! You and John should compare notes. He made squash soup the other weekend and it was AMAZING and didn't even have any milk in it! The downside, is that it was so thick and hearty that a chunk of it boiled out of the pot and left a nasty mark on his face...but it was so worth it for the delicious soup :)

  2. Meghan, this soup sounds and looks delicious. Wish I could have you here to enjoy the fall leaves, crisp weather, apples etc. Thanks for the pumpkin picture. Tonight we are having snow!! So enjoy the sunny weather and soup.