A few weeks ago I made some Butternut & Quinoa Fritters and I talked about how I was much more a butternut girl than a pumpkin spice girl, and as much as I really liked those fritters…this soup is everything! I’ve been making a version of this recipe for many years now and I’m not even sure where the original recipe came from, but over the years it has morphed into the soup it is today! Most butternut squash soups are a little bland if you ask me, and part of that is because they’re usually a blended soup. While this soup is blended as well, many of the ingredients are added after the butternut base is blended so it’s got a little ‘chew’ to it!
Truthfully I went through a phase a few years ago when I made this soup at least twice a month, and ate it for lunch almost every single day for weeks on end It is such a hearty and satisfying, yet healthful soup that I felt really good about eating so much of it! And then it was like someone threw a switch and I was done…couldn’t eat it anymore. It was one of those times when too much of a good thing really was too much of a good thing! Thankfully enough time has passed that I’m craving it again – and as soon as I took that first taste…wow…it’s like my tastebuds did a happy dance! 😉 I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I made it again!
The flavors in this soup make me so happy! It’s sweet and savory and spicy thanks to the chipotles in adobo. If you’ve never cooked with chipotles before, this is the perfect recipe to start with. Personally – I’ve got tastebuds of steel so I use an entire can of chipotles in this pot of soup, but obviously you should adjust the number you use in your recipe to suit your own tastes. The butternut, onions, and garlic are roasted, which enhances the natural sweetness of the vegetables, and mellows the garlic so even though I use an entire bulb, it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors. I’ve used a vegetable stock in this recipe, but you could certainly use chicken stock if you prefer. The ‘chew’ to this soup comes from the fire roasted corn and tomatoes, black beans, and the fresh kale. The original recipe called for spinach, but I feel like the kale holds up better…the spinach had a tendency to get a little slimy…ewwwww! By removing the cream cheese that gave this soup it’s velvety finish and substituting cashew cream instead, it’s even more luscious than the original! And the best part is, by using the vegetable stock and cashew cream, the finished product is 100% vegan!
So first thing is soak the raw cashews at least 2 hours – or up to overnight. Then peel the butternut squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Then cut the squash into chunks for roasting. Cut off both ends of your onions and peel off the outer layer, then quarter them. Place the squash and onions in a gallon size bag, drizzle with olive oil, and shake until the vegetables are well coated. Turn them out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. To prepare the garlic for roasting, cut the top portion (about 1/4″ to 3/8″) off the bulb of garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil, wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil, and place on the baking sheet with the squash and onions. Pop it all into a 425 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven when the squash and onion are tender and lightly browned.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large stock pot, add the vegetable stock, and garlic once it’s cool enough to handle. Simmer 10-20 minutes over medium heat.
Tip: Once the garlic has cooled enough to handle, the individual cloves can be removed by gently squeezing the bulb from the base, or by using a knife to pluck the cloves out of the bulb.
Before blending the butternut, onion, garlic, and stock mixture, reserve a couple ladles of liquid to use for blending the cashews into cream. If you have an immersion blender I definitely recommend using it to blend the soup. That’s the main reason I use such a large pot for this recipe – there’s less chance of spattering yourself – and your stove – when blending in a deep stockpot. Remove the pot from the heat while using an immersion blender. For the cashew cream, blend the soaked and drained cashews in a blender with the 2 ladles of stock until the cream is perfectly smooth. Always use extreme caution whenever blending hot liquids!
After blending the squash, onions, garlic, and stock until smooth add the chipotles and blend once again until smooth, then add the cashew cream and blend until well combined.
Return the pot to heat and stir in the corn, tomatoes, and beans. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until the soup is heated through. Finally, stir in the fresh kale and cook another 8-10 minutes until the kale is wilted. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve as desired. For me, a bowl of this soup is a complete meal – my husband likes a piece of rustic bread with his. Of course, he also ruins it by adding crackers…sigh…some habits are hard to break I guess!
- 1 medium/large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 large onions, quartered
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 7 ounce can chipotles in adobo - amount used depends on your preferred level of heat
- 2 cups frozen fire roasted corn
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch fresh curly kale, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2-3 hours, then drained
- 1 bulb garlic
- 2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare squash and onions for roasting by tossing them with the 2 tbsp olive oil, turning them onto a baking pan, and sprinkling with about 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
- Prepare garlic for roasting by trimming 1/4" to 3/8" from the top of the bulb with a sharp knife. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp olive oil, wrap in 2 layers of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet with the squash and onions.
- Roast vegetables for 40-45 minutes until tender and slightly browned.
- Combine roasted squash and onions in a large stockpot with the vegetable stock. Simmer over medium heat for about 10-20 minutes, adding roasted garlic once it's cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, place drained cashews in blender, add 2 ladles of warm vegetable stock from the pot, and carefully blend until perfectly smooth.
- Temporarily remove stockpot from heat and blend contents with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Add desired number of chipotles with some of the adobo sauce and blend once more until smooth. This is a good time to taste test the soup base for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, or chipotles and adobo if desired.
- Add the cashew cream, blending one last time until well combined, then return the pot to the heat.
- Stir in frozen corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes until heated through.
- Toss in kale and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 more minutes until the kale is wilted and cooked.
- Remove from heat and serve as desired.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator.
- This soup freezes well.