Acorn Squash, Parsnip & Green Apple Soup

I like using acorn squash instead of butternut sometimes, because it's just a little more manageable. Number one, it's smaller - which is better for just two people. It's also round and even in shape and thickness which makes it cook more evenly when roasting. It's flesh is a bit thicker, which means it's easier to scrape away the flesh after a lengthy roasting.

When making a nice thick winter squash soup, an acorn squash makes the work just a tad bit easier. This time I experimented with a trifecta of acorn squash, parsnips and green apples. I wanted to dumb down the squashy flavor and rough texture by using parsnips - they make a more velvety soup. However, their taste can be a bit overpowering with their bitterness - so I used the tart green apple to counteract that. I created an even gentler flavor by adding the cashew cream for a nutty component.

It turned out quite well, although I made a bit too much and should have frozen half of it.

Acorn Squash, Parsnip and Green Apple Soup (Vegan)
1 acorn squash
Olive Oil
½ C yellow or sweet onion, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
4 C organic vegetable stock
1 C water
1/2C cashew cream *recipe HERE
salt & pepper

1. Heat oven to 425F.

Wedges of squash ready to roast
2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Rinse them in a strainer to remove the strings, and set them aside on a paper towel to dry. Cut the squash in half again to create wedges. Place in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour until tender all the way through. Cool for 15 minutes before scooping out the flesh.

Roasted squash
3. In a soup pot, heat 1-2T of olive oil and add onions. Cook over medium-low heat until softened. Add the parsnips, roasted squash, stock and water. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

4. Add apples and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and puree until smooth using an immersion or standard blender.

5. Stir in cashew cream and season to taste with salt & pepper. Start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and 15 grinds of pepper and taste and season from there. 

Garnish with diced apple, toasted nuts or squash seeds. Serve with whole wheat toast for dunking.
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