When I knew I was bringing soups to The Wendy Williams Show, butternut squash soup was obviously at the top of the list.
But knowing Wendy is vegan, I really had to rethink the classic recipe.
Without using chicken stock or cream—both of which can add so much flavor to soups!—I had to extract as much flavor as possible from my ingredients, while finding other ways to give the soup a creamy texture.
I discovered roasting the squash was vital, as it really intensified the sweet taste of the squash.
And pairing the roasted squash with apple made it even better.
A handful of cashews later, and my soup was even creamier and more velvety in texture than it would have been if I had added a cup of cream!
In the end what I’ve really created is just a better soup—that also just happens to be vegan.
Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
servings: 6; makes about 16 cups of soup
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup:
- 1 large butternut squash (3 pounds)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 gloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 3 red apples (about 1 pound), peeled + coarsely chopped, some reserved for a garnish
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups one-inch cubes sourdough bread (about 4 ounces)
- 1 cup whole pecans (about 4 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 leaves fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons loosely packed + finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel the squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Use a soupspoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them. Cut the squash into ½-inch-thick slices and then into ½-inch chunks. Place them in a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Toss to coat; then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender—about 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is tender and browned in spots—about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Add the stock, apple, cashews, and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the pot and cook for 50 minutes. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven, add it to the pot with the stock, and cook the soup for 10-20 minutes more until the cashews are very soft.
- Transfer the soup to a blender and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, the ginger, nutmeg, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Blend until combined and then transfer the soup to serving bowls. Top with breadcrumbs, diced apple, and enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the bread cubes on a (parchment-lined? No, nothing) baking sheet and cook them in the oven until they are dried out and toasty—about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until small bread crumbs form. Add the pecans and continue pulsing until the bread crumbs are fine and the pecan pieces are about the size of a pea.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the sage leaves and fry them until they are crisp—about one minute. Then transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the oil in the skillet.
- Next, add the bread crumb mixture to the hot oil and toss until it is light brown and toasty—2-3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the parsley and salt.
- Top the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with the bread crumbs, fried sage, and pomegranate seeds.