Right before the group meeting, one of my colleagues walked into the conference room with a bowl of spicy creamy squash soup. He emitted a delighted sigh while he was enjoying his soup. It was after 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I did have a good lunch, but with the room filled with the fragrant roasted garlic and hot pepper, I just couldn’t stop thinking about that soup. At that moment, I knew what I was going to do with the squash I picked up at the store.
Instead of following the traditional creamy squash soup recipe using dairy cream or milk, I choose coconut cream as a vegan alternative. I roasted a few pieces of chopped garlic and some red chili pepper powder in oil, and then added acorn squash puree and water. After the soup had boiled for a few minutes I added coconut cream, some cinnamon powder, and salt to taste. I have saved some roasted squash seeds in my cupboard that provide a great extra texture and nutrition for this mid-fall, warm, comforting soup.
The addition of coconut cream adds a hearty richness to this squash soup. With the contrast spiciness from the roasted garlic, hot pepper, and cinnamon, this dish is great for any occasion.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp crushed chili pepper or cayenne pepper
- 2 cups acorn squash puree (store-bought or homemade)
- 1½ cups water
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp salt
- (Optional)1 tbs roasted squash kernels or pumpkin kernels
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add garlic and chili pepper. Stir constantly until fragrant but not browned.
- Add the acorn squash puree and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat then simmer over low heat for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to mix well.
- Add coconut cream (save 1 tbs for garnishing), cinnamon powder, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Garnish with the rest of coconut cream and squash seed kernels before serving.
2. To make squash puree (oven method): Wash the acorn squash. Cut in half then remove the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. Cut the squash halves into quarters. Place into an oil sprayed baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 °F preheated oven for 1 hour. Let it cool enough to handle. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the soft squash flesh and discard the squash skin. Place the squash flesh into a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Add small increments of water while blending.
3. To roast and hull squash seeds or pumpkin seeds: Wash off the stringy squash membrane under running water. Pat dry the seeds on a drying towel or kitchen paper towel. Slightly coat the seeds with vegetable oil or butter. Place the seeds on an oil sprayed baking sheet and bake at 325 °F for 10 minutes. Allow the seeds to cool enough to handle. Pinch the narrow end of each seed between your thumb and forefinger to open the shell. Remove the shells to get seed kernels.