It has been a beautiful Friday here in the Atlanta area–sunny and warm this afternoon, but with the noticeable cool nip in the early morning air when I left for work as the sun was just starting to come up. I know I am not alone in welcoming the Fall. I may not get into football, but I love the cooler running weather (and my race times generally reflect it!), the anticipation of all the upcoming events and holidays, and most importantly soup and chili every week!
As the years go by, one of my nutritional goals has been to try to embrace more seasonality in my meal planning. One of the best ways to welcome cooler temperatures is with a warm bowl of deliciousness! Besides being quite satisfying, soups, stews and chilis can all be fairly easy to make. Plus they tend to get even better as leftovers, so it is really smart to make a big batch at the beginning of the week to assure you have a head start to your meal preparation.
Chili is especially versatile for use during the week. If you don’t feel like eating it the traditional way, you can re-purpose it as a topping for baked potatoes, a filling for burritos, or mix it up into a tofu scramble for a really filling breakfast. Most chilis and soups also freeze well, so if you make too much to finish at once just portion it out and pop it in the freezer for later.
This butternut squash soup is my take on a pretty classic recipe. I think that is one of the great things about all of these amazing bloggers and food websites that are available at your fingertips now–there are so many variations of similar recipes that you are guaranteed to find one that works for you!
Butternut squash and sage is a traditional pairing, but I really enjoyed the addition of the rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes to punch up the flavor. The cauliflower and beans also add a rich, creamy texture to the final blended product, not to mention boosting the amount of fiber and protein to make it a more filling meal. I am very thankful to my boyfriend for keeping up our herb garden, but if you do not have access to fresh herbs, feel free to use dried. I imagine a little bit of crushed red pepper may also be a nice touch if you care for a little heat in your soup. 😉
Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soup
Makes 6-8 Servings
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into cubes
- 2 cups cooked white beans (cannellini or northern work great) or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed & drained
- ½ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
- 6 cups veggie broth or water
- 2-3 sprigs each fresh sage and rosemary (if using dried ground herbs, cut to about ½ teaspoon each)
Prepare all of your ingredients and mix everything in a 5-6 quart slow cooker, except for your fresh herbs. Place the sprigs of sage and rosemary on top, put on the lid, and cook on high for approximately 4 hours (cooking times vary based on the model of your slow cooker). Once all of the vegetables are soft and cooked through, remove the herbs. Use an immersion blender or carefully scoop the soup into a blender to puree in batches until smooth.