One of my favorite fall soups as soon as the temperatures in New Jersey start to dip down and busy weeknights call for something warm and simple. It's not completely necessary to roast the squash first, but it adds to the depth of flavors and makes a huge difference. If you're short on time look for frozen or pre-cut, peeled squash in the produce section. You can even roast the squash up to a day ahead of time. The cashews add just the right amount of creaminess without any dairy.
Enjoy & Happy Fall!
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, rough chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into small cubes
or you can purchase pre-cut squash ready to go in the produce section or frozen foods (major time saver)
1 cup of cashews, soaked in a bowl of water for at least 10-15 minutes
1 32-ounce box of low sodium vegetable broth
2-3 cups of filtered water
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Optional garnish when serving: roasted pumpkin seeds or fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray for the squash. Soak the cashews in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Peel the squash, slice it in half (carefully) and scoop out the seeds. Next cut squash into the same size cubes and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
3. Roast the squash in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. If using frozen, allow to thaw for a few minutes and remove some moisture with a paper towel before roasting.
4. Next in a heavy bottom soup pot warm up the olive oil on a medium-high heat. Chop up the onion, celery, carrots and garlic adding them to the soup pot. Saute mixture until soft and fragrant about 5-7 minutes. Add the cinnamon and continue to stir for another minute.
5. Add in the vegetable broth, water and roasted squash. Turn the heat up to high and bring 'soup' to a low boil. Once you have a low boil (soft bubbles) reduce the heat down to low, cover and allow to simmer for (as low as you have) for at least 20-25 minutes.
6. Last step is to add your soaked cashews and salt and pepper to taste. Puree the soup using an immersion blender directly in the pot or in small batches, carefully pour soup into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
7. Season if needed, with salt and fresh ground cracked pepper. Serve and enjoy!
Chef Note: This soup freezes really well, so make a big batch.