This recipe uses some seasonal vegetables, so save this one for those “chilly” Florida January days. Most of these veggies are grown closer to home, which means fewer emissions than non-seasonal produce that needs to be shipped (or flown) across the world. However, what makes it even more sustainable is the focus on using the whole plant. Nationally, around 22% of municipal solid waste is food waste which puts a burden on our sanitation systems. Using the whole plant is more important than ever! What we cannot use, we can compost! For more information see: https://www.myboca.us/1729/Composting-101
I love making soups for a few reasons. First, it’s easy to double (or sometimes triple) a recipe to feed a large crowd, plus soups tend to freeze well. So while it may take some time to make you can reap the benefits long after.
Second, soups are the ultimate culinary recycling tool. Have leftover veggies from dinner last night? Put it in a stock! Five pounds of potato peels? Put it in a stock! Sprouted garlic?... you guessed it.
Hold on to those discarded veggie bits (the trimmings of a leek or celery, the leftover parsley stems, ends of green beans). Keep a sealed container in your freezer. Whenever you have leftover bits and pieces, throw them in. Then every few weeks throw it all together with some water, salt and spices, and enjoy your seasonal stock of the month! When you're ready to make soup you will have your base ready to go!
Recipe - Butternut Squash Soup
(I have adapted and edited this recipe from the Culinary Institute of America's, The New Book of Soups Second Edition.)
- 2 tsp. oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. ginger, minced
- 1 ¼ c. chopped leek (the tender white and light green parts, reserve the dark green ends for stock)
- ½ c. diced celery (reserve the ends and leaves for stock)
- 5 c. vegetable stock* (see recipe below)
- 3 c. peeled and diced butternut squash or pumpkin (reserve the seeds for roasting and the peel for stock)
- 1 c. peeled and diced sweet potato (reserve the peel for stock)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ c. dry white wine
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 8 oz (1 can) of coconut cream
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ c. roasted squash seeds, for garnish** (see instructions below)
- If you have a microplane or fine-toothed grater, use to grate garlic and ginger.
- Chop all vegetables. Soup will be pureed at the end, so don't worry too much about your knife skills.
- Warm 2 tsp of oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, leek, and celery. Sauté together until leeks and celery have softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add stock, squash, sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Puree soup. If you have an immersion blender, this is your chance! Otherwise, carefully spoon a couple of cups of the hot soup into a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer blended soup to a new pot or large bowl to hold until all of the soup has been blended. If you are serving this soup to the Queen, you can optionally strain your blended soup through a fine sieve to guarantee creamy perfection.
- Return the blended soup to the stove top, over medium heat. Add the wine, lime juice, salt and 3/4 of the can of coconut cream. Stir, taste, adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve warm. Just before serving top with a drizzle of coconut cream, cracked black pepper and roasted squash seeds. The seeds will soften if put in too early so I always put them on last.
*See vegetable stock recipe below.
**See roasted squash seeds recipe below.
Recipe - Vegetable Stock
- 1 c. carrot or other root vegetables (peels and all)
- 1 c. broccoli stems
- 1 c. fennel (stems and fronds)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 c. onion (butts, skin, odds and ends)
- 3 c. leeks (whole or leftover pieces)
- ½ c. celery (leaves and end pieces)
- 1 sprig of thyme, rosemary or another herb
- 3 qt. water
- ½ c dry white wine
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 5 peppercorns (whole)
- 1 bay leaf
Stock can be as varied and imaginative as you are!
- Clean and rough chop your ingredients.
- For a more boldly flavored and darker stock, try roasting your root vegetables for 20 minutes at 400-degrees. If you want a lighter stock, skip this step.
- Heat some oil in the bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat. Sauté the aromatics (garlic, onions, leeks, woody herbs) for a few minutes until fragrant. Allowing the veggies to brown (or even burn a little) at this stage can add more color and flavor to your stock. Or don't, this whole step is also optional.
- Once everything is fragrant, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow simmer and let cook for about an hour.
- Remove from heat and strain out all the solids. You have extracted pretty much all they have to offer at this point, so the solids can be disposed or composted.
- Allow the stock to cool before packaging and storing in the refrigerator (for a week) or the freezer (for up to a month).
Recipe - Roasted Squash Seeds
- Squash seeds (butternut, spaghetti, acorn, pumpkin)
- Salt and pepper to taste plus any of your favorite seasoning, cayenne maybe?!
Most people know of roasted pumpkin seeds, but not everyone is aware that all squash seeds are edible, and you can roast and enjoy any of the larger varieties.
As with any simple recipe, there are a million and one alterations you can make. I've heard of people sauteing the seeds first, I've also seen boiling. You can add any spices of flavors you are feeling in the moment. I am currently snacking on some "everything bagel" seeds as I write this. This is the most basic and direct recipe. If you want to experiment, by all means, go have fun!
- Cut open your squash and use a spoon to scoop out seeds and fibrous pulp.
- Place seeds in a large bowl and fill with water, this will help separate out the seeds, which should float, from the pulp which should sink. Try to separate out as many seeds as possible. You can discard the pulp and dry the seeds.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss seeds with a little oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake, checking and stirring the seeds every 5 minutes. Remove seeds from oven once they start to brown, about 10 to 20 minutes.