Most of this week has been rainy and grey. Although temperatures are warmer than what they were a few weeks ago, the dampness around makes me search for dishes that are comforting, satisfying and wholesome. Especially when work is very busy like it is now, I like to have something that is easy to take with us to the office so we don’t have to go out for lunch. This soup is quick to make and is a perfect winter meal served with a few slices of crusty bread.
I have always liked butternut squash. It is a real bonus that it is a key source of Vitamin A (so is seaweed by the way). We all know Vitamin A is a key nutrient for keeping our eyes healthy and our vision keen, but that’s not all it’s good for. Vitamin A helps promote bone growth, keeps the immune system strong, fights disease as a powerful antioxidant, and maintains a vigorous reproductive system.
On the culinary side of things, I am not sure which comes first in my list of ‘likes’ about it – the creaminess, buttery taste, the golden crust when roasted, the bright orange colour or the fact that it cooks quickly and that you have a dish to savour in ‘no time flat’. Butternut squash soup has become a winter staple in our house. I have a few variations of it but this one is particularly good!
Ingredients (To serve 4 as a main):
1 large butternut squash
1 head of garlic
olive oil to roast the squash
500ml of vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 tbsp Smoked kelp
Kelp salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Although this recipe contains salt (Kelp Salt, the naturally iodised sea salt), it is advisable to use very little because we also use Smoked Kelp which will add to the salty taste. Click to find out why kelp is good for you.
Heat the oven to 200 C. Prepare the squash by cutting it in 2 lengthwise and removing the seeds with a spoon. Make shallow incisions in the flesh so the oil and seasoning can penetrate. Split the garlic head in two and remove the loose leaves. Place the garlic halves in the squash cavities and sprinkle with a little olive oil, a little kelp salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until golden & tender.
When the squash is done, remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes so it can be handled. Spoon the golden flesh out & squeeze the cooked garlic cloves out of their skin and transfer into a food processor. Add some of the stock, the Smoked Kelp and puree until smooth. Adjust the thickness of the soup to your liking by adding more stock and check seasoning.
To assemble, ladle the soup into warm bowls. Drizzle with coconut cream and garnish with Dulse flakes, black sesame seeds, macadamia nuts (if using) and parsley. Serve with warm ciabatta.
Smoked Kelp is a delicious vegetarian alternative to bacon for a hint of a smoky flavour. It is particularly delicious with eggs, potatoes and as a salad condiment.
Kelp is the best source of iodine in nature and is a positive alternative to salt in many dishes. It contains less sodium and more of the other minerals than the body requires. It also contains many vitamins, fibre and compounds that can prevent degenerative diseases. Dulse is also a powerhouse of nutrition and is particularly rich in iron, potassium and magnesium.