As a general rule, we don’t go grocery shopping without a list or knowing what the upcoming week’s menu will be. But last week, we were running errands and happened to be near the market, so we shopped without a list or menu.
I didn’t realize my husband picked up an acorn squash and a sweet potato. And he didn’t know I picked up a butternut squash and a freakishly large organic carrot. I decided to throw these veggies together to see what resulted. Turned out to be a delightfully tasty and beautiful “painted” soup!
Here’s where cooking without a recipe can get you into trouble. I went into the kitchen at noon and came out four-and-a-half hours later, exhausted, but pleased with my creation. Don’t worry – it doesn’t take that long to make the soup. I just did everything the hard way. Including cooking and prep time, it takes about 50 minutes when done properly. To keep the roasting time to a minimum, cut the vegetables in small chunks of similar size. You can make this soup as thick or thin as you like by adjusting the amount of vegetable broth and coconut milk.
1 medium acorn squash
1 small butternut squash
1 sweet potato
1 large carrot
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small Vidalia or sweet onion
1 – 2 cans coconut milk (I never promised this was low cal!)
1 tsp. red chili pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like too much heat, or more if you like fire!)
2 tsp. Herb de Provence – ground in mortar & pestle, spice mill or coffee grinder
3 tbsp. coconut or canola oil
1 quart vegetable stock
1 package pre-cooked & peeled beets (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel and seed the butternut squash and cut into small chunks.
- Cut the acorn squash in half, remove the seeds, and cut into 1 inch slices, leaving the skin on.
- Peel the sweet potato and cut into small chunks.
- Peel (optional) the carrot and cut into small chunks.
- Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil (optional – helps with clean up) and spray with a layer of coconut oil or your choice of vegetable oil spray. Arrange the squash, sweet potato and carrot chunks on the trays so they don’t overlap. Spray the veggies with another layer of coconut oil.
- Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until fork tender. When cooked, remove skin from acorn squash by either peeling it away or use a paring knife.
- While vegetables are roasting, prepare beets by processing in food processor. Then place beets in sauce pan with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and agave nectar to beets. Puree with hand blender. Return sauce pan to stove to warm mixture before serving.
- In a pot, put 3 tablespoons oil, pepper flakes and ground Herb de Provence. Turn up heat and stir until spices release their scent. Be careful not to burn the spices.
- Process the onion and garlic in a food processor and add to pot. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add roasted vegetables and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Move pot to sink and, using a hand blender (or food processor), puree the vegetables.
- Add canned coconut milk (the sweeter the onion and vegetables, the less you’ll need) and puree again.
- Season with salt.
- Serve soup hot with a dollop of warmed pureed beets. Garnish with drops of coconut milk and chopped parsley.