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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Sugar-Free)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

There's nothing like a warm, velvety bowl of butternut squash soup on a cold winter day to get you in the holiday (and fall/winter) spirit. This soup recipe has more than four different kinds of fruits and vegetables, is unbelievably creamy, and has a mild smoky flavor (and when I say mild, I mean very mild, courtesy of a little smoked paprika. I was surprised to find that the smoked paprika worked in this soup and it gave the soup just the right amount of extra spice). This soup is free from grains, so for those of you on the paleo diet this soup will work for you. Coconut milk and almond butter lend a nice richness to this soup, while a fragrant mix of savory and sweet spices give this butternut squash soup its classic flavor, with a little extra flair. This soup is vegan, paleo, and sugar-free, so there's no shame in downing this soup like it's your job during the holiday season (or, any time of year).



This is one of the few recipes on The Dimpled Date made without dates, but it does contain fruit (specifically, a Granny Smith apple). I wanted to add the maximum amount of fruits and veggies I could to this soup to boost its nutrition and hardiness, without doing so at the expense of the flavor. And the flavor is a delightful combination of spicy, sweet, and savory. So, yes, this soup has a little bit of something for everyone.


This soup is protein-rich, fiber-packed, and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Ditch the store-bought butternut squash soup loaded with salt, dairy, and additives and instead give this recipe a try (trust me, you WON'T regret it).



This soup is vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, yeast-free, and sugar-free. The spices are customizable, but I recommend trying the spices and amounts of them as written in the recipe the first time you make this soup.


For those of you who like a classic side dish with a little twist, this is it! If you have leftover pre-roasted butternut squash that needs to be used up and you don't know what to do with it, you could use it to make this soup! (which will also save you roasting time for the butternut squash).


How to Roast the Butternut Squash for This Recipe


This recipe calls for butternut squash that's already been roasted, so you'll have to do that ahead of time if you don't have butternut squash that's already been roasted. To roast butternut squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves of the butternut squash face up on a baking sheet and brush each half without about 1 Tbsp of olive oil (or oil of choice) total. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste on top of the butternut squash and place in the preheated oven (at 400 degrees F) to roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your butternut squash. The butternut squash is ready when the flesh (the edible bright orange inside part of the butternut squash) can be easily pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool and save for this soup recipe (refrigerate the butternut squash if roasting a day or more in advance).



Nutritional Profile of Butternut Squash Soup


Butternut squash- butternut squash is rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. These nutrients are good for your digestive tract, heart health, eye health, immune health, bone health, and fighting free radicals (disease-causing particles).


Olive oil- olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs, also called monounsaturated fats), vitamin E, and antioxidants. Olive oil is specifically good for heart health, brain health, and your skin and hair. Monounsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and lower blood pressure. Vitamin E nourishes and moisturizes your skin & hair, and antioxidants fight disease-causing particles in the body. (Tip: you can actually combine olive oil with other fresh vegan ingredients to make a DIY hair mask! Do some searching for DIY hair masks made with olive oil or make your own! FYI: only apply a hair mask that contains super moisturizing ingredients like olive oil to the ends of your hair, as that is typically the driest and most damaged part of your hair. And if you have a very oily scalp and your hair tends to get greasy, I would recommend looking for a less moisturizing hair mask recipe).


Vegan butter- vegan butter (typically consisting mainly of vegetable oils, like in Earth Balance) contains healthy fats and significantly less unhealthy fats than dairy butter. Healthy fats are good for cardiovascular health, nervous system health, and complexion.


Onion- onions are packed with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, antioxidants, sulfur compounds, and prebiotics (which help your body better utilize probiotics). These nutrients are good for digestion, the heart, blood pressure, balancing electrolytes, immune health, and fighting free radicals, and research suggests that some of these nutrients may prevent some kinds of cancers.


Carrot- carrots are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin A, biotin, antioxidants, lutein, and lycopene. Carrots are good for digestive health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, eye health, antioxidant support, skin & hair health, and fighting free radical damage.


Peas- peas are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. Peas benefit eye health, heart health, digestive health, and may protect against some types of cancer.


Celery- celery is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and water. These nutrients are beneficial for your GI tract, heart, hydration, and preventing various diseases. (Tip: you can make fresh celery juice in the morning with just fresh celery! Drinking fresh celery juice is a great form of detox, especially for those of you with Lyme disease. For best detox results, make the celery juice first thing in the morning before you eat anything (this will ensure the best absorption and detoxing). Also, as soon as your celery juice is done juicing drink it right away, as the beneficial properties in the juice will degenerate the longer it sits (even if it's in the fridge too!). Moreover, after you drink the juice, try to wait at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes before eating anything so your body can best absorb the nutrients from the juice and you can optimize your detoxing benefits. Take several fresh celery stalks (preferably organic) and rinse them well, chop them into pieces small enough to fit through a juicer feeder tube hole, and juice the celery in the juicer until you have the amount of juice you want. I thought I wouldn't like celery juice before first trying it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted so refreshing and good).



