Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Pickled Fennel

butternut squash soup with wooden spoon

Light and flavorful vegan butternut squash soup is the perfect fall meal for a chilly day. The soup has a rich and complex flavor made from caramelized onions, cayenne, and Honeycrisp apples. There is a wonderful natural sweetness to the soup and it is finished with a hint is spice. This perfect balance of sweet and spicy keeps you coming back for me.

Soup is a great simple and easy meal to make for a weekday meal. This dish can also be elevated by adding a delicious and fun garnish. Try some quick pickled fennel to top the soup.

This is a flavorful soup that is packed with vegetables and nutrients. It is a great healthy meal to make with some homemade bread, roasted asparagus or Greek-style lemon potatoes.

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How to make Vegan Butternut Squash Soup:

Start by caramelizing onions with some olive oil. Once the onions get translucent add in whole garlic cloves. (Yes, whole is correct). Add butternut squash and spices and toss. Add the broth and chopped apple and let simmer until the butternut squash is cooked through. 

Turn the heat off and use a blender to puree the chunks until your desired consistency.

Garnish with Pickled Orange Fennel:

If you are looking to make this soup extra special, try this quick fennel pickle. Thinly slice the fennel from the outside in. The core of the fennel can be dense therefore slicing inward is easier. Use a peeler and zest the skin of an orange. Add the sliced fennel, black peppercorn, and orange peel to a heat-proof glass jar.

In a small sauce pan heat up equal parts water and vinegar. Once boiling add in sugar and salt and let dissolve. Turn off the heat and pour the quick pickling liquid it’s a glass jar filled with sliced fennel. Leave for minimum 30 minutes.

The pops of acid which come from the pickled fennel work really well against the sweet richness of the butternut squash soup.

butternut squash soup with pomegranate seeds and fennel on top and in bowls

Do I have to use Honeycrisp Apple in the Vegan Butternut Squash Soup?

You do not have to use Honeycrisp Apple and can use Granny Smith or Red Delicious.

Do I have to use white onion?

I would recommend using white onion because it has a sweeter flavor. You can use shallots although they are milder in flavor, adjust the amount of brown sugar if needed. I would not recommend red onion as it is not sweet enough and has a sharp flavor which will not compliment the other ingredients as well. 

Can I substitute red pepper for cayenne in the Vegan Butternut Squash Soup?

You can certainly substitute red pepper for cayenne, however, I would add the red pepper to the onions and allow the red pepper spice to flavor the oil. This will increase the heat from the red pepper which is already fighting against some sweet flavored ingredients (onion, brown sugar, butternut squash).

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butternut squash soup with wooden spoon

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

  • Author: hungrygirlinqueens
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Vegan
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup

Description

 Light and flavorful vegan butternut squash soup is the perfect fall meal for a chilly day.


Scale

Ingredients

SOUP:

  • 23 pounds of butternut squash
  • 4 cups of broth
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
  • salt to taste

PICKLED FENNEL:

  • one fennel bulb
  • 1/2 orange zest
  • 6 whole black pepercorns 
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

SOUP:

  1. In a large pot heat up oil and saute chopped onion until translucent. 
  2. Add garlic cloves, apple and butternut squash and continue to saute. 
  3. Add broth, cinnamon and brown sugar and let cook at medium heat until butternut squash is tender and cooked through.
  4. Use an emersion blender and puree the butternut squash until smooth. 
  5. Add cayenne and salt to taste.

PICKLED FENNEL:

  1. Chop and slice fennel into thin slices. 
  2. Zest orange peel. 
  3. Add sliced fennel, orange zest, and black peppercorns to a heat-proof glass jar.
  4. In a small saucepan heat up water, vinegar, sugar and salt until it comes to a boil. 
  5. Pour the hot vinegar mixture into the glass jar and leave covered for 30 minutes. 

Keywords: Vegan, butternut squash soup, quick pickled fennel

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