Warm, creamy, and brilliant orange in color, here is a new soup for your fall enjoyment. Curried butternut squash carrot soup with curry powder and ginger equals delicious and healthy. Ruby red pomegranate seeds are jeweled garnish and the toasted pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch. Best of all, this soup is anti-inflammatory.
Finally Fall & Soup Weather
Even here in Southern California it’s finally feeling like fall. Cooler mornings with soft foggy light. Crisper evenings. The air smells different and the light is different. It’s so nice after the triple digits of a few weeks ago, and we am ready to start eating soup again. That’s what inspired this recipe for Curried Butternut Squash Carrot Soup.
Butternut Squash & Nutrition
We know vegetables with bright orange color are packed with nutrition. According to WHFoods, “we are just beginning to discover the wealth of nourishment supplied by the mildly sweet flavored and finely textured winter squash”.
Winter squash (how butternut is classified) provides antioxidant support with vitamins A and C, a good supply of B-complex vitamins, and important minerals such as potassium and manganese. It also offers us anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial support plus provide Omega-3 fats. Another area of potential health benefits of eating winter squash is in blood sugar regulation and prevention of type 2 diabetes. All of this from a humble squash.
How to Buy & Store Winter Squash
In spite of a tough exterior, winter squash is perishable. Look for squash that feels heavy for its size with a hard, dull rind. Store them for a few weeks, up to a few months, in a cool but not cold place. About 50°F – 60°F is best. To speed up this recipe, you can purchase already cubed butternut squash in many produce departments. Already cubed (either by you or the store) even freezes. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using for soup.
How to Cut Up Butternut Squash
Butternut squash can be hard to handle with their tough outer skin and bowling pin shape, but don’t let that deter you. The photos will help make it easy. You need a sharp, heavy knife and a sharp vegetable peeler.
One note – small hand tools like peelers do get dull after years of use. If it’s dragging, get a new one. I prefer the plastic handled y-peelers and they are about $4, available at kitchen stores.
After cutting the squash into small cubes (about 1 1/2″ or so) and chopping the carrot and leek you are ready to cook. Add the squash, carrot and leek to a pan and cook gently until softened. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add the broth and simmer until all vegetables are very soft. Then puree in a Vitamix or other high speed blender for a smooth and creamy soup.
Coconut milk – Before making this soup I was thinking of adding coconut milk for creaminess. It was so creamy after pureeing that I decided to skip it. If you want to add some, it would be delicious. Or if you need to stretch a batch to serve more people, coconut milk works beautifully.
Spices – Even the spices in this soup are powerful anti-inflammatories – curry powder and turmeric. Curry powder is a blend of spices. It comes in many styles from sweet to hot. I prefer one without the heat or a “sweet” curry powder.
The neon yellow of the spice world, turmeric is powerful anti-inflammatory with many other health benefits. It’s so powerful many people take it in capsule form (me included, every day), but it is also great to cook with.
Turmeric is often the base for curry powder blends. It is high in a compound called curcumin, which is where the powerful anti-inflammatory benefits come from. Read more about it here.
Leeks – I chose leeks for their mild sweet flavor, but a sweet onion will work too. And the carrots add more healthy, earthy sweetness to the soup.
Ginger – I keep a jar of organic ginger puree in the refrigerator. It’s creamy and fine so it disappears into recipes well. You can also use fresh, finely grated ginger. Use a microplane zester or ginger grater. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory as it contains potent compounds called gingerols. Read more here.
Garnishes – Garnishes are optional, but they do add visual interest and more flavor. The ruby pomegranate seeds are a tart-sweet compliment and add beautiful color. The toasted pumpkin seeds provide a nice crunch. For how to toast them, read here. They are great on salads too.
Help For Sugar Cravings
A soup like this made with sweet vegetables and spices is a good thing to eat if you are fighting sugar cravings. Eating sweet vegetables will help curb the sweet cravings in a healthy way.
Curried Butternut Squash Carrot Soup
- 2 pounds butternut squash cubes from 1 small squash, about 2 1/4-2/1 2 pounds
- 2 tablespoons oil olive or coconut
- 1/2 pound orange carrots chopped small
- 1 cup chopped leek or onion
- 3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons ginger puree
- 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder optional
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper I used white for this recipe
- 3 cups broth chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade
- 4-6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds see link below
- If you are starting with a whole butternut squash, start here. If you already have cubes, start at point 2. Trim a thin slice off the top and bottom of the squash. Cut the squash in half across the neck. Peel with a sharp vegetable peeler. Scoop out seeds and stringy inside. Cut squash into cubes. See post photographs for help.
- Heat oil in a medium pot until warm. Add chopped carrots and leeks. Cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric (if using) salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes for the flavors of the spices to bloom. Add the squash and broth. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Puree soup until smooth in a Vitamix or blender. Serve warm, garnished with pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. Leftover soup keep well refrigerated for 4-5 days.