Roasted Pear & Butternut Squash Soup
Despite the fact that it's the end of October, the temperatures are still pretty warm here in Tennessee. Fall has been doing it's best to peek through a few days at a time. Just long enough for us to get excited, and bust out all of our sweaters and hot apple cider recipes, only for summer to rear its 80 degree head again. It seems as though it has a death grip on us this year.
I've seen so many incredibly colorful photos of Vermont all over social media, and I'm on the verge of wanting to move there. I'm one of those people who starts wearing sweaters on October 1st, regardless of the temperature. Which is actually pretty patient of me, since I'd prefer to begin wearing them by mid-September. I suppose my train of thought is something along the lines of, "action sometimes precedes feelings." This time last week, we were experiencing highs in the 90s here in Nashville. I'm not sure if you've ever tried to wear a sweater in 90 degree weather, but I assure you, it's quite miserable. But I'm stubborn, determined, and now, a little sweaty.
I've also been trying to force the fall season with my cooking. This past weekend was refreshingly cool, so I made southwestern style chili, a new tasty dessert that I'm really excited about sharing, and hot apple cider. We also watched Hocus Pocus, in the spirit of Halloween. It was only one bonfire shy of a perfect Autumn evening!
Lately, I've been doing more experimenting with foods that are in season. Luckily, I'm a big fan of fall produce! Sweet potatoes, squash, pears, apples, cauliflower etc. I can't get enough, and I enjoy trying some of my favorite foods in new ways!
I love creamy soups. In my opinion, the thicker they are, the better. This preference can make finding healthy versions somewhat challenging. Before today's recipe, I only had one soup in my repertoire that fit this category: Ina Garten's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. I'm obsessed with it, and I believe I've sent it to almost everyone I know. You really should try it!
Due to my love for food variety, I have been searching for another creamy soup option for this coming winter. One of my favorite local restaurants has a delicious butternut squash soup that I'm obsessed with. The only issue I have with it is the amount of cream it contains. It tastes amazing, but it does not make me feel well physically. Because I love it so much, I wanted to find a way to make a delicious, but healthier version of my own.
This soup is incredibly flavorful and creamy! So much so, that it's hard to believe it's vegan! It's also pretty versatile. I rarely follow directions when I cook, and I've made this soup a couple of different ways, and it was amazing each time! It's also full of so many amazing nutrients that are essential to our health.
Butternut squash contains high amounts of:
- Fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system.
- Potassium, helping us prevent high blood pressure.
- Vitamin A, supporting healthy eyesight.
- Manganese for bone strength.
- Vitamin C, which supports and strengthens our immune system.
- Inflammation-reducing antioxidants.
Pears are also full of fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamin C. In addition to those, they include:
- Vitamin K, which is necessary for strong bones.
- Vitamins B2, B3, and B6, all of which support our metabolism/energy production.
- Folate, which plays a major role in brain function and impacts our mental and emotional health. (Side note: it's pretty important for nursing moms.)
- Calcium, which is obviously important for strong bones, but it also plays a crucial role in the proper function of our muscles and nerves!
- Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some of which include maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supporting a healthy immune system, keeping our heart beat steady, and regulating our blood glucose levels. So yeah, it's pretty important!
- Copper, which aids iron absorption, helps the body form red blood cells, keeps the immune system healthy, and fortifies our bones.
Not only is this nutrient-filled dish incredibly delicious, it's also extremely easy to make!
We often make grilled cheese to complement our soups. Personally, I don't eat a ton of dairy because it doesn't make me feel great. But I enjoy, and can handle it in moderation. Unless it's brie cheese. Then my "everything in moderation" mantra goes out the window. But it's worth it.
When I'm picking out cheese or milk products, I make sure I buy organic, grass fed, and if I can, local. That, in itself, makes a big difference for me. This grilled cheese is made on ezekiel bread, with organic gouda cheese, and grass fed butter. Sometimes we'll add a little turkey bacon on it too. I highly recommend that!
Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to completely nix your favorite comfort foods from your meal options. Just make sure you buy natural, whole ingredients, and you're aware of how you're feeling when you eat them. Practice being present so you can savor and enjoy every conscious bite!
What is your favorite comfort meal during the colder months?