We’re in the final countdown to Thanksgiving festivities and I have yet to provide you with an entrée option. Not to worry! Acorn squash to the rescue.
PLUS, I have an exciting announcement! This is the first recipe in a week-long series I’m calling Thanksgiving Week Extravaganza, wherein I post a recipe every day leading up to my Thanksgiving Round-Up on November 23!
That’s right: EIGHT recipes that will cover your mains, sides, appetizers, and of course, dessert. Let’s start with this show-stopper of a main, shall we?
Last year when pondering a plant-based Thanksgiving entrée my mind immediately went to: What would I actually make and eat on Thanksgiving? And my Sweet Potato Chickpea Thanksgiving Wrap was the answer.
This year, I was craving something a little more festive, a little more colorful, and a little more comforting.
So I made the easiest, creamy fall soup (ever) and served it in roasted acorn squash “bowls.” The result is a creamy, decadent, nutrient-rich soup that will “wow” guests and leave you feeling all warm and cozy inside.
Not only is this soup healthy and delicious, but it’s also easy to make, requiring just 10 basic ingredients you likely have on hand right now, and just 1 1/2 hours to prepare (including roasting acorn squash).
The base is a mixture of onion, garlic and your vegetables of choice! I went with a mixture of carrots and butternut squash, but pretty much any winter squash or hearty root vegetable will do here (think pumpkin and beets).
Next comes the fun part. Will you add lentils? Mung beans? Sage? Bay leaf? Or go with a curry adaption? You decide.
To keep things simple I added a little fresh sage and a bay leaf to infuse plenty of classic fall soup flavor. And for a bit of protein and fiber I added red lentils because they cook quickly (in the soup!) and absorb flavors well.
While the soup is coming together roast your squash bowls until golden brown, tender and sweet. However, if squash bowls seem a little too over the top for you, you can totally skip this part and the recipe would become a 1-pot, 45-minute wonder. How cool is that?
I hope you all love this soup. It’s:
Fiber- & protein-rich
Full of flavor
I think this would make the perfect alternative Thanksgiving entrée or even a side. You could pair this with my Vegan Thanksgiving Wrap, White Bean Kale Salad with Tahini Dresing or Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas, and a little Sangria for a classy, festive meal.
If you try this soup, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
- 2 acorn squash*, halved (optional for use as bowls)
- 1 Tbsp (15 g) melted coconut oil (or avocado or grape seed oil)
- 2 Tbsp (30 g) maple syrup or coconut sugar, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 g) coconut oil (or avocado or grape seed oil)
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced (~55 g)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups (~520 g) cubed sweet potato, carrots, or butternut squash (or a mixture of all three)
- 1 quart (4 cups or 926 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 tsp fresh or dried sage, fresh or dried thyme, or 2 bay leaves
- optional: 1 cup (192 g) red lentils (for protein / fiber)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- optional: 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 g) maple syrup or coconut sugar (depending on sweetness of your carrots/potato/squash)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and use a sharp knife to carefully halve acorn squash lengthwise. Do so by inserting the tip of the knife in between two ridges and pressing all the way through, then pushing/rocking the knife to slice through one half. Repeat on the other side.
- Scoop out seeds with a spoon or ice cream scoop and drizzle with oil and maple syrup - rub with hands to distribute. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet or 9x13 inch baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake for 30-40 minutes more, or until squash is fork tender and golden brown on the edges (baking time will vary based on size). Set aside.
- In the meantime, start soup. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes or until onion is softened, then add sweet potato, squash and/or carrots (I used butternut squash and carrots).
- Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until vegetables appear slightly softened.
- Add vegetable broth and herb of choice (I used sage and bay leaf) and bring mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat. If adding lentils, add at this time.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until lentils and vegetables are tender. Then use an immersion blender or transfer to the blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Return to pot if blended in blender.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding salt and pepper for flavor balance, herbs for earthiness, or a little maple syrup or coconut sugar for sweetness (I didn't find it needed it).
- Once acorn squash are baked, divide soup between the squash and garnish with topping(s) of choice - I went for sautéed kale* and red onion, but baked chickpeas, pomegranate, or cornbread (+ cornbread croutons) would work well here.
*To sauté kale, simply heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil of choice (coconut and sesame work well here) and kale. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until just soft and slightly wilted. Serve over soup.
*Acorn squash method from Pioneer Woman.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for one, 1 1/2 cup serving of soup in 1/2 an acorn squash bowl without added maple syrup or any garnishes.