We have traveled quite a bit over the last couple months, each of the trips incredibly fun yet equally exhausting. With New York 3 hours ahead, India and Dubai 12 and 13 hours ahead, our jet lag and sleep schedules went haywire, along with our tummies. Afternoon naps became a necessity, and a hearty home cooked meal, a treat to be savored.
Fall & Winter are the best times for soup as it provides warmth and comfort when you need it the most. So last month, after reaching home sweet home, I decided to prepare a soup with a vegetable I never cooked with before. Butternut Squash! If you live in the bay area, you have probably noticed that basically every restaurant has adapted their menu to include this delicious vegetable. Thank you San Francisco for developing my love of winter squash.
This roasted butternut squash soup is thick and creamy with underlying flavors of coconut milk and the heat of cayenne pepper. The addition of pomegranate provides a sweet-tangy crunch with every spoonful. I have adapted this recipe from Half Baked Harvest, a blog that I am constantly inspired by. It’s a very forgiving recipe; so for those who feel intimidated by all the ingredients listed, experiment with it and omit what you want. A dash of this, a sprinkle of that, trust me, it’ll be delicious.
2 tablespoons coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Zatar mix
1 can coconut milk
1 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon roasted cumin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Few drops of Tobasco (for those who love extra spice)
4 ounces goat cheese softened and more for topping
Naan or toasted bread to serve
Coconut Ginger Cream
½ cup coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated then juiced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Toss butternut squash cubes, red bell pepper in the coconut or olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, some of the zatar mix, a few sprigs of thyme and roast for about 40 minutes, until the squash is fork tender and lightly browned.
3. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
4. In a blender, add in the roasted vegetables, coconut milk and water and puree the soup.
5. Pour into a pot to cook through and add in the cayenne pepper, rest of the zatar mix, cinnamon, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper.
6. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld together and then slowly mix in the goat cheese.
7. In a small bowl, mix the ginger juice and coconut milk together and place in fridge until ready to serve.
To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl. Drizzle coconut ginger cream and garnish with cilantro, pistachios, and crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils and serve with a piece of toasted bread. Or, make a Fattoush open sandwich like we did!