Mushroom and Butternut Squash Soup

Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book.

I call for one large butternut squash below, but you will actually only need half of the squash. I like to bake more than I need and reserve the rest for later use. You can also freeze the other half, after scooping out the flesh, and use it to make a quick version of this soup the next time around.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
  4. Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
  5. Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings: 4

 

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Winter squash and greens are two of my seasonal favorites and this dish includes them both for a hearty vegetarian meal. Roasted Acorn Squash and Quinoa with Greens also makes an elegant side dish served with roasted pork tenderloin and a simple salad.

Roasting acorn squash makes the skin tender enough to eat and not having to peel the squash saves time in the kitchen. This recipe is pretty hands-off, giving you more time to relax and enjoy the Christmas season while your nutritious dinner is cooking.

Ingredients:
1 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup quinoa
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch spinach or other greens (about 6 loosely packed cups)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Trim each half into thin wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake until tender and golden brown, for about 45 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop spinach. When quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and add spinach, salt and black pepper to rice cooker. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes until spinach has wilted. Keep on warm setting until squash is done.
  4. Serve squash wedges on top of quinoa and spinach mixture and top with crumbled goat cheese

Servings: 2 to 3 as a main dish or 4 to 6 as a side

Note: If you do not have a rice cooker, follow the package instructions for preparing quinoa on the stove top.