butternut squash

A bowl of butternut squash soup with white beans blended smooth in a white shallow bowl with a chunk of bread

Butternut Squash and White Beans Soup

Cooking has always been a comfort to me. In the midst of a raging pandemic, cooking has become an essential self-care tool. In this moment, cooking sometimes is a burden. I have pretty much been cooking all my own meals from scratch. For this vegan Butternut Squash soup with White Beans, I actually cooked the beans. Some days I love it. Cooking is a distraction from the rising infection and death toll. On other days, I wish I had the choice of take-out. But I can’t at the moment because it is not financially prudent.

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Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

A Soup to Remember

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

The first time I had a variation of the Butternut Squash soup with black beans, it was such an unexpected treat. It happened a couple of years ago at the Boston Public Market.

The Boston Public Market is one of my favorite places to wonder in the winter. I love looking at the stalls of the local producers and buying donuts. Every once in a while, I stop there to get a meal. Usually, I either get a pastrami sandwich or I go get food from Bon Me.

On the day I tried the butternut squash soup, I got accosted on my way to Bon Me by an affable guy. He was offering me soup for free. He told me, “if you don’t like the soup, you don’t have to pay for it.” Unlike my normal self, I didn’t brush him off. I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus, I loved his approach. So I tried the soup and I paid for it. It was amazing. His was a vegetarian version that was tangy and spicy with loads of vegetables and beans with sweet potato. I love it and I ate every bit of it.

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

My version of the soup tries to capture some of the magic of that moment in a simpler version. The butternut squash soup with black beans starts with a mirepoix. Mirepoix is are so commonly sold in grocery store prepped vegetable sections. Buying the vegetable pre-chopped makes life easier but I usually make my own mirepoix at home because I don’t like carrots. Also, I use leeks instead of onions.

The broth is definitely my homemade chicken broth that I have tailored to my specific taste. One special thing that I do with my soup is make cut my butternut squash into tiny cubes. Bigger cubes would work in the soup, they would just need to be cooked longer.

The magic spice in this bowl of goodness is the cumin. The cumin brings everything togetherĀ and especially after the final squeeze of lime. Don’t skip out on the cumin or the lime. It makes such a huge difference to the way the taste plays out.

If there is one thing I am loving this winter, it is finding easy ways to eat my vegetables on the regular without it feeling like a chore. This butternut squash soup with black beans is such a joyous experience that I can’t help repeating it.

Butternut squash soup with black beans in a white bowl

Butternut Squash Soup with Black Beans

The butternut squash soup with black beans takes me back to a beautiful moment of discovering new food profiles unexpectedly. It is such a joyful recipe because of its robust flavor with cumin and lime playing with the sweetness of the butternut squash.
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Cups Butternut Squash
  • 1 Can Black Beans rinsed
  • 1 Cup Mirepoix
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • This the perfect recipe to use the pre-cut butternut squash that is sold in the stores. It cuts down on prep time. Cut the butternut squash into chunks if you are prepping it yourself. I prefer smaller pieces to cut down on cooking time.
  • Smash the garlic cloves. Add the oil into a medium saucepan. After heating for a minute, add the mirepoix and smashed garlic cloves. Sprinkle a pinch of salt. Stir frequently and allow the vegetables to sweat for few minutes until translucent.
  • Once mirepoix looks soft, add in the butternut squash chunks and the cumin.  Stir frequently for about four minutes, then add in the chicken broth. Bring it up to a simmer.
  • Add in the black bean. Taste the soup to check that salt is at an optimal level. Let it all cook together until the butternut squash chunks are tender. 
  • Serve soup in a bowl with a wedge of lime. Squeeze lime juice over the soup before eating.
Roasted Butternut Squash Medley on Grains

On Loving Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash Medley on Grains

I am trying to figure out how I got a point where I can be talking about eating a roasted butternut squash medley. It just seems so strange because a couple of years ago, I did not know what a butternut squash taste like.

Working in a grocery store helped me discover new foods after I immigrated to the US. I got an opportunity to try many different types of food. Looking back now, I realize that it was rare for me try a new vegetable. Eating new fruits is very easy. I was hesistant but I ate random slices of cheese.

Vegetables just never made it to the priority list of things I should try eating. This is sad because one of my favorite stories about learning to love new food involves eating a strip of raw red pepper. I know that good things happen when I give myself a chance to try new things. Sometimes, it is just hard to get through that initial first barrier. How do I cook it?

As I have become more intentional about eating more colors of foods and diversifying my taste experience, I have been become unabashed about asking questions. Plus, there is the magic of a smartphone and google. Yes, I am that girl in the aisle, using her phone to search recipe on how to cook or eat a fascinating item. This approach is how I suddenly found myself loving the squash family.

I can’t tell a lie. Butternut squash is one of the things that I like to have on hand at home. It is a quick meal waiting to happen. I tend to buy mine, unpeeled and unprocessed. This way I don’t have to worry about eating it immediately. Yes, it is a pain to peel on some days. However, once that’s done, I can get down to the cooking and the eating.

Lately, I have been on a roasted butternut squash medley binge. I think the whole fixation started after I roasted the first batch with a touch of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is magic with the sugar in the butternut squash. It just makes it so much more alive instead of just sweet. This vinegary goodness combined with the caramelized onions and the jammy pepper chunks, I could eat bowls of this roasted butternut squash medley all day. Maybe I do, already.

Close up picture of Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

Since I am always looking for more flavor, I look adding bits of topping to the roasted butternut squash medley when I serve it. A little of bit of reduced balsamic vinegar, or balsamico, adds another dimension. Adding nuts for some added crunch is also another trick I use to make this food experience one I keep reaching for regularly.

The recipe for this is quick prep-wise. Especially, if you buy the butternut squash already peeled and chopped at the store. The oven does most of the work for use. Let me know if you try out the recipe.

Uncooked tray Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

Roasted Butternut Squash Medley

Sinmi
Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest ways to eat more vegetable and a staple of a good food prep regime. This butternut squash medley features onions and pepper.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Butternut Squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 Onion (small) sliced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper cubed
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme or use 1 Tsp of dried thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • On a baking tray, add in the butternut squash, pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Toss gently to evenly distribute. 
  • Place in the oven and let it roast for about 20 minutes. Open the oven and move vegetables around in the tray. Return to oven.
  • Let it roast for an additional 5-10 minutes until it develops some color. Pull out of the oven and serve.
Keyword butternut squash, roasted pepper, roasted vegetable