This cold frosty weather of late has had me long for some warm toasty bread dipped into a bowl of steaming hot soup…like rich comforting butternut squash soup. Over the summer, a friend presented me with two beautiful blemish free butternut squashes from her backyard garden. It was the first time I had tasted such fresh produce and found the inner cooked flesh delightfully sweeter than store-bought produce. Jump to Recipe
Next came the challenge of deciding how to use this special gift in cooking. Given the rainy thunderstorm weather at the time, I had a sudden craving for a heart-warming “sit on the sofa cuddled in a blanket” sipping kind of soup, that was still filling and nutrient-dense. Well, after a few tries in the kitchen, this protein-rich, plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and nut-free Creamy Vegan High Protein Butternut Soup was created!
Enjoy this soup with crusty bread, a salad, sandwich, quesadilla or as an appetizer to a dinner meal. You can also turn this soup into lunch or dinner by adding in some cooked pasta or a gluten-free alternative. This soup is fast to make if you plan ahead a little or use some canned ingredients like canned green lentils. Providing a total of 12 grams of protein per 1 cup [8 ounce] serving size, this comforting nutrient dense soup comes packed with protein. This is a great meal prep recipe as you can make a larger batch of soup at one time and portion it into smaller containers to enjoy individually or as a family during the week. This soup can also be frozen and enjoyed during the long cold winter season!
A creamy, protein-rich and filling plant-based, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free butternut squash soup that will be enjoyed by all in the family.
- 1 cup canned green lentils (drained and rinsed)[153 g] (or cooked green lentils, drained of cooking liquid)
- 2 ½ cups cooked butternut squash cubes [375 g]
- ½ tablespoon canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ½ cup diced onions [55 g]
- 3 large garlic cloves chopped
- 8 ounces firm or extra firm tofu [225 g] (approximately 1/2 a block)
- 2 cups fortified original flavored soy milk [480 mL] (or other fortified plant-based milk)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt (add more if desired)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1. Wash the outside of the butternut squash well. For faster cooking, I steamed the butternut squash, because while the butternut squash is steaming, I can be preparing and cooking the other recipe ingredients. To steam, cut the squash in half, then place it into a hot steaming pot for 15-20 minutes or until a knife pierces the squash flesh easily. Then remove the cooked squash from the steamer pot and let it cool for about 5 minutes. When the butternut squash has cooled sufficiently, cut away the outer skin (a fruit peeler works well here) and chop up the amount needed into cubes. (If you would like to roast the butternut squash instead, see recipe notes below.) Don’t have a steamer pot? Read here for other simple steamer options and how to make your own steamer.
If using canned lentils, drain and rinse them well before measuring out the amount to use. (If you would like to use dry green lentils in this recipe instead, read here for guidance on how to do so.) Use a fine mesh strainer to drain the cooked or canned lentils of excess liquid.
While the butternut squash is steaming, save time by prepping the garlic, onion and tofu. Press the excess fluid out of the half block of tofu by wrapping it in 3 pieces of paper towel, then setting it between two heavy plates. Press this amount of tofu for about 10 - 15 minutes, changing the paper towels to dry ones at least every 5 minutes (or once they are wet through). After this time, cut up the tofu into one inch cubes. Chop the garlic and dice the onions.
Heat the half tablespoon of oil in a pot set on a medium heat setting. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic and diced onion pieces and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the onion pieces are soft and translucent.
Next add in the cooked butternut squash cubes and the cup of cooked or canned drained green lentils. Stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Now add in the chopped tofu cubes, salt and ground black pepper. Mix to combine and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Place the pot contents in a food processor or blender. Add 2 cups of a fortified plant-based milk and pulse until a smooth puree is formed, stopping often to scrap down the sides of the food processor or blender bowl. (If you prefer a chunkier soup consistency, pulse less.)
Return the smooth puree mixture back into the pot and add in the remaining seasonings such as the thyme and oregano. Heat until simmering. Add in more fortified plant-based milk if you would like a thinner consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Ready to serve!
You can use raw butternut squash cubes in this recipe but plan ahead to allow more time in the cooking process.
For a sweeter tasting soup, add less salt and omit the ground black pepper. The more you cut up the butternut squash before steaming it, the faster the steam cooking process. Also, the longer you steam the butternut squash, the softer it will get, and the easier it will be to puree it for the recipe.
If you would like a more flavorful butternut squash flavor, you may roast it instead of steaming it. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, then rub some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper on the cut halves. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash halves are cooked through. Since this method takes longer, plan ahead accordingly.
Note that if canned lentils are used, you could possibly use less salt in this recipe. In this case, add a small amount of salt first, then taste the finished soup blend and adjust the amount of salt added at the end according to your preference.
For an oil-free recipe, substitute the half tablespoon of oil with about a ¼ cup (60 mL) of vegetable broth to sauté the diced onions and garlic over a medium heat setting until most of the vegetable broth has been cooked away.