Butternut Squash Soup
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I love butternut squash in the winter. It’s a nice hearty veggie and there are so many different flavor options. You can go sweet, salty, or even spicy. It is also chock full of nutrients like vitamin a, potassium, and fiber, and is low in calories. Per the USDA, 1 cup of cooked cubed butternut squash has only 82 calories, 6.6g of fiber, and 582mg of potassium.

Anyways, I have been meaning to try making a butternut squash soup for some time but just had not gotten around to it. So, a few weeks ago I was attempting to make my whole grain butternut squash risotto (which you can find here) and it did not turn out exactly as expected. My butternut squash risotto ended up turning into a mushroom risotto because I accidentally fell asleep with the butternut squash in the oven, and it got a bit over cooked…whoops. It was pretty mushy by the time I woke up and both myself and my husband prefer more firm chunky pieces of butternut squash in risotto (he hates mushy foods). So the overcooked butternut squash was transformed into a delicious velvety, smooth, soup. If you saw my facebook live video today about what is in my freezer, you may have seen me pull out a tupperware containing this soup. I am saving some for when I inevitably catch another cold from Baby V.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

2 Cups Cooked and Mashed Butternut Squash

2 Cups Unsalted Vegetable Broth

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Ginger

1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Cup Apple Juice

 

Directions

Throw everything in a pot and cook on medium heat until warmed to your liking.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

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Gluten Free Butternut Squash Crostinis
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Butternut squash is a great fall and winter staple. There are so many things you can do with it, such as making a flavorful soup or just roasting it with your favorite spices. It is fairly low in calories and fat, full of potassium (great for blood pressure), vitamin a (good for vision) and fiber (can help get those sluggish bowels moving). Also, it does not spoil as quickly as some other veggies, so you don’t have to worry as much about it going bad before you have a chance to use it. The only thing that bothers me about butternut squash is cutting it up….I am not best with knives. However, I have found that poking some holes in it and putting it in the microwave a few minutes does help soften it up so it is easier to cut. You can then continue to cook however way you like after you have the squash slightly softened and cut up.

I love little mini breads topped with deliciousness, so a few weeks ago I decided to make an appetizer that was a seasonal take on bruschetta. Instead of a tomato basil topping, I decided to make a kale and butternut squash topping. And I also added some goat cheese because cheese is delicious and of course adds a little calcium that most of us don’t get enough of. For my recipe I used Udi’s gluten free french baguettes but if you don’t need to make it gluten free you can always just use any other baguette type bread…preferably one that contains some whole grains.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Crostini

Butternut Squash Crostini

Ingredients
3 Udis Gluten Free French baguettes (freezer section)
1 T Olive Oil + extra for brushing on bread
1 Butternut squash peeled and diced ~6 cups
4 Cups Chopped Fresh Kale
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
6 oz Goat Cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice baguettes into 1/2 inch slices after bringing frozen baguettes to room temperature. Brush 1 side of each piece with olive oil, using a pastry or silicone brush. Put slices oil side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook for about 5 min on top rack of oven or until bread appears lightly toasted around edges. You may have to make in batches. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 400 degrees.
Add butternut squash and kale to a large glass baking dish. Mix in apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and sage. The kale may look like an excessive amount but it will bake down. Stir until evenly coated. Bake in oven for 35 minutes in lower rack or until butternut squash is cooked through (if you bake on top rack, kale may burn a little). Top olive oil side of bread pieces with a thin layer of goat cheese and butternut squash mixture just prior to serving.
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Whole Grain Risotto with Butternut Squash
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Risotto is traditionally made with Arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice. Unfortunately, it is not a whole grain so it contains less dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals than brown rice. Whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers as well as healthier body weights so I am always trying to sub in whole grains in recipes whenever possible.

I love risotto… so I had a goal to try and make it with brown rice. I scoured the internet for recipes for whole grain risotto and found very little so I tried making it the traditional way and just replaced the Arborio rice for short grain brown rice and used white wine and unsalted vegetable broth for the liquid. It took forever. I kept adding more and more and more vegetable broth and stirring and stirring and stirring and eventually after an hour gave up and ate it because I was starving and we had to be somewhere. I felt like I was on “Top Chef” with a recipe that was not working and running out of time. While the flavor wasn’t bad, my risotto tasted under cooked and was a little crunchy. It definitely was not worth the effort and I would have been eliminated had I been on “Top Chef.”.

So I thought about what I could do to make a whole grain risotto work. I thought that maybe if I cook the rice about half way first, it wouldn’t take as long and wouldn’t end up crunchy. I also decided to use some coconut almond milk instead of broth to help give it a little more creaminess and a different flavor. I’m so glad I tried to make a whole grain risotto a second time because it turned out great and I couldn’t even tell it was with brown rice when I was eating it!

 

Whole Grain Risotto with Butternut Squash

Ingredients
1 Cup Short Grain Brown Rice
1 Cup Water
1 Small Yellow Onion Chopped (~1 cup chopped)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk Blend ( I used Almond Breeze )
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tsp Ginger, Cumin and Coriander
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon, Allspice, Salt and Pepper
1/8 Tsp Cayenne (Optional)
2 Cups Bite Sized Chunks of Butternut Squash, Cooked

Directions
Add water and rice to medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low simmer and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed, ~15 minutes. After rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes, start heating olive oil to medium heat in a large saucepan with high sides. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add partially cooked rice and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Add dry white wine and stir until absorbed. Add ½ cup almond coconut milk and stir until absorbed. Keep adding almond coconut milk in ½ cup increments, stirring until absorbed after each addition until all the milk is used. After the last ½ cup of almond coconut milk is added and mostly absorbed, turn heat down to low. Add parmesan cheese and mix in. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in until evenly distributed. Add butternut squash and stir in gently. (If butternut squash is not warm, just heat in microwave until warm before adding.) Remove from heat and serve immediately. Pair with a fresh salad for a complete meal. :)

Butternut Squash Risotto

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