I can’t count the number of times I come home from work, stare into the fridge and freezer, and contemplate what to make for dinner. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space to keep a week’s worth of pre-prepped meals at the ready, so I rely on getting creative with my inventory of staple veggies, grains and lean protein. Last night I pulled out the cauliflower and cubed butternut squash that I wanted to use up from earlier in the week, but I was stuck on what to do with it. I thought roasting them would be boring, so that was a no-go. I gave thought to whipping up my trusty, all-time favorite butternut squash black bean enchilada skillet, although I was missing some ingredients.
Because it was foggy, gray and dreary outside— the idea of soup entered my mind. I had made butternut squash soup before, and (very yummy) cauliflower chowder before, so I combined the two, using this recipe for inspiration. When it comes to soup, you can improvise a lot along the way (which is what I do for a lot of the recipes I make, to be quite honest). Customization grants you a greater range of flavors, textures, and if desired, a healthier dish by using smart swaps (i.e. plain Greek yogurt for sour cream). Don’t be afraid to get a little creative!
Before I give you the recipe for my Butternut “Squaliflower” Soup, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Riced cauliflower adds body. You could use steamed or chopped cauliflower florets, but I think riced cauliflower—which is available at Trader Joe’s and most grocery stores— absorbs more flavor and creates a more fulfilling texture.
- Be generous with spices you add. Because butternut squash and cauliflower are more bland than robust, you’re going to want to use more than a sprinkle of thyme (which is what I used), sage, paprika, etc.
- I used a blender. The above recipe calls for a pressure or slow cooker, but I saved a ton of time (and cleanup) with my handy dandy blender. It also makes for a smoother soup!
Butternut “Squaliflower” Soup (makes 3-4 servings)
- 3 cups of cubed butternut squash (fresh is better, but frozen works too)
- 1 ½ Tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups riced raw cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup half and half
- Steam butternut squash until just fork tender.
- In a large skillet, add oil, onions and garlic, and cook until caramelized.
- Add in dried thyme, chili powder, salt, pepper and raw cauliflower. Stir together on medium heat until cauliflower is tender.
- Pour in broth and add steamed butternut squash. Mash the squash and combine everything until you reach a chunky soup consistency. Simmer for five minutes.
- Carefully move the soup into the blender with a spoon. Blend on medium for a minute or so, then add half and half.
- Blend again on high until no lumps remain. Top with grated cheese, bacon bits, chives or any other toppings you fancy!
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