Fall is the season for soups, but in our house we eat them year round. It’s cold here in Chicago almost 6 months out of the year, so nothing feels more comforting than a warm cup of soup. Here are three of my and Dessi’s favorite recipes for soups: butternut squash soup, lentil soup and quinoa lemon spinach soup. I have a few more fall soups like my roasted tomato basil soup, roasted pumpkin soup and creamy potato leek soup, so be sure to check them out!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash soup is one of my all time favorites. It has all those fall flavors like maple syrup, sage, and tons of veggies. The key to making this butternut squash soup next level is roasting the squash (see below how I do that). In the meantime, I saute a hole bunch of finely chopped onions, carrots and celery in a soup pot. Once the veggies have softened I add some chopped garlic, and a little splash of vinegar to cut through the richness. Then I add some chopped fresh sage and a little bit of maple syrup to reinforce those fall flavors.
Once the squash is roasted, I add it to the pot along with a quart and a half of chicken stock or veggie stock. If you don’t have stock you can use water, but the stock will add more flavor. Let the soup simmer for 35 minutes and then blend it with a stick blender to make it creamy. This roasted butternut squash soup gets even better the second and third day, so make sure to make big batch of it!
How to Roast Butternut Squash?
I first safely cut the butternut squash in two with a knife and a rolling pin (see how I do that in the video), peel it, scoop out the seeds and then chop it into large cubes. Then I add the chopped pieces to a sheet pan and season them with a couple of teaspoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Then I roast them in a 425 F degree oven for 25-30 minutes. You can turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get a nice toasty color on the squash.
Quinoa Lemon and Spinach Soup
Dessi recently came up with is delicious quinoa spinach soup recipe. It is similar to a Bulgarian spinach soup, but she replaced the traditional rice in it with quinoa. This soup only has 4 ingredients and cannot be easier to make. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add about 12 oz of spinach, pinch of salt, crack of pepper and a little bit of olive oil. Sometimes, I use both kale and spinach – it’s even more heartier and nutritious. Let it simmer for 2o minutes, and then add the quinoa. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes and then it’s time for the egg lemon sauce.
The egg lemon sauce is very traditional in Bulgaria, and is typically added to spinach, chicken or meatball soups. Typically, it’s made with eggs, yogurt and lemon, but for this recipes we are keeping it vegan and just doing eggs and lemon. Whisk 2 eggs with the juice of one lemon and then temper the mixture by slowly adding hot soup to it, until the eggs are completely tempered and then you can add it to the hot soup which has been take off the heat. This technique will prevent the eggs from scrambling. The egg lemon sauce will add some creaminess and acidity to the soup to round off the flavors.
How Long to Boil Quinoa?
I typically boil quinoa for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll know the quinoa is cooked when the seeds start to look plump and unravel. I boil quinoa almost every morning, then drain it and make my breakfast bowl with it.
Easy Lentil Soup
This lentil soup also comes from Dessi’s arsenal of recipes. This is how it is traditionally made in Bulgaria. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a cup of lentils. I used yellow lentils in this recipe, but you can use green or black lentils. To that add a roughly chopped carrot, a large potato and 5 cloves of garlic. I really like how the flavors of the lentils and garlic come together, and that’s why I avoid adding onions to the soup, as the onions will overpower the rest of the flavors. That’s the reason I avoid using it in the quinoa spinach soup as well. For some additional flavor I also add some sweet paprika and dried thyme. Then I season it with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil. I let that simmer for 25 minutes.
Once the lentils are fully cooked, I fish out the carrots, the potato and the garlic, add some broth to them and blend them with a stick blender. Then I add that back to the soup. This adds are nice creaminess to the soup without using flour or dairy.
Be sure to check out a few more delicious soup recipes: