Happy fall, y’all! Please welcome what may be my new favorite autumn soup: this smoky roasted squash and carrot soup is a recipe you “butternut” miss out on! It’s nutritious, delicious, easily prepared and beautiful- a winner from all angles. I am never not craving butternut squash soup this time of year- I’m not a Starbucks person, so this is my pumpkin spice latte! The classic version is hard to beat, but this smokier, spicier concoction has me ladling bowl after bowl. I don’t love leftovers, but I ate this three days in a row for lunch a few weeks back- that must mean it’s good! The smokiness in this soup comes from two key ingredients: smoked sweet paprika and chipotle chilies.
Smoked sweet paprika is one of my favorite spices, and I sneak it in as a substitute for regular paprika when I’m looking to add extra depth and smoky flavor to a dish. I use a version from Spain called El Rey Pimenton de la Vera, and you want to make sure the word “dulce” (or sweet) is on the box- the alternative, “picante,” is pretty spicy! Chipotle chilies, or smoked, dried and rehydrated jalapeños, are another well frequented flavor bomb in my kitchen. I buy them in little cans at the grocery store- they are easy to find in most super markets and will keep for weeks in the fridge after opening. They can be quite spicy, so use more or less to your liking! I love the rich complexity and smoky heat that they lend to savory dishes (consider using a little of the tomatoey sauce as well!), and alongside the paprika they add the perfect amount of spice and smoke to this soup.
Roasting the squash and carrots before simmering them in the pot adds another delectable layer of flavor to this recipe. I think that roasting is my favorite technique when it comes to vegeatables- I can’t get enough of that soft, caramelized texture and enhanced sweetness! The nice thing about this technique is that you can go ahead and roast the squash and carrots ahead of time (up to 24 hours) and then just add them to the simmering stock to reheat and proceed with the recipe as written! If you choose this route, the soup comes together in a jiffy, so it’s perfect for easy entertaining and make ahead holiday menus. This would be so tasty as a first course on your Thanksgiving table, in a shooter glass as an appetizer, or even sipped warm out of a mug as a light and soothing meal in the evening after the turkey has been gobbled.
The Vitamix is an essential tool in my kitchen and the ideal blending vessel when you want a silky smooth consistency in a puréed soup (you would swear that there’s cream in this soup after blending, it’s that luscious). If you would prefer to minimize clean up and use an immersion blender, that is absolutely ok! The immersion won’t purée as finely so be prepared for a bit of texture, but your soup will still be delish.
Garnishes are a must for me when it comes to a blended soup- they add much needed texture as well as visual appeal. I love serving this soup with a dollop of yogurt cut with lime and sprinkling on a few crunchy pepitas (roasted and salted pumpkin seeds) to finish. It’s smoky comfort and coziness in a bowl! I can’t wait to make this again very soon. Enjoy!
prep time: 15 min. cook time: 1 hr. serves: 6-8
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1” cubes
4 large carrots, cut into 1” pieces
avocado or olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-2 chipotle chilies en adobo, chopped (add some of the sauce for extra heat if desired)
2 tsp cumin, divided
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, divided
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp honey
pepitas, lime crema (1/2 cup full fat plain greek yogurt or sour cream mixed with the juice of a lime and a pinch of salt)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the squash and carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, the cinnamon, a few cranks of black pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt and toss to coat. Spread the veggies in an even layer and roast for 40-45 minutes, until softened and lightly browned.
Heat 1 more tbsp of oil to the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and sauté 5-7 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, chipotle chilies, and remaining spices and cook 2 minutes more. Add the roasted squash and carrots in along with the bay leaf and the stock. Season with 1-1/2 tsps more salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to cook on low 15 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf and carefully transfer the soup to a high power blender, working in batches if needed. Blend until it’s very smooth and velvety. Wipe any remaining solids out of the dutch oven and return the purée to the pot over low heat. Stir in the honey and check for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Serve hot garnished with the lime crema and pepitas if desired.