I LOVE this recipe! It is really amazing. Butternut squash is pureed with Bartlett pears and leeks in this fabulous vegan soup. The sweet taste comes from the pears rather than from added sugar and it doesn’t have a lot of hidden fillers that increase calories. It’s garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme which really add crunch, texture and taste, in my opinion. This is a delicious, healthy, low calorie option that you should put on your menu soon! I can’t get enough of this delicious soup.
Pears are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti0xidant properties, reduce the risks for cancer, and have recently been found to be helpful for diabetic patients since they increase insulin sensitivity. Butternut squash is recommended by dietitians because its high fiber content is great in managing weight control. It has also been seen to help in controlling cholesterol.
I found this recipe at The Vegetarian Times and it was apparently created by Chef Bryant Terry for a cooking demonstration in Memphis, Tennessee, in November 2009. If you are looking for ways to eat more vegetables or to eat vegan, I highly recommend checking out The Vegetarian Times website. Their web site claims to have the largest collection of vegetarian recipes on the web. They have plenty of soups to choose from and a section on healing foods. So if your recipes are getting a little stale, you may want to give this website a try. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, but I think you will enjoy the changes.
This picture shows the toasted pumpkin seeds on top.
Here I’ve added fresh parsley and thyme.
Here’s a close up.
Here’s what I did.
The original recipe calls for you to peel and cube the squash. That’s a LOT of work, so I decided to bake it in the oven at 350 for an hour or so. Then I set it aside to cool. The skin just peels off so easily this way. I also think roasting the squash tends to enrich the flavors because the sugar in the squash is more concentrated when cooked this way.
Heat olive oil in stock pot over medium heat.
Cut off the dark green tops of the leeks, wash, and slice down. Add to oil in sauce pot. Leeks add a wonderful flavor to soups and casseroles. Try not to omit this ingredient in your recipes.
Scrub pears well then dry. Cut in quarters and remove the core. The recipe calls for the pears to be peeled but I wanted to leave the peels on in order to get all the vitamins possible. You can’t even tell it once this mixture is pureed.
Dice pears and add to pot. If you are not prebaking your butternut squash, peel it now, remove seeds, cut in 1-inch chunks and add it to sauté with the rest of the ingredients in the sauce pot. You will need to cook about 20 minutes to get the squash cooked though. Otherwise, let the pears and leeks sauté until done.
Here I’ve peeled the squash. I’ll need to cut it in smaller pieces and add to the stock pot once the leeks and pears are sautéed – about 5-10 minutes.
Remove thyme from stems and chop up slightly. I like adding this to the soup as well as having more for garnish. I used about a tablespoon of fresh thyme rather than the teaspoon called for. I really like fresh thyme more than dried because it’s flavorful but not as strong as the dried stuff.
Add butternut squash to the stock pot.
Add vegetable broth. You have to be careful in your purchase of this product. Even though it says organic the manufacturers may add cane sugar, MSG, and other hydrolyzed proteins which do a lot of damage to the body. I am learning to look a lot closer at labels – even those that say “all natural ingredients” or “organic!”
Stir ingredients together. Check for seasoning.
I felt like the mixture needed salt so I added 1 tsp. Kosher salt.
Place pumpkin seeds in a 9×13 pan or on a cookie sheet and toast. I liked them toasted even though the original recipe called for them to be plain.
It wasn’t long before I started to hear the pumpkin seeds start popping. I don’t think I had them in the oven more than 10-15 minutes. Set toasted pumpkin seeds aside for garnish.
Once the butternut squash had heated up I added coconut milk.
Here I’m adding the coconut milk. Stir to combine and heat through.
This is what that looks like.
Place butternut squash mixture in batches in blender and puree until smooth – 5 to 10 seconds.
This is a little better view of the mixture in the blender.
Pour pureed mixture back into stock pot to heat. Add fresh thyme and stir to combine.
Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, parsley, and fresh thyme.
Here’s a spoonful of this fantastic soup.
Here’s a close up view to see the texture.
Here’s the recipe.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH-BARTLETT PEAR SOUP
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts finely chopped (3 cups)
1 small butternut squash (2 lb.) baked, peeled, and seeds removed
3 Bartlett pears, unpeeled, cored, and cut into small dice (1½ lb.)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (and more for garnish)
toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, and cook 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring often. Add pears, and sauté 5 minutes. Cut cooked butternut squash in large chunks and add to mixture in stock pot. Heat through a few minutes. Stir in vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add salt and pepper if desired. Simmer 5-10 minutes, or until squash is heated through. Meanwhile, place pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and toast in oven for 10-15 minutes. The seeds will start popping and become lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside for garnish. Remove saucepan from heat, and stir in coconut milk. Purée soup in batches in blender or food processor, or use immersion blender in saucepan; blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Remove thyme leaves from stems and dice fine. Stir thyme into soup mixture. Reheat over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through. Season with salt and white pepper, if desired. Serve garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh thyme, and parsley. Serves 6.
It was hard but I saved a serving for you!
One final close up. I really like the texture the pumpkin seeds add to this soup. They give it a surprise crunch alongside the smooth pureed squash.