Apples- apples are filled with fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. Apples lower bad cholesterol, aid digestion, help prevent diabetes, aid weight loss, and may prevent certain types of cancer. (Tip: to make your morning fresh celery juice as described above, you could add one Granny Smith or honeycrisp apple (preferably organic), cored and chopped (with the skin on is best), to the juicer along with the celery for a very pleasant and sweet juice (plus fresh apple juice also has detoxifying properties!))


Fresh garlic- fresh garlic is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and sulfur compounds, including allicin. Garlic helps lower bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory properties, may have antimicrobial properties, and may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.


Paprika & smoked paprika- paprika is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and antioxidants. Paprika may benefit eye health, reduce inflammation, promote heart health, stabilize blood sugar, and it helps in the production of red blood cells. Smoked paprika, for the most part, has the same nutrition and health benefits as regular paprika.


Sea salt- sea salt helps balance electrolytes, nourishes the adrenal glands, and provides the body with a variety of micronutrients. Choose sea salt (calcium chloride) over table salt (sodium chloride) because table salt tends to be highly processed, and thus has less nutritional benefits than minimally refined sea salt. Himalayan pink sea salt is a good choice.


Black pepper- black pepper is a great source of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, may aid digestion, may protect against cancer & heart disease, and may improve memory in patients with degenerative brain diseases.


Cayenne pepper/red pepper flakes- cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes come from the same plant and both contain capsaicin (the active ingredient which makes these products spicy), fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Capsaicin may increase metabolism, aid weight loss, lower blood pressure, and protect against cancer.


Cinnamon- cinnamon contains antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds that are good for circulation, metabolism, may have anti-inflammatory properties, and may have antimicrobial properties.



Cloves- cloves are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds that may have anti-inflammatory properties, may have antimicrobial properties, may prevent cancer, and may promote a healthy liver.


Nutmeg- nutmeg is full of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds and has anti-inflammatory properties, may have antimicrobial properties, and may stabilize blood sugar levels.


Ginger- ginger is packed with antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds that are particularly good for digestive health, combat nausea, have anti-inflammatory properties, may have anti-fungal properties, and may prevent certain types of cancer. (Tip: peeled fresh ginger root is a great addition to smoothies, fresh juices, curries, and baked goods. You can even make fresh ginger tea by pouring boiling water over a 1" piece of peeled fresh ginger root!)


Oregano- oregano is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds that may have anti-inflammatory properties, may have antimicrobial properties, and may help prevent some types of cancer.


Rosemary- rosemary is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is good for digestion, eye health, and may protect against cancer.


Chives- chives contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and sulfur compounds that reduce inflammation, may prevent some types of cancer, and may benefit eye health.


Vegetable broth- vegetable broth can be made with a variety of vegetables, spices, and other ingredients. In general, vegetable broth (vegetable stock) benefits digestive health, may boost immune health, and may help prevent disease.


Full-fat coconut milk- full-fat coconut milk is rich in healthy plant-based saturated fats (which actually may have health benefits, unlike animal-based saturated fats), protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes. Coconut milk benefits heart health, is good for brain health, boosts skin & hair health, aids digestion, helps increase metabolism & may aid weight loss, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps with hydration, and may have anti-fungal properties.


Almond butter- almond butter is a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and iron. These nutrients are good for heart health, brain health, muscle health, digestive health, and red blood cell production. (Tip: opt for unsweetened and unsalted, one-ingredient almond butter. Unsalted, unsweetened creamy almond butter is delicious in its own right, so I recommend buying unsweetened and unsalted almond butter).



Substitutions


The butternut squash really can't be replaced in this recipe, seeing as it's a recipe for butternut squash soup. However, for a different type of soup perhaps you could substitute an equal amount of roasted pumpkin flesh (meaning the edible inside) or baked sweet potato flesh. The olive oil can be swapped out with any healthy oil like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, or even coconut oil. Or, you could use additional vegan butter in place of the olive oil. You could use any healthy oil (suggestions mentioned above) in place of the vegan butter or just use additional olive oil. The Granny Smith apple can be replaced with a honeycrisp apple or any other kind of apple, or it can be omitted (but I recommend using it because it adds contrasting sweetness and a nice autumn-y flavor). The celery stalk can be replaced with an additional carrot or may be omitted (but I recommend using it because it adds to the savory flavor). The carrot can be replaced with an additional stalk of celery or can be omitted (but I recommend using it because it adds subtle sweetness and hardiness).


