It’s that time of year. When the vegan cookies and pints of dairy-free ben and jerry’s that were so giddily consumed in November and December begin to weigh you down like a ton of bricks.
If you’ve only being able to wear leggings since November, you are not alone. Pants are not a viable option for me right now. Maybe you too are craving some simple, delicious plant-based noms to start off 2018 right. I’ll be showing you how this month with clean, low fat, whole-foods recipes free of oil and added sugar. This soup is a great start!
I’ve certainly yo-yo’d throughout the years, but whenever I think back to the times I was at my most effortlessly lean and trim, I was eating a lot of these basics: smoothies, soups, and salads. Essentially, eat your fruits and vegetables, and the rest will follow!
Luckily, the comfort of a warm bowl of soup this time of year makes it easy to enjoy healthy meals. If you are ready to turn over a new leaf, but don’t want to feel deprived doing it, this lightly spicy, flavorful butternut squash soup is for you.
I went ahead and topped it with some crispy, air-fried kale for good measure. (If you don’t have an air fryer, store-bought kale chips would work, or you could easily use your oven). This soup is perfect for cuddling up on your couch and watching Planet Earth II with your Frenchie… ok maybe the last part was just me. Regardless, this soup is ready to warm you up and slim you down on a cold, TV-binge kind of night.
Feel free to make this without the crispy kale! I think it’s a nice topper for some added texture and greens, but this soup is also delicious on its own.
- 1 and ½ pounds butternut squash, cut into large cubes
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 pitted medjool dates
- 1 and ½ cups good quality vegetable stock (I like Better Than Bouillon brand)
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 tsp red curry paste
- ½ tsp ginger
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 and ½ cups kale, shredded
- A dash of tamari or soy sauce
- Optional: hemp seeds, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butternut squash on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. Spray with a bit of nonstick spray if desired (omit for oil-free). Bake for 22-30 minutes until softened.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and a few tablespoons of water. You are doing this to replace any oil. Sauté the onions until softened, adding more water as the pan starts to stick, for about 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes, set aside.
- Remove butternut squash from the oven, and add it to a high speed blender.* Add bell pepper, onions and garlic, broth, coconut milk, dates, red curry paste, ginger, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Blend until smooth and hot. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Add shredded kale to a bowl with a splash of tamari or soy sauce, salt, and garlic powder. Mix to incorporate. Transfer to air fryer and fry at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-5 minutes. You want the kale to be pretty crisp so that it doesn’t get soggy when it hits your soup, and adds a nice, contrasting texture.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with crispy kale and hemp seeds, if using.