Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Pecans 

I was at a good friends house for lunch last week(we have the same first name, which never happens to me!) and she pulled out some leftovers and asked if I’d like to try her butternut squash soup; I’m always game for trying new things if there’s not meat involved, also, it’s been cold and i’ve been craving soup  but only have a few favorite recipes. So we warmed it up and then she had some candied pecans that she threw on top and, wow, that was such an amazing combination, I loved it! I asked her for the recipe and came home and recreated the soup, making only a couple minor substitutions: I used almond milk instead of half-and-half, I used vegetable broth instead of chicken bouillon and water, and I candied my pecans with pure maple syrup instead of sugar.

As a sidenote, I love candied pecans! This something that my husband‘s mother made often times in the winter for their family and so, early on in our marriage, I learned from her how to make it the way she did, by cooking them in the oven with maple syrup for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. I love that cooking method and I use that most often but if I’m in a time crunch and I want some candied pecans in five minutes, then I do it over the stove, and that’s what I did today. I just took a handful of pecans, tossed them on a pan over medium heat with some coconut oil and pure maple syrup and cooked them up, while stirring, until the pecans had absorbed the liquid and they had crystallized. But like I mentioned, you can also for sure cook them in the oven and you can make them before hand and keep them in an airtight container in your pantry for up to a week ahead of time. If you’d like an recipe for the oven baked candied pecans, click here. 

Now, onto the soup! You’ll need about 4 cups of cooked and cubed, butternut squash. I bought and used this 1 lb. package of already cut up squash to save time. Throw that into a rimmed baking sheet (lined with silicone or parchment for easier cleanup, if you like) along with your carrots and a little olive oil and salt and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, until tender.

In the meantime, coarsley chop and saute your onion in a medium stock pot(you’ll be adding all the soup back into this once it’s pureed) until it’s translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once your squash and carrots are tender, add them to a blender jar with half of your broth and the onions. Puree. Empty the blender into the stock pot (where you cooked your onions) and add in the almond milk and salt to taste, and stir together. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve warm, topped with candied pecans.

THE RECIPE:

Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Pecans

*Serves 4-6

1 1lb package butternut squash (about 4 cups, peeled and cubed)
2 c baby carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 large white or yellow onion, coarsley chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 c vegetable broth (or chicken broth, or 1 Tbsp vegetable/chicken bouillon in 4 c water)
1 c almond milk (or regular milk or half and half)
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Topping: candied pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone mat for quick clean up, add your carrots and squash and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. In the meantime,  in a medium sized stock pot, saute your onion with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, until translucent. Set aside.

Once your squash and carrots are tender, add them to a blender jar with half of your broth and the onions. Puree. Empty the blender into the stock pot (where you cooked your onions) and add in the almond milk and salt to taste, and stir together. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve warm, topped with candied pecans, that you’ve cut into smaller pieces.

You can candy pecans ahead of time up to a week in advance. You can find the oven baked recipe I like to use here. To candy pecans quickly, in about 5 minutes, follow these instructions:

5-minute candied pecans 
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 c pecans

Cook over stove on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the pecans have absorbed the liquid and they’ve crystallized.

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