The frozen peas can be replaced with fresh peas or may be omitted (but I recommend using them because they add extra flavor to the soup). You may use either a white or yellow onion in this recipe, or you could sub 1 Tbsp of onion powder, or to taste. Or, possibly you could substitute 1 1/4 cups of either scallions, leeks, or green onions OR 3 shallots. Another option is to leave out the onion, but I wholeheartedly recommend using it because it's important for the flavor of this soup. The garlic can be replaced with 3/8 tsp of garlic powder or garlic chives, to taste (for the garlic chives, use about 1 1/2 times the amount of the garlic cloves). The spices are customizable, so you can remove spices from the ingredients list, add spices, swap spices, change amounts, or just use the spices in the amounts as the recipe is written. I do recommend using the spices in the amounts listed the first time making this, though. Of course if you can't do a spice on the ingredients list on your diet, change the recipe. The vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free vegetable broth (stock) can be replaced with broth made from a single vegetable, broth made from a combination of unconventional vegetables, or homemade vegetable broth, as long as the broth is vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.


You can replace unsweetened full-fat (canned) coconut milk with thin (cartoned) unsweetened coconut milk or your choice of unsweetened plant milk (although the creamier, the better, so I suggest using the full-fat coconut milk, if possible). The almond butter can be swapped out with unsweetened cashew butter, unsweetened tahini, unsweetened sunflower seed butter, or your unsweetened nut/seed butter of choice (try to choose a mild and creamy nut/seed butter).



I'm finally back!! My semester just ended, so you'll be seeing more of my recipes soon enough.


I hope you all enjoy this recipe and, as always, feel free to like this post and/or leave a comment!


Thank you,

Happy Holidays &,

Enjoy!

-K.



Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar-Free)


Prep Time: 25 minutes (not including roasting the butternut squash, which should be done ahead of time)

Cook Time: 35 to 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: approximately 8 cups of soup


Ingredients:


-1 medium halved & roasted butternut squash (approx. 3 to 3 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash // see directions on how to roast a butternut squash above, in the "How to Roast the Butternut Squash for This Recipe" section of this post)

-1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)

-1/2 Tbsp vegan butter (like Earth Balance)

-1 small yellow or white onion (1 cup onion), diced

-3 cloves garlic, minced

-1 medium celery stalk, diced

-1 medium carrot (or 5 to 7 baby carrots), cut into rounds

-1/8 tsp red paprika

-1/8 tsp smoked paprika

-pinch oregano

-pinch rosemary

-pinch chives

-1/2 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

-pinch of red pepper flakes OR cayenne pepper

-pinch ground ginger (or 1/2 tsp grated/minced fresh ginger root)

-pinch ground cinnamon

-pinch ground cloves

-pinch ground nutmeg

-1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and diced

-1/4 cup of fresh or frozen green peas (optional)

-3 1/2 cups vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free vegetable broth (vegetable stock)

-3/4 cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, stirred

-1 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter (can sub unsweetened tahini, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter)


Directions:


1. Make sure you have roasted a butternut squash as described in this post, above.


2. In a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium low to medium heat, melt the olive oil and vegan butter together.


3. Add the diced onion, minced garlic, diced celery, carrot rounds, and spices (red paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, rosemary, chives, sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes/cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg) to the Dutch oven and sauté in the olive oil and melted vegan butter until the onion is translucent & softened and the carrot and celery are at least somewhat softened, about 10 minutes.


4. Scoop the pre-roasted butternut squash out of its skin and set aside.


5. Add the vegetable broth, scooped out butternut squash, diced apple, and peas to the Dutch oven. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and a fork can pierce the vegetables easily.


6. Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender (stick blender), blend the fruit and vegetables into the soup using a circular motion, until smooth and creamy. Alternatively, transfer the soup to a high-speed blender in batches and blend until all of the soup is smooth and uniform (**NOTE: if using the immersion blender, you may also need to transfer the soup to a high-speed blender in batches afterwards to ensure everything is blended enough and the consistency is adequately smooth and uniform).


7. Stir in the full-fat coconut milk and almond butter until incorporated.


8. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with extra coconut milk, a sprinkle of smoked paprika or chives, a sprinkle of nutmeg or black pepper, and/or a thinly sliced basil leaf, or your desired toppings. Serve with brown rice or roasted potatoes, pan-seared tofu or chickpeas, extra cooked veggies, or whatever you like! Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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