Roasted Squash Soup

Makes 4 servings or 4 cups

As easy as it is luscious, this creamy pottage created by my sister Leone Webster pleases every time. I like to mix squash varieties such as butternut with kabocha or delicata for rich flavor variations.

2 pounds sweet winter squash (butternut, kabocha, and/or delicata)

2 teaspoons olive oil blend (equal parts XVOO and Spectrum walnut oil)

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

1½ to 2 cups water or Kombu Shiitake Broth, start with less (recipe follows)

Seasonings: 3 tablespoons white or chickpea miso, 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or 1 teaspoon each cumin and nutmeg), and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Garnishes: Parsley sprigs, sunflower sprouts, cress (water, ancho, curly, etc.), microgreens, or toasted pumpkin seeds as in the photo

Kombu-Shiitake Broth:

Makes 3 cups

1 quart water

6-inch piece kombu seaweed

4 large shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced

1. Bake squash whole at 450° until tender when pierced with a knife, 60 to 75 minutes. Cut squash in half and when cool enough to handle, discard peel and seeds. Yields 2 cups.

2.To prepare Kombu-Shiitake Broth, bring ingredients to boil in a 2-quart pot. Slow-boil 15 minutes.

3.In a 3-quart pot, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic. Cover and allow to sweat until soft, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring two or three times. Add a couple of tablespoons of water or broth to prevent sticking, if desired.

4. Place squash in food processor to purée with water or broth, sautéed vegetables, miso and seasonings. Transfer to the same 3-quart pot to heat through and allow flavors to meld. Garnish to serve.

Variations:

Squash Soup with Red Pepper Swirl: Zuppa di Zucca: Drain an 8-ounce jar (1 cup) of roasted red peppers. Rinse, peel off black/roasted spots, look inside to discard an seeds, and purée peppers until smooth. Makes ½-2/3 cup. With a soupspoon, pour/swirl the bright red purée on top of individual servings of soup. Garnish with a bright green leaf of parsley. Stunning!

Spicy Roasted Squash Soup: Omit seasonings. Add to purée: 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey, 1-inch piece fresh ginger or about 1½ teaspoons peeled and grated small, 1½ teaspoons curry powder, ½ teaspoon each cumin, cinnamon, chili powder and sea salt, and 1 tablespoon white miso. Garnish soup with 2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries (fruit-sweetened) and 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, light toasted, and/or a sprig of parsley.

For 4 servings, per serving:
Calories: 186   Protein: 7gm   Saturated Fat: 0.4gm   Fiber: 6gm   Carbohydrates: 33gm   Fat: 3gm   Cholesterol: 0   Sodium: 339mg
Calories from Protein: 15%     Calories from Fats: 15%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 70%