Spiced butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup is a favourite with many people, it is full of warm flavours and the sweetness of butternut squash lends itself to be used in a variety of ways in a soup. You can have the standard butternut squash soup, a more exotic butternut squash and coconut soup, or this version which is a bit spicy and full of warm flavours, perfect for the cold weather.

I like to temper spices which is a technique used in Indian cooking, where the oil is taken to a high heat but not enough to make it smoke, and the spices are cooked for 30 seconds or a minute at most. This releases the natural oils and flavours and infuses their natural fragrance into the dish. The fennel seeds have a lovely anise aroma to them which are also complemented by the star anise. You can add this to be tempered at the beginning although I tend to add it when I have added the stock.

To make the soup thick and creamy I add some firm tofu which doesn’t have much flavour but when blended will make the whole mixture creamy without having to add any dairy. This is a good technique I use in a lot of my soups to make them vegan and dairy-free. Tofu also adds a good amount of protein to the dish to make a complete meal.

To serve you can garnish with pumpkin seeds and chopped coriander, and can be easily frozen for other occasions. When defrosting soups made with tofu it is necessary to give them a blitz in a blender before warming up once defrosted.

Spiced butternut squash soup
Yield: 4 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Prep time:
Cooking time:

Description

Butternut squash soup is a favourite with many people, it is full of warm flavours and the sweetness of butternut squash lends itself to be used in a variety of ways in a soup. This version butternut squash soup is slightly spicy and full of warm flavours of cumin, fennel, ground coriander and star anise.

Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 500 g butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 150 g firm tofu
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 500 ml water
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 bunch of chopped coriander (to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5½ oz firm tofu
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan to a high heat but not enough to allow it to smoke. Add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds and temper (fry) for about 30 seconds. Bring the heat down.
  2. Add the finely diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the diced red pepper, and the roughly diced red chilli, de-seeded. Cook until soft.
  4. Add the peeled carrots and butternut squash, roughly diced.
  5. Add the smoked paprika, the ground coriander, ground nutmeg and stir.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, water, star anise, firm tofu and chopped coriander and salt to taste.
  7. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer on a low to medium heat for 30 minutes until all vegetables are soft.
  8. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
  9. Serve with some pumpkin seeds and chopped coriander.

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