Monday, February 21, 2022

Butternut Squash Soup with Harissa

I love butternut squash soup, but I'm also excited by changing things around here and there. Here's a butternut squash soup that shakes things up, just a bit. Adding harissa ups the ante with its spicy notes and deep, red color. I've used chicken stock as the base here, but feel free to use vegetable stock for a vegan version. 


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 Tbs olive oil
several grinds of salt

1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbs minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2-4 Tbs harissa (use the larger quantity if you like it spicy or hot!)
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup pepitas
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 cup mango or tamarind chutney
1/4 cup mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 425F. Mix the squash and carrots together with the olive oil and salt, then place on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Stir and continue to roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables pierce easily with a fork. Prepare the rest of the soup while the squash and carrots are roasting, Place the onion, ginger, garlic, and olive oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper, harissa, and chicken stock and heat until the stock comes to a simmer. Add the roasted squash and carrots to the soup pot, along with the orange juice. Use a blender to blend the soup to the consistency you like best. Toast the pepitas in a nonstick skillet with the olive oil and spices for about 5 minutes, shaking the skillet so that the seeds don't burn. To serve, ladle a good portion of the soup into a soup bowl. Top with the chutney, then the toasted pepitas, then the mint leaves. Enjoy!

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I'm still loving the meal prep boxes I receive from the vegan food prep company called Purple Carrot. One of the tricks they use to make meals look and taste nice is to mix smooth and crunchy, as well as mix colors, and taste notes. This soup is an ode to their style. It mixes the smooth soup with the crunchy seeds, then mixes the reddish orange of the soup with the greens of the seeds and mint. It also mixes the taste of mint with the taste of butternut. Finally, butternut squash is such a subtle, smooth taste while harissa can be quite bold! 

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