With crisp cool weather in the air, and winter veggies all around us, why not take advantage of the elements!
Soup is an easy and excellent way to fit more vegetables into your daily meals.
In the summer, a cold fruit or veggie smoothie is the perfect late afternoon snack. I feel the same about soup in the fall and winter months.
Some of my favorite winter veggies are different types of squash. Low in fat, butternut squash has an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It also provides a significant amount of potassium, important for bone health; and vitamin B6, essential for the functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.
I recently stumbled across a butternut soup with an ingredient that one would never expect…vanilla bean!
Making your own butternut squash vanilla bean soup at home is not only easy and delicious, but falls under one of my cardinal Healthy Zen rules: the more simplistic the recipe, the more whole the food is you’re fueling your body with!
This slightly out of the ordinary addition to a classic fall soup, results in a flavorful, yet very clean tasting outcome.
(Side note – If you are using a Vitamix to blend hot soups, make sure to blend without the top fully on! If the mixture’s air supply is cut off, the heat will expand the blender and it will explode into a soup mess.)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 butternut squash ( roughly 4 pounds), peeled, seeds scooped out and cut in chunks
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 dry vanilla pod, split open
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add in the onion and cook over medium-high heat for five minutes or until softened, stirring regularly.
- Add in the squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Pour in stock to cover and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod and add in the pod itself as well. Cook for 10 more minutes, or until the squash is tender.
- Fish out the vanilla pod if that's what you used, and purée the soup using a blender or immersion blender.
- Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve!
- I recommend doubling the recipe for additional yumminess. Vegan soup can last for quite some time, and can also be frozen for future use.