Why It Works
- This hearty, filling soup comes together in less than 30 minutes.
- Quinoa adds substance and protein to the vegetable base.
- Browning the squash first then adding it back later adds more flavor and prevents it from getting too mushy.
During a viciously cold winter, a bowl of hot soup is the perfect remedy to keep you comfortable and sane. I had a version of this particular recipe on such a day at Juice Press; I wanted something light and vegetarian, but not less warming. After this soup revived me from the arctic air, it hit me that this would be a great quick dish to whip up at home or save for cold days.
A hearty and filling vegetable soup, it's packed with rich curry flavors; an earthy, nutty crunch from pepitas; and a touch of brightness from cilantro. Quinoa adds both substance and protein, and a variety of vegetables are there for layered flavor, sweetness, and general goodness. I'm a big fan of chunky rustic soups, since you can skip puréeing and wind up with a dish that has some bite to it.
You might look at the recipe and wonder why the squash is browned first and then added back in. There are two reasons: Getting some color on the squash adds more flavor, and if we left it in the pot during the entire cooking process, it would end up mushy. In this approach, it instead develops a softness with a gentle give, just beyond al dente. Since you'll probably have some kale left over, one of my favorite combinations—and a great pairing for this dish—is to massage the raw kale with avocado, season it with cumin, dress the salad with fresh lemon juice, and garnish it with toasted pepitas.
For a filling, warming, and delicious dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes and also makes for great leftovers, this recipe has become my new go-to winter soup.
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into rounds and quarters (about 3/4 cup)
1 orange or red bell pepper, deseeded and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
Pinch dried red chile flakes
3/4 cup quinoa, washed and rinsed
4 cups homemade vegetable stock or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups curly kale, leaves cut into 1-inch ribbons and thick stems removed
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add butternut squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil and heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, pepper, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add curry powder and chile flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add quinoa and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add broth and adjust heat to maintain an active boil and cook until quinoa is done, about 9 minutes. Stir in kale and squash, cook until kale has wilted and squash tender but not mushy, about 2 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, divide between serving bowls, and top with pepitas and cilantro.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 13g||17%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||10%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||33%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 116mg||578%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|