How to be awesome at making butternut squash soup

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For many of us, Thanksgiving means staring longingly at a delicious spread, feverishly calculating calories and making promises to ourselves. "If I skip the stuffing and candied yams, I can have pumpkin pie." "I'll go for a run later." "I'll just fast tomorrow, and it'll all even out."

Yeah, right.

Rather than repeating the holiday binge-and-regret cycle, why not make a side dish that's not only delicious but also healthy? A sweet and creamy butternut squash soup is very low in calories and, with only two main ingredients, easy to prepare.

1 - Pick a squash

Butternut squashes come in a variety of sizes, usually weighing between two and five pounds. They're easy to find in any grocery store this time of year, and they're relatively inexpensive. For this recipe, choose a larger, beige-colored squash with smooth skin.

2 - Cutting, peeling and cubing

You'll quickly learn that, contrary to its name, squash is not squishy. So take care - cutting may be difficult.

Because of the squash's narrow top and bulbous bottom, you'll need to create flat surfaces for cutting stability. Using a large, sturdy knife, cut off both ends, then stand the squash up and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and membranes.

Place the halves face down and cut cross-sections one- to two-inches thick. Use a paring knife or serrated peeler to remove the rind from the smaller sections. If the pieces are difficult to peel, microwave them for about 30 seconds to help soften the skin. Cube the skinned cross-sections.

3 Bring to boil

Add your cubed pieces of squash to a stock pot with two cans of chicken or veggie broth. Bring the ingredients to a boil and simmer until the pieces are soft.

4 - Puree and season

Transfer the broth and squash pieces to a food processor or blender, and puree until creamy and smooth. You may need to do this in two or three batches. To flavor this simple soup, add salt and pepper, a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkling of brown sugar.