Recipe credit = The Clever Meal (this is a crockpot version of their amazing Pumpkin + Carrot soup recipe!)
Prep time = 25 minutes (I’m a slow veggie chopper)
Cook time = 6 hours (because we’re crockpottin', y’all!)
Servings = Makes 4 sizable bowls of soup
Categories = vegetarian, vegan (depending on toppings), soup
Well Wisconsinites, there’s no denying it any longer--winter is here! Nasty winds, crazy mixes of rain and snow (something all our weather people love calling “wintry mix”), and in years where we’re REALLY lucky, polar vortexes. But in 2020, winter will mean staying home even more than in year’s past.
For me, nothing kicks that cooped up feeling I get by the end of the winter days like a warm, satisfying dinner! But with the sun going down by 4:17pm (and my brain telling me to crawl in bed by 8, yuck), Christian and I don’t always have the energy to make some magic in the kitchen every night. Our solution--bust out the crockpot! (Or “slowcooker”? My family always calls it a crockpot but so many say slowcooker, what do you call it?)
I turn into a major butternut squash fanatic in the colder months. It’s subtle sweetness, variable textures (tender, pureed, crispy, you name it and squash can be it!). It’s delicious no matter how you cook it in my opinion, but my absolute favorite squash preparation is in soup! So fellow butternut squash obsessors, this one’s for you!
The best part of this recipe (besides the squash, obviously) is the simplicity--you literally dump all the ingredients into a crockpot and blend and serve it up 4-8 hours later! Plus, it’s meat-less, so the cooking time is flexible--as long as the squash is tender enough for the immersion blender, you’re ready to serve. Got a full 6-8 hours? Great, put it on low and let the smell fill your kitchen all day! Only have 3-4? No problem, dice up your squash a little smaller so it cooks faster and set the cooker to high.
The immersion blender is key to getting the pureed texture you see in the pictures. But if you don’t have any way of blending the soup, it’ll still taste good, you’ll just have a chunkier squash/carrot texture.
FUN FACT = Since I just can’t get enough butternut squash right now, here’s a few squash fun facts (thanks Durham School.co.uk!). When stored properly, butternut squash stays good for over 3 months, longer than most other vegetables. Although butternut squash is very similar to pumpkin (probably why Australians refer to butternut squash as butternut pumpkin!), the butternut squash is considered a vegetable, while the pumpkin is considered a fruit.
Butternut squash - 1.5 lb, peeled and diced
Carrots - ¾ lb, cut into chunks
White onion - 1 medium, diced
Low sodium vegetable broth - 2 cups (or a little more if you like a thinner soup)
Coconut milk - ½ cup (it’s canned and not refrigerated, in case you’re lost at the grocery store like I was the first time I looked for coconut milk!)
Garlic - 3 cloves, minced
Lemon - 0.5, juiced (optional)
Seasonings (all to taste, but recommended amounts given)
Ground turmeric - 1.5 tsp
Curry powder - 1.5 tsp
Red pepper flakes - 0.5 tsp (this makes it spicy, tone it down for a more mild spice!)
Salt - 1 tsp
Pepper - 0.5 tsp
Optional toppings - sour cream, croutons, crushed nuts (pecans worked great for a sweet note), rosemary
Prep veggies and garlic.
Put all veggies (squash, carrots, onion) and garlic in the crockpot.
Pour vegetable broth and coconut milk over veggies.
Squeeze 0.5 lemon over mixture.
Add seasonings (turmeric, curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper), and don’t be shy! A lot of the flavor for this soup comes from the spices. But if you don’t like real heat with your spice, tone back the red pepper flakes (the spicier the better for Christian, so he just adds more to his own bowl of soup!)
Set the crockpot to low and cook for 5-6 hours (can be longer or shorter on higher heat if needed, just need squash to be tender).
Once squash is tender, use immersion blender to puree soup.
Add desired toppings & enjoy - with your favorite local bread if you’re like us!
SEMI-PRO TIPS (since let’s be real, I’m definitely not a “pro”):
As awesome as they are, I know turmeric and curry powder aren’t pantry staples for everybody! Here’s some simple substitutions. For curry powder, try a mix of cumin, coriander, and ginger. For turmeric, while not as flavorful, a mix of ginger and cumin work just fine! You can also swap pumpkin for the squash - I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it would make a delicious autumn soup!
One thing you SHOULDN’T substitute, if you can help it, is the coconut milk! It’s what gives the soup it’s remarkable creaminess, and its hint of sweetness too.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think! And I am on an absolute squash kick, so if my fellow squash-lovers could share your fav recipes, you’d make my day! I’m also a sucker for soups, stews, and slow-cookers at this time of year, so any and all recipes are welcome :)