Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Friday, September 24, 2010

Southwest Squash Soup

I found this recipe several years ago in a 5 A Day program cookbook. I've made it so many times in so many different ways. Last week I picked up two big butternut squash at the grocery store and instantly remembered this favorite recipe.

The CDC has since updated the 5 A Day program to call it Fruits & Veggies – More Matter(TM). This was a great move, since we all need to remember to keep adding fruits and vegetables to all meals and snacks during the day. I find this easier than counting how many servings we eat each day.

Fall and winter fruits and veggies like butternut squash are heartier than a lot of the produce of summer. This makes it easier to keep tons on hand without fear of spoiled produce!

Butternut squash provides fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, folate, magnesiun, iron, and calcium to a healthy diet. It's orange color is a tip that it's a good source of beta-carotene (which becomes Vitamin A) an antioxidant with a key role in maintaining eye health and vision.

I did some chopping in the morning before school drop-off, then whipped this soup together while playing with Ned. The hardest part is peeling and dicing the squash – most stores stock peeled squash that will save you this step.

Southwest Squash Soup

2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
4-5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup tomato puree
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrot, and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Cover pan, reduce heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  3. Stir in squash, peppers, broth (enough to just cover the veggies), tomato puree, and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Mash squash to a chunky puree with a potato masher. Taste for seasonings and add more if needed.

My notes:
  • I used 1 jalapeno (without seeds or ribs) and it was spicy enough for my family.
  • I used an immersion blender for a smooth soup. I have used the potato masher in the past and it leaves lots of texture (which is good, too).
  • In the past I've added brown rice or white beans to make the soup more filling.
  • This soup is great for topping! Try adding grated cheddar, sliced green onions, light sour cream or plain yogurt.

Today's tip: Make a delicious soup out of abundant (and inexpensive) butternut squash this fall and winter.

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