Ginger, Bourbon Honeynut Squash Soup (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

The honey nut squash, a sweeter and much cuter sibling to butternut squash, is the star of this soup. Paired with ginger and a splash of bourbon, it warm, cozy, and a perfectly comforting soup for fall or winter.

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I picked up a few honeynut squash at the farmer’s market a couple of week’s ago purely because I thought they were adorable. Have you ever bought produce because you think it’s cute? No, just me? Ok, moving on.

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What is Honeynut Squash?

I had seen the honeynut squash a few times in past years and had never bothered to buy it, but I’m glad I finally did. Honeynut squash, as it turns out, is a fairly new breed of squash and can mostly be found at farmer’s markets in the Northeast, though it’s become more widely available elsewhere. It’s has a slightly “nutty” flavor, and is much sweeter and offers a richer flavor than the larger butternut squash, but the flavor is otherwise quite similar. It’s packed with beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) and offers b-vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, and calcium, along with other phytonutrients (plant nutrients that offer health benefits).

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They sat on my counter for a good 2 weeks before I did anything with them. I thought about roasting them or putting them into one of many different grain dishes for a fall-themed bowl (I’m sure that would have been delicious too), but mostly I admired them for the perfect fall feeling they gave my kitchen counter. What can I say? I’m a sucker for seasonal produce. But one chilly day, soup was calling my name.

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I roasted them whole for 2 reasons: Roasting the squash naturally caramelizes it without any added sugar, bringing out the sweetness while adding more flavor to the soup and second and when you roast it whole you don’t have to peel them, saving a lot of frustration. The ginger and onion balance out that sweetness with a bit of a bite. And the bourbon? Well, it adds a depth of flavor that just elevates this soup to an entirely new level. You really don’t need much or anything fancy, so don’t bother with the really good stuff here (I used Kirkland brand from Costco) — save the good stuff for cocktails. If you don’t have bourbon on hand, you can leave it out, but it’s probably worth getting a small bottle because you’re going to want to make this soup all winter long. Also, if you can’t find the honey nut squash, you can use 2 medium or 1 large butternut squash.

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Beyond the incredible flavor and nutrition in this soup, there are a few things I love:

  • It couldn’t be easier to make, especially because you don’t actually have to peel the squash!

  • This soup has so much flavor but only requires 10 ingredients (including olive oil, salt, and pepper!).

  • It makes great leftovers and freezes well.

  • It’s vegan and gluten-free, so it suits a lot of dietary needs and is great for crowds.

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Ginger, Bourbon Honeynut Squash Soup

The honey nut squash, a sweeter and much cuter sibling to butternut squash, is the star of this soup. Paired with ginger and a splash of bourbon, it warm, cozy, and a perfectly comforting soup for fall or winter.

Makes: 4-6 servings as entree, 6-8 as appetizer

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 4 honeynut squash (or 2 medium butternut squash)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, finely diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 tps salt
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut off stems of squash and slice in half. Remove seeds (you can save for roasting if you'd like). Brush squash with olive oil (you'll use about 2 tsp of the oil for this). Place on baking sheet flesh side down and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes, until very soft. Remove from oven to let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in large soup pot or dutch oven. Saute onion over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Turn down heat to low, add garlic and ginger and sautee until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Scoop out the flesh from the squash (it should easily come away from the skin with a spoon) and add to pan. If squash is still too hot to handle, turn heat off and wait until you can add it. When you've added the squash, turn heat back to medium and mix it with the onion, stirring around for about a minute.
  4. Add broth amnd bourbon and stir until mixed. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until squash and onion are well blended with the broth and you have a smooth soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer to a stand blender in batches and blend until smooth then return to pot. Once blended, cover soup, bring to a boil and then turn down heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to let flavors meld. Stir in coconut milk and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve with warm crusty bread and a salad.