Butternut Squash Soup w/ Crunchy Chickpea Croutons (Vegetarian)

With winter FINALLY coming to an end, I wanted to make one last recipe using squash. What better than a warm and vibrant Butternut Squash Soup.? As usual, I did a mish mosh of two recipes from Whole Foods and Minimalist Baker. I chose crunchy chickpeas to add some crunch to an otherwise creamy soup; these chickpea croutons are not only crunchy but add a little extra fiber and protein to this otherwise light meal. Pair it with a side salad or a piece of toast and this soup is the perfect lunch!

Soups in general are a great vehicle for vegetables and can be a really healthy option! What can send soups over top is the addition of lots of butter and heavy cream. Take Panera’s Broccoli and Cheddar Soup. Delicious, but fairly high in fat because of the cream and cheese that makes the base of this soup. What I like about this butternut squash soup is that it’s a lot lighter and allows the vegetables in this puree to really shine (literally, the color is bright orange). Soups like this are great to have in your back pocket when you want something light and refreshing.

Something unique to this Whole Foods recipe is it’s adaptability; the recipe offers different variations of the basic butternut squash soup, including a Thai version that sounds delicious! I took the more traditional route with just thyme and some other vegetables but added a little bit of butter to round out the flavor of the soup. I drizzled the bowls with a little olive oil at the end but you could just as easily add some heavy cream too for some richness. I’ve linked both original recipes for quick printing, just note that I did make a few changes that you can see below!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Chickpea Croutons

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (2-2.5 lbs.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock, unsalted
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Olive oil or heavy cream for serving

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and dried with paper towel
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp seasonings of choice (I chose garlic powder and cumin)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Drain chickpeas and pat dry by rolling in paper towel. Add oil and mix.
  3. Bake for a 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and dry/crispy to the touch.
  4. Remove from oven and toss with garlic powder and seasonings while still warm. Let cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes – they will get crispier as they cool.
  5. To store, place in a Tupperware container or jar and crack the lid every so slightly so they can “breathe” a bit. I found that this helped them stay crispy longer. These are best in the first day, but they will last for 4-5 days at room temperature.
  6. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F
  7. Cut butternut squash lengthwise and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with a little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper
  8. Bake until squash is tender (flipping halfway through); this typically takes 40 minutes
  9. When squash is tender, pull from the oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes until it’s no longer too hot to hold and scoop out.
  10. When cool, scoop out squash (removing seeds and discarding them in the trash). Set this aside until you are ready to make the soup.
  11. In a large pot or Instant Pot, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  12. Add squash, thyme, pepper and chicken stock (you can also use vegetable stock). Cover pot and either cook for 40 minutes on the stove top until carrots and celery are tender. If using Instant Pot, cover and cook on Manual, High Pressure for 20 minutes. Allow to come down to regular pressure naturally instead of venting manually.
  13. When vegetables are cooked, use either a blender, immersion blender or food processor to puree soup (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your appliance).
    • TIP – When blending the soup, cover the top of your appliance with a towel to prevent steam or hot liquid from splattering
  14. Add pureed soup back to pot and finish off with 1-2 Tablespoons of butter. This helps round out the soup’s flavor.
  15. Serve with chickpea croutons, a drizzle of olive oil or heavy cream and bread for dipping.