Just a couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed a creamy butternut squash soup together. Isn’t that soup just amazing?
I’ve been making a big batch of that soup every Sunday afternoon to enjoy throughout the week for lunch. Personally, I love that soup with a side of grapes, or apple slices, and crackers (Jovial or Simple Mills). Dustin needs a bit more substance to a veggie-based meal, so he enjoys a bowl of creamy soup with a tuna sandwich or cheese quesadilla. And the kids are convinced that the soup is a dip, which means they also enjoy it with a quesadilla or grilled cheese.
After a full month of making creamy butternut squash soup as a prep-ahead lunch option, my family was thankful this past week for a soup change. A change that still relies on seasonal veggies (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots) and nourishing broth, but tastes completely different thanks to fresh lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Friend, let me introduce you to Quick and Simple Fall Vegetable Soup.
If I were poetic and romantic about my food, I would probably describe this soup as “fall in a soup pot.” Good thing I’m not poetic or romantic, right?! Yikes. I’ll just stick to what I know: baking soda, castile soap, and food.
This soup is nourishing, hearty, warm, comforting, and packed full of fall veggies and leafy greens. (Side note: it’s really good for keeping up that precious immune system.) The soup has a slight lemon flavor with a fair amount of heat from the red pepper flakes–which, in my mind, is the perfect way to beat the fall chill. Of course, that’s just hypothetical…#Florida ;).
This soup is also, as the name implies, really simple to make. The most challenging step in this entire recipe is peeling and chopping the butternut squash, which can be a bit of a pain. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of time spent chopping and making this soup on a busy weeknight, then let me offer three solutions:
1. Purchase pre-cut butternut squash. Butternut squash has a thick outer layer of skin, which means you don’t need to purchase organic butternut squash. This also means that you can pick up pre-cut butternut squash, which probably isn’t organic, at most grocery stores during the fall season. You may also use frozen (pre-cut) butternut squash. The rest of the veggies are much easier to chop.
2. Prep the veggies in advance. The peeled and chopped butternut squash will keep in the fridge, in an air-tight container, for 2-3 days (or longer), along with the onion and sweet potato. The white potatoes are a bit more finicky, so you’ll want to submerge the chopped potatoes in water, and then place the submerged potatoes in the fridge. The submerged potatoes should keep in the fridge for 1 day. Or, simply chop the potatoes when you want to make the soup. At least the butternut squash, onion, and sweet potato are ready.
3/ Prep the soup in advance. As I mentioned earlier, on Sunday (or Monday, depending on my schedule), I like to prep a big pot of soup for the week. I generally have more time to slow down and relax on Sunday afternoon, and I can set aside time to chop veggies and make soup. If I’m feeling extra ambitious, I’ll spoon the soup into individual-size mason jars. If I’m tired and just want to enjoy a Netflix marathon, then I’ll place my Dutch oven (once it’s cool) in the fridge. Either way, I love knowing that a meal is sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be enjoyed later in the week. #simplicity
- 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced (1/2 cup once diced)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 ½ cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 ½ cups cubed sweet potatoes (about 1 large potato)
- 1 cup cubed white potatoes (about 1 potato)--I prefer red potatoes.
- 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1-15oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed--Cannellini beans and Navy beans also work.
- 2 cups coarsely chopped kale--Remove the stems before chopping. Baby spinach also works in this recipe.
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, or soup pot, over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for 1 more minute.
- Add the red pepper flakes, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots. Stir to combine.
- Add the broth, salt, and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cover the pot, letting the broth simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Add the beans, kale, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Simmer the soup, uncovered, until the kale is wilted and the beans are warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- Carefully discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve hot, garnished with extra fresh thyme (if desired).
The red pepper flakes definitely add heat to this soup. If you don’t want such a spicy soup, then skip the red pepper flakes, or reduce the amount to 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon.
There’s no need to peel the potatoes. If you’d prefer to peel the potatoes, due to texture, you’ll need to do this before chopping the veggies.
You won’t use an entire butternut squash (if it’s a large squash) to make this recipe. You’ll probably only need half of a butternut squash. Use the leftover squash to make creamy butternut squash soup, macaroni and cheese, or roast the squash to enjoy as a side dish.
This soup is freezer-friendly. Make the soup and store it in air-tight containers in the freezer. Defrost the soup in the fridge overnight before reheating.
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