• Hannah Estabrook

Reality Bites: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I created this simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe only a couple of weeks ago, while cooking with a vibrant group of friends at a big community gathering. I like to think that the warmth, kindness, and energy of that group are well embodied in this recipe, which makes it the perfect meal for a cold and windy November evening.

Not only is this soup cozy, hearty, crowd-pleasing (who doesn’t like maple syrup?!) and vegan, but it’s also packed with tons of local, seasonal veggies. Fall is an abundant time for local produce in Nova Scotia, as winter squash, root veggies, hardy greens and apples are all near the peak of their growing seasons. Since this soup is so simple, with only ten ingredients altogether, it really allows these fresh, seasonal flavors to shine! In the true community spirit of this recipe, I encourage you to consider taking a trip to your local farmers’ market to seek out some of the ingredients. You’ll certainly be able to find all of the vegetables you need, as well as the perfect opportunity to connect with your local farmers and celebrate the seasonal bounty of our beautiful province!

This Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is best served with a side of fresh bread, or kale salad, and enjoyed in the company of good family and friends. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

• 1 large butternut squash

• Olive oil

• 1 yellow onion

• 3 stalks of celery

• 3 medium carrots

• 4 cloves of garlic

• 1-inch piece fresh ginger

• 4-6 cups of vegetable broth (plus more, as needed)

• Salt and pepper

• 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the butternut squash and chop it in to bite-sized pieces.

2. Toss the squash with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then spread it on a large metal baking sheet and roast it in the oven for about 40 minutes. When ready, the squash should be golden around the edges, and tender when pierced with a fork.

3. While the squash is roasting, peel and dice the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ginger.

4. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, in the bottom of a large pod. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.

5. Add the celery and carrots along with 1 tsp salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften.

6. At this point, add your roasted squash to the pot, along with 4-6 cups of broth (amount will vary depending on the size of your squash and the desired thickness of your soup).

7. Simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, and then blend the soup using an immersion blender until it is smooth and creamy. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.

8. Stir in the maple syrup, then taste the soup and adjust seasonings, if desired. Serve immediately, or store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days.