Southwestern spiced butternut squash and apple soup [Vegan]

This warm, comforting winter soup will make you think it's summer with it's bright, tangy flavor! Using the some of best of what winter has to offer -- butternut squash and apples stored from the fall harvest -- combined with delicious southwestern spices, this sweet and sour soup has a vibrant flavor that will wake you up out of the winter doldrums while still giving you that hot, comforting bowl of soup you've been craving.

Adapted from The Fresh & Green Table by Susie Middleton, a fantastic cookbook that has many easy yet delightful recipes for a healthy vegetarian kitchen, and which is one of my go-to cookbooks.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1.5 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
toasted pecans for garnish

TIP: Preheat the oven to 350º and place the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Cook for about 10 minutes. This will make it much easier to cut open, peel and dice the squash.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

1. In a bowl, combine the dry spices and set aside. In another bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar and soy sauce and set aside.

2. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir. Cover and cook until the onions soften and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the butternut squash, stir, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butternut squash is softened and lightly browned.

3. Add the spice mixture to the pot and stir well to coat the squash and onions. Add the vinegar and soy sauce mix and stir. Add the diced apple and 4 cups of water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool for about 10 minutes.

4. Puree the soup, either in batches in a blender, or in the soup pot with a wand blender. Stir in the lime zest and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

5. Serve hot with a sprinkle of chopped toasted pecans as garnish. Enjoy!

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Tags: Cooking | Recipes | The Cooking Project | Vegan | Vegetarian | Weekday Vegetarian