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!
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.
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.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare a large baking dish by lining with aluminum foil and spaying the foil with non-stick spray.
- Cut open the squash and deseed.
- Cut into 1/4 slices and place in a large bowl.
- Toss with enough olive oil to coat all peices evenly.
- Arrange squash on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Toss and then bake another 10 minutes. They are done when a fork can be easily stuck into them.
Step 2: Puree the Squash
- Remove skins/rinds from the squash.
- 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).
- Blend until smooth.
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
- 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.
- Stir in sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basic, ginger, marjarom and pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Stir in broth. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the pumpkin and yogurt.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring, until heated through.
- Optional: Transfer to a blender and blend until creamy. Return to saucepan and heat through.
- 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 left over from the holiday. Waste not, want not, right?
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 Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream 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.