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What To Do with Leftover Decorative Mini-Squash (Squash Soup Recipe Included)

This Thanksgiving, since I was hosting my parents and my husband’s parents, I got fancy with the decor and used some mini-pumpkins and mini-squash. Many people use these small winter squash as decorations and then throw them away. But did you know you can eat them? This year I made mini squash soup!

What to do with leftover decorative mini-squash

I purchased four mini pumpkins (one of them went bad before I tried to cook them) and two delicata squash to decorate the buffet and dinner tables. I arranged some in a basket and others elsewhere on the table, with a few extra Granny Smith apples I had. With the addition of some fake fall leaves I picked up at the Dollar Tree, I thought it looked pretty nice.

Thanksgiving dinner table set and ready to go

Now, you could just throw them away when you’re done. But you don’t have to waste your money that way. You can cook and eat them just like any winter squash. I decided to use them to make a squash soup. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Roast the Squash

In order to make a squash puree, I needed to cook them. I decided to roast them.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a large baking dish by lining with aluminum foil and spaying the foil with non-stick spray.
  3. Cut open the squash and deseed.
  4. Cut into 1/4 slices and place in a large bowl.
  5. Toss with enough olive oil to coat all peices evenly.
  6. Arrange squash on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Toss and then bake another 10 minutes. They are done when a fork can be easily stuck into them.
sliced winter squash ready to bake

Arrange the olive-oil coated squash pieces on prepared baking sheet.

roasted winter squash

Let your roasted squash cool before prepping for puree.

Step 2: Puree the Squash

  1. Remove skins/rinds from the squash.
  2. Place squash in a food processor or blender (I used my NutriBullet). Add enough broth or stock (I used homemade turkey broth created from leftover Thanksgiving turkey bones).
  3. Blend until smooth.
squash and broth being pureed in a blender.

Place squash and broth in a blender to puree.

pureed squash with broth

The pureed squash with broth will be thick and creamy.

savory soup base

This puree method is for a savory soup base, not to be used for desserts.

Step 3: Make Squash Soup!

Mini Winter Squash Soup Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjarom
  • 1/4 tsp ground white or black pepper
  • Up to 3 cups your favorite broth
  • 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (as prepared above)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • Sour cream or greek yogurt for garnish

Mini Winter Squash Soup Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened and the onions are beginning to become transluscent.
  2. Stir in sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basic, ginger, marjarom and pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in broth. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pumpkin and yogurt.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until heated through.
  6. Optional: Transfer to a blender and blend until creamy. Return to saucepan and heat through.
  7. Serve in shallow soup bowls and garnish with sour cream or greek yogurt.

The Recipe in Action — with Commentary

You might call this Thanksgiving Leftover Soup — many of the ingredients were leftover from the holiday. Waste not, want not, right?

chopped herbs

I used fresh thyme and sage left over from Thanksgiving. I had some fresh frozen basil, ginger, parsley and rosemary, as well.

saute onions and garlic

I used one medium and one small onion, left over from Thanksgiving along with some fresh frozen crushed garlic.

add herbs

Once the onions began to become translucent, I tossed in the herbs.

add broth

Once fragrant, I added in turkey broth I made from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey bones.

add squash puree

Add the squash puree to the simmering soup base.

add yogurt

You can use sour cream, sour cream alternative, or regular yogurt. I used plain Greek yogurt I had left over from Thanksgiving.

heat through

Mix in the puree and yogurt while the soup heats up. You can serve this as is, or blend it like I did.

blend

If you like a creamier squash soup, transfer the warm soup to a blender and blend until desired consistency.

heat through

Return the blended squash soup to the pot and heat until desired temperature.

serve squash soup

Serve in large, shallow bowls. I didn’t garnish, but you can garnish it with sour cream, yogurt, or a small sprig of parsley.

Carma’s Commentary

I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve never eaten mini-pumpkins nor delicata squash before. The resulting squash soup was delicious! The dominant flavors were rosemary and thyme, and I could tell that the roasted squash helped balance those flavors. You can serve the soup without blending it. I chose to blend it because I like a creamy soup better.

You don’t have to roast the squash the way I did, but you do need to cook it until it is tender. You can bake it or even boil it. Each method comes with its own flavor profile. I chose to roast with olive oil for the extra flavor that both the extra virgin olive oil and the roasting process adds to the squash.

When you are pureeing squash, such as pumpkin, to add to a pie, bread, or other such recipes, do not add broth! Purees used in most of those types of recipes require a dryer puree. And you don’t want the savoriness of the broth to change the quality of your dessert. When not adding extra liquid, a food processor is a better choice. Or you can push the squash through a metal sieve. I did it this way because I knew I’d be adding broth to the soup anyway, so it didn’t matter if I added some a bit earlier in the preparation of the recipe.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is highly adaptable. If you are Vegan or Vegetarian, use a vegetable-based broth. If you don’t want dairy, use a nut milk for the soup and garnish with a sour cream substitute, such as plain Greek yogurt (I like The Greek Gods Greek Yogurt) or a homemade substitute such as Cashew Sour Cream or Coconut Milk Sour Cream. If you do eat meat, you can try adding some savory sausage or diced ham to the soup.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.