Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil

creamy butternut squash soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup… this is what talked me into becoming a macrobiotic chef! It is sweet, savory, comforting, and delicious! As a child, the only way I saw butternut squash cooked was in a baked casserole with sour cream, onions, and a corn flake topping. I didn’t like it. But when I tried this soup, I was in heaven! I have recently revised this recipe to include a long, slow caramelization of onion, carrot, and celery (mirepoix) at the beginning, which gives the soup a very sweet, complex, and delicious flavor.

By Pigup – I made the mirepoix at home and took a picture of it on my cell phone., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18688674

Creamy vegetable soups help stabilize blood sugar levels, so help prevent sugar cravings when eaten regularly. When using organic squash, there is no need to remove the skin. This makes it much faster to make, and adds beneficial dietary fiber. These days, finding food that is naturally sweet and nutritious is so important, to nourish the body while curbing cravings for refined sugar. I recently listened to a news story on NPR’s “Here & Now” about how the food industry engineers processed and prepared food items (including pasta sauce, yogurt, and other processed foods not thought to be “sugary”) so that they reach a person’s “bliss point.” Children are especially susceptible to getting hooked on these foods since they are naturally attracted to the sweet taste (which is needed for growth in mild, natural forms). Try making this soup for your children, and try substituting other vegetables for the butternut squash, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or sweet potato. It makes a great kids’ lunchbox item when carried in a thermos.

The only trick with making this soup is learning how to cut the squash without cutting yourself. You need a good, sharp chef knife and a large cutting board. I suggest trimming off the stem, cutting off the “neck” of the squash, then cutting the resulting pieces (neck and bulb) in half so that you have four pieces you can put down flat on the board. From there you can remove the seeds from the bulbous part of the squash and chop the squash into small pieces.

Enjoy this soup and try some of the variations suggested at the bottom of the recipe. They are all delicious!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil
 
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Serve this soup at lunchtime to curb sugar cravings later on in the day. Or start your dinner meal with a cup of this soup to warm digestion and stimulate appetite.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • 5 cups butternut squash, seeded and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 cups spring or filtered water or light vegetable stock
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup organic pumpkin seeds, toasted, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a 4-quart soup pot, sauté onion and pinch of sea salt in olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent.
  2. Add carrot and celery and another pinch of sea salt. Sauté another 15 minutes, until vegetables start to caramelize.
  3. Add butternut squash and rosemary and coat with onion mixture. Add enough water or vegetable stock to barely cover the squash (about 3 cups), cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer until squash is soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Puree with blender or immersion blender. If soup is too thick, add a little more water or vegetable stock. Season to taste with sea salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve in bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Note
  1. If using vegetable stock, try to find one without tomatoes (such as Imagine brand Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth) or make your own, to avoid overpowering the flavor of the squash.
Variations
  1. Substitute kabocha squash for butternut squash. The color will be darker but it is very delicious.
  2. Substitute carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato, or sweet corn for the butternut squash.
  3. Use herbs and spices of choice instead of rosemary, such as thyme, basil, or fresh ginger.
  4. Roast butternut squash tossed in olive oil and sea salt in 425 degree F oven until soft. Add to sautéed onions and proceed with recipe.

Bon appétit!

 

Macrobiotic Macaroni and Cheese

vegan, gluten free, macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! When the weather starts to turn cold, give this hearty vegan version a try. It is packed with nutrients from winter squash, carrots, and miso, and contains no cheese substitutes like nutritional yeast or soy-based cheeses.It can easily be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free variety of pasta. Although this recipe does not fall into the “quick and easy” category, it is worth the effort as it is so nourishing and delicious!

There are some ingredients that need explaining in this recipe.

