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Butternut squash soup -- seeking mix-ins

I've made some butternut squash soup and it's nice, but kind of boring. I'm thinking it would be fun to mix things into it. I'm working on croutons -- but what else? Toasted almond slices? Apple? I want to be creative but not too weird, and am going for kid appeal. Thanks.

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  1. I've made it hearty with slices of grilled Italian sausage and spinach/kale/chard.

    Toasted almonds or nuts of any sort does sound great: peanuts, walnut pieces, pecan, hazelnuts. Mmm.

    1. I make mine from a recipe from 101 Cookbooks blog. Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup - but I usually use all butternut squash. I garnish with pepitas and toasted coconut. Yum.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Leepa

        Seconding the toasted coconut. Yum.

      2. Hmm.... not sure how much kid appeal this may have as I suppose it depends on the kid to some degree?? At any rate, experiment and find out:

        - fry sage leaves in butter until crisp and garnish soup with the leaves and drizzle of sage-scented butter
        - crispy fried bacon bits (this one is surely kid approved, right??)
        - toast cumin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sliced almonds
        - croutons made from cinnamon raisin bread
        - cheddar and chive croutons
        - drizzle of oil infused with garam masala
        - crumbled feta and wilted spinach
        - dollop of plain yogurt, that you can then also enhance with other herbs and flavourings like mint, curry, lemon or orange zest, and so on

        As to your ideas of incorporating apple, I would just add apples (or apple sauce) directly into the body of the soup so it becomes an apple and butternut squash soup. You don't have to add a huge amount of apple -- just enough to give the soup an added depth of flavour. Then all of the suggestions of mix-ins would work just as well or even better (like the cheddar and chive croutons!).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Juniper

          I second the bacon. I also like seared scallops, or chunks of additional butternut squash, roasted until brown. In the flavorings department, when something tastes a little flat, I'll often add some sherry, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a little bit of homemade caramel, or some sriracha.

        2. Most kinds of nut butter go really well with butternut squash... I am a big fan of toasted hazelnuts with it, personally. Chestnuts would go well, or peanut butter if you want to go in a thai direction with cilantro & lime.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sweetbasil

            I've added a healthy dollop of crunchy almond butter.

          2. 1. Crumbled cooked chorizo & queso fresco, serve tortilla chips sprinkled with ground cumin, sea salt & chile powder on the side.

            2. Croutons made from sweetened cornbread, cubed & toasted

            3. Oven dried proscuitto or salami chips crumbled over the top

            4. Dried chopped apple, dates or pears & chopped smoked turkey or bacon

            1. When I make squash or sweet potato soup, I hit it with lime juice, maple syrup and hot sauce to taste before serving. WORLD of difference.

              Recently, I garnished w/ a dollop of greek yogurt and some chopped candied orange peel.

              1. I roast apple and add Calvados -apple brandy - yummy. Spiced with a bit of cinnamon and cumin. Really good.

                1. My two favorite butternut squash soups are a butternut squash and crab bisque, and a spicy butternut squash soup with corn, chouriço, and jasmine rice.

                  1. I like a mix of sweet potatoes with it. Bacon or something salty. And creme fraiche. With kids, it's fun to mix that w/ cream in a squeeze bottle and let them play w/ drizzles.

                    1. For kid appeal (and grownups like this, too) -- pass around a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal. They stay crunchy for quite awhile, and the flavors go nicely with the soup.

                      Other additions my family enjoys -- toasted pepitas, whipped cream or plain Greek yogurt topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

                      1. Blue cheese crumbles and balsamic.

                        1. for me, i use roasted butternut squash with caramelized chopped onions, sundried tomatoes, crispy thyme or sage, a little vanilla, lemon juice, and chopped toasted pumpkin seeds...

                          other ideas...
                          cubes of roasted acorn squash or pumpkin
                          a swirl of roasted ginger butter to finish
                          cooked minced celery and carrots

                          1. Not a "mix in" but I add a small dollop of Crème fraîche on top and drizzle the surface of the soup with hazelnut oil.

                            1. The first time I had it, the soup was garnished with dried apples and creme fraiche. I still think about it, and it was probably 5 years ago! Time to find a recipe ...

                              1. "Curry powder", coconut milk, white beans, diced ham.

                                1. Coconut milk, lots of fresh ginger, toasted mustard seeds and chili.

                                  1. America's Test Kitchen does a Curried B'nut Soup With Cilantro Yogurt that is my all time favorite b'nut soup ever. The Test Kitchen's goal was to get maximum squash flavor and they succeeded. This soup actually tastes like pure butternut squash, and not the typical orange colored cream soup with a faint squash flavor. As a result, I hesitate to add anything that's going to dilute the true squash-ness of it. However, their Cilantro Yogurt (or sour cream or creme fraiche - whatever I have on hand) is such an amazing counterpart to this soup that I do relent and serve it on the side, with maybe a small dollop or drizzle for a beautiful presentation.

                                    What tops it all off are the Cayenne Yam Chips & Sriracha-Maple Pecans that I got from a b'nut soup recipe on foodbuzz.com.

                                    So there's something for everyone; Purist loving b'nut soup with genuine squash flavor. Add the Cilantro Yogurt for a fresh hit of cilantro and that added dairy richness that will also balance the heat of the Cayenne Yam Chips and the spicy sweet Sriracha-Maple Pecans.

                                    Unadorned it's a delicious squash soup. Put it all together and it's a rockin' mouth party!

                                    1. I always make butternut squash soup with lots of fresh cracked pepper and a little thyme to keep it light.

                                      1. Not classy,but delicious: French's Fried Onions.

                                        1. Crispy fried shallots, chive oil, spicy pepitas, a swirl of cardamom-scented creme fraiche, pumpkinseed oil, crispy butternut squash chips, roasted crispy cumin-scented chickpeas.

                                          1. If you are in an area where fresh crab is available, toss it in there with some mild (or hot) curry powder and you have Jamaican Curry Crab Soup (or something like it).