It’s the week before Thanksgiving and I’m coming to you with soup. I’ll confess, I thought it would be a turkey. Maybe you were hoping it would be too. I’m sorry. Next year friends. Buuuuut….if ever there were a soup that you should be making RIGHT NOW, it should definitely be this one.
Before we talk about all things soup and dive into this bowl of creamy tastiness that has been on repeat at my house for the last month, I want to express by deep appreciation and thanks to so many of you. I am abundantly grateful to those of you who over the last three months have sent me kind messages, posted loving comments, came alongside me in person to just listen (in the moments when there were words to say and in the moments when there were no words to be found), left phone messages, those who gave hugs, those who nourished my soul with food when the grief took over my motivation to cook, and those who drove from both near and far to just be a comforting and available presence. I am thankful for you. And I am thankful for your love and compassion toward me during a difficult time as I adjust, grieve, and process the loss of my best friend.
This season of life with grieving has not been easy. But I am okay. I’m not saying I’m okay with my best friend dying from breast cancer. I hate cancer and I hate what it did to her body. And I miss her like crazy and daily wrestle with the feelings of “if only I could tell her this” or “if only she were here to see this.” But in spite of those types of moments, I’m okay. And sometimes being just okay is not a bad place to be in. I am taking all that comes with experiencing great loss day by day, and sometimes just moment by moment. I recently read this quote by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (she is the voice who introduced the world to her theory of the five stages of grief) that currently resonates with me:
“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to.”
And that’s where I’m at.
And thank you for being with me in it.
And now I’d really like to talk about this soup. Cue awkward transition.
I basically sacrificed the end of my left thumb to bring this soup recipe to you. Not joking. My thumb could be the poster example for what happens when you don’t properly hold your fingers in claw grip fashion when cutting vegetables. Anyone interested in thumb soup? Joking. I checked my thumb about an hour later after the feeling of wanting to pass out from the thumb massacre subsided and it’s still there. But it was a close call. Not joking.
All thumb joking aside, this creamy butternut squash soup IS the BEST. Like I kind of want to enter it into a soup contest because it’s that good. I don’t care how many other millions of butternut squash soup recipes there are already out there vying for the fame and glory on the world wide web. Or the internet. Or cyberspace. Or the InfoBahn. Or whatever you want to call it. THIS ONE. THIS creamy butternut squash soup is THE BEST. As in two thumbs up. Even though it was nearly 1 7/8 thumbs up.
It’s loaded with vegetables so maybe it should be named The Best Creamy Vegetable Soup instead. However, once the butternut squash is added to the veggie party all those other veggies seem to take backstage by creating an added depth of flavor to my favorite squash of all squashes. Which btw, I’ve just realized that I kinda have a thing for butternut squash. See here, here, and definitely here. (That last link is a Thanksgiving side dish dream come true. You’re welcome.)
And it’s soooo creamy. But it’s a cream-less creamy for all you needing some slurpy goodness that’s dairy free. Think silky luxuriousness that makes you want to just dump your whole face right into the bowl for a soup facial. Is that a thing yet? Soup facials? I could maybe get on board with that. Too weird? Maybe? Oooor maybe not?!?! Maybe I’m on to something…
And I know it totally defeats the purpose of telling you how creamy dreamy this soup is when obviously there is that chunky topping staring straight up at you. The topping is totally optional and the soup will still be amazing. But I like toppings. Think of the topping as a flavor bonus. It’s a tasty little add-on of sweet and savory. Chunks of carmelized onion with crispy, salty bacon pieces, and slightly sautéed diced, sweet Honeycrisp apple. Uuuugh. So good. AND I’m thinking this soup might just be the perfect first course to your Thanksgiving smorgasbord.
But first things first. Who’s with me on that soup facial?!Print
A luxuriously creamy butternut squash soup that is dairy free and loaded with veggies while still allowing the butternut squash to shine! An optional sweet and savory topping of caramelized onions, sweet apples, and salty bacon kicks up the tasty factor even more.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1–2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1–2 stalks celery, chopped (seeing a trend here? -> about 1 cup chopped)
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1–2 cups)
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 7 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth (*see notes below)
- 1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk (*see notes below)
Sweet & Savory Topping
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, diced
- 3/4 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 large Honeycrisp apple, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once hot, add garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and parsnip. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add butternut squash, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat.
- Add broth and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree soup until smooth.
- Return soup to pot and add coconut milk. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over medium heat.
- Serve as is or garnish with Sweet & Savory Topping (see instructions below) and a little drizzle of coconut milk.
Sweet & Savory Topping
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add bacon and onion to skillet and sauté for about 5-10 minutes or until bacon is crispy, its fat has rendered, and the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.
- Drain off the grease and return the skillet to stovetop.
- Add apple and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat. Add parsley and stir until just combined.
- Serve as a topping on a bowl of luxuriously creamy butternut squash soup.
There are a TON of ways you could change up this soup. After way too many renditions of testing this recipe (as well as almost losing my thumb – hold your fingers in a claw grip when chopping veggies!), my favorite version in regards to flavor and thickness is the recipe you see above, which uses regular unsweetened coconut milk and chicken broth for the liquid. However, you could substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth to create a vegan version of this soup. This will affect the flavor some. You could also use light coconut milk rather than regular coconut milk if you’re interested in creating a tasty soup with less fat and calories (or if you just want an excuse for the sake of calories to add more of that onion bacon apple topping to your soup). This will affect the thickness of the soup as well as the flavor slightly.
Also, if you’d like to add that pretty little drizzle of coconut milk to the top of your soup, reserve a little bit from the can rather than adding the entire can of coconut milk to the soup at the end. This will save you from needing to open up a second can of coconut milk.
Nutritional information provided is for the butternut squash soup only and does not include the topping.
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