  1. Be sure to use raw cashews. When soaked, raw cashews will become soft and can be blended to create a very creamy texture. For savory dishes, discard the sweet soaking water.
  2. Kombu is used in preparing the squash and carrots for the cheese sauce. It is a sea vegetable high in iodine and other beneficial minerals and enhances the flavor of whatever you are cooking.
  3. Ume plum vinegar (a.k.a. umeboshi vinegar) is a healthful sour and salty condiment that adds amazing flavor to sauces and dressings, and is actually not technically a vinegar (it is the salt brine used to pickle the ume plum). You can find it in the Asian aisle of most health food stores, or you can purchase it online. The Eden brand is most easy to find.
  4. Red or sweet white miso is called for in this recipe to create the cheesy taste of the sauce. Red miso will give more depth of flavor, more like an aged cheddar cheese, and sweet white miso will give a lighter flavor, more like an American cheese. Be sure to use miso that is unpasteurized and made with sea salt like Miso Master or South River Miso. In Austin, you can get both varieties of miso at Wheatsville Coop.
  5. Natto is made from fermented soybeans and has many health benefits. It gives a depth of flavor to the dish that cannot be achieved otherwise. My favorite natto can be ordered online from Mugumi Natto. It is the only organic brand I have been able to find. It freezes well if you would like to order several packages. You can also make your own by purchasing powdered natto starter.
  6. Unsweetened, whole grain mochi is made of steamed sweet brown rice that is pounded until smooth and formed into squares to dehydrate and store. It is 100% whole grain, naturally gluten-free, high in protein, and can be grated and seasoned to use as a topping for casseroles and pizzas. Granaissance, Mitoku, and Eden all make mochi. In Austin, we can find the Eden brand of mochi at Central Market. Grainaissance mochi is more crumbly when grated whereas the Eden and Mitoku brands can be grated into longer shreds, but either one will work in this recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Macrobiotic Macaroni and Cheese
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Macaroni and "Cheese" Sauce
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 3 cups kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into1/2-inch rounds
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unpasteurized red or sweet white miso
  • 1 tablespoon natto (Megumi brand recommended)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • spring or filtered water
  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente and drained
Mochi "Cheese" Topping
  • 2 cups plain mochi, grated coarsely
  • 2 teaspoons red or sweet white miso
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • spring or filtered water
Instructions
Macaroni and "Cheese" Sauce
  1. Soak cashews in water for several hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. In heavy pot with lid, place ½ cup water, kombu, squash, carrots, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn to low and cook about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove kombu from cooked vegetables.
  3. To make the “cheese” sauce, place the squash, carrots, and their cooking liquid into a food processor along with the soaked and drained cashews, umeboshi vinegar, miso, natto (if using), garlic, and olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding water if needed to get the consistency of a thick soup. Taste for seasonings. If carrots and squash are super sweet, you may need to add a little more miso, sea salt, umeboshi vinegar, and/or olive oil to achieve a more savory flavor.
  4. Place cooked and drained macaroni elbows back into cooking pot. Add “cheese” sauce to coat macaroni. Pour macaroni and “cheese” into an oiled baking dish.
Mochi "Cheese" Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together grated mochi, miso, ume plum vinegar, olive oil, and enough water to thoroughly moisten the mochi (about ½-3/4 cup). Spread mochi mixture on top of the macaroni and “cheese” and bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes (it should be starting to bubble around the edges). Remove foil and melt mochi under the broiler for 2 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Watch closely to avoid burning!

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Winter Squash Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Winter Squash Salad
 
Sweet, colorful, and crunchy, this salad is a unique alternative to potato salad. Great for picnics and potlucks!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Ingredients
  • 1 medium kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup organic sweet corn
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons spring or filtered water, divided
  • 4 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon unpasteurized shoyu or tamari
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro and/or fresh basil, chopped
Instructions
  1. In large pot with steamer basket and lid, steam kabocha squash with a pinch of salt until soft, but not mushy. Set aside in a large bowl to cool.
  2. In the same cooking water, add sweet corn and cook for one minute. Remove from pot with skimmer and add to squash.
  3. In a small bowl, toss together sliced onion, a teaspoon of ume vinegar, and 1 tablespoon hot water. Set aside to marinate.
  4. Whisk together white miso, lemon juice, water, mirin, olive oil, and shoyu. Toss the dressing with the squash, corn, and pickled onion.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or basil.

Indian Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry

This dish is typically made with tomatoes and chili peppers, but has been made nightshade-free using butternut squash and umeboshi vinegar in place of tomatoes.  It is still wonderfully flavorful with the unique blend of fresh and dried spices, including anti-inflammatory turmeric. My family made this last night in a hurry, thanks to having half a cauliflower already cut into florets in the refrigerator. It makes enough for leftovers that are very tasty too!

Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1½ cups frozen green peas
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground coriander
  • ½ tablespoon mango powder
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • ¾ cup cashew cream or coconut milk
  • 1½ cups butternut squash puree
  • 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the cauliflower florets and peas in boiling water until tender. Drain.
  2. Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in safflower oil or ghee until soft and golden.
  3. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, tumeric, garam masala, coriander, mango powder, agave nectar, cardamom seeds, and cashew cream or coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add butternut squash puree and umeboshi vinegar and simmer 3-4 minutes. Add cauliflower and peas and simmer a few minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt as needed.
  4. Serve with rice.

 

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