By Leslie Kelly

This butternut squash soup isn't the quickest, but the investment of time pays off big time, especially if you have leftovers. The biggest time commitment comes from roasting the squash, but that step makes the final steps a snap. Here's how I came up with one of my go-to fall recipes.

This vegan soup will make your kitchen smell wonderful. Photo by Vanessa Greaves

A couple of years ago, when my daughter was in college, she asked for a few easy recipes to make for a birthday party she was throwing. I came up with Thai Curry for a crowd, and also included this butternut squash soup I'd been making a whole lot. It's not complicated, just saute onions and garlic, adding curry powder, the chopped squash and coconut milk. Cover with enough water to cover the mixture and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. You can finish it by hand, using a potato masher, or for a smoother texture, use a blender. Here's the full recipe. Also, tips that make it easier to conquer your fear of cutting up an unwieldy squash.

Because it makes enough to feed 4 to 6 people, it's a great way to start the week and then take leftovers to work. When I warmed it up in the office kitchen, I fielded some compliments about its warm, soothing scent. Many times, I've doubled the recipe and passed along extras, a practice I call "Random Acts of Dinner." I've surprised over-scheduled friends by dropping off a batch, and shared it with somebody's who's sick. It always gets raves.

Especially when curried almonds are sprinkled on top. Those are so quick and easy to make: Warm sliced almonds in a dry pan over medium high heat. Don't walk away because they toast quickly. When you start to see the almonds brown slightly, add about a teaspoon of curry powder and shake the pan to distribute. Finish by adding about a tablespoon of oil, and remove from the heat. These keep well in a airtight container in the fridge and are wonderful in salads, too.

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