Ok here it goes…
Every fall all I want to do is sit in my bed with wine and freaking butternut squash soup. It’s my go-to when it’s cold AF out, and it’s incredibly easy to make.
Soup not your thing? I get it. Soups can be boring, and I used to have such an aversion for any type of squash so I feel you there too. I tried to kick this up a notch with some much appreciated addition of bacon and goat cheese. If you hate goat cheese I get that too, but you can always substitute for any kind of cow’s milk to get that melty-cheesy-goodness.
I’ve played around with this recipe a few times, but this has been my favorite so far. My Dad’s not a squash person and ended up eating the whole bowl (I had to bribe him with fresh bread on the side…). Even if you’re not a soup OR a butternut squash person, try this out. I think you’ll surprise yourself and it’s great when you’re feeling sick or don’t want to put in a lot of effort for dinner.
I can’t drive home how important the prep is when you’re cooking. Read the recipe. Seriously effing read it. The whole “winging it” thing won’t do. Lucky for you, Crockpot recipes are ALL prep, so you can rush through it or you can take your time with it.
What you’ll need
- A CROCKPOT. It can be a small 4 quart or a larger 8 quart–I’ve used both for this recipe.
- A blender or Immersion Blender (see link below if you don’t know what the hell this is)
- One carrot, diced and peeled (yes, just one dinky carrot)
- A white onion (if you’re feeling cheap and lazy you can definitely just buy the pre-chopped white onion).
- 1 medium Butternut squash, or 3 cups of Butternut Squash (you can also be cheap, lazy, and save yourself an hour by buying the pre-cut squash at the store. If not and you’re feeling fancy, get a medium sized squash around 3 pounds).
- 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped or minced (a must have in your kitchen at all times. They’re literally 50 cents, you can spare the change).
- One apple, cored and diced (I prefer the gala apples, aka red, but you can always do a granny smith apple if you’d like it to have more of a tart flavor, aka green).
- 2 cups of Vegetable stock (This might say Vegetable Broth instead. It doesn’t matter, it all tastes the same).
- One lil Chai teabag (I’d recommend stealing this from your office if you don’t drink this regularly).
- 1/2 can Coconut Milk, 15 oz (I go organic but save yourself the money and get the cheap stuff if you want).
- Goat Cheese (for garnish. You can also do feta or no cheese if you’re trying to do this vegan). I also buy the crumbled goat cheese so it’s easier, but you can buy the 4 oz log as well if you’d like.
- Green onion or chives (for garnish).
- Bacon (I just go to the meat counter and ask for 4 slices of bacon. Saves you money, mess and eating the extras….)
Total Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Cook Time: On the High setting 3-4 hours, on the Low setting 7-8 hours
- Before you do anything, prep all the veggies. Don’t even think about going to the next step until you do. Nothing has to be chopped in a pretty way, so just cut it how you can and get it all ready before dumping it in.
- Place everything up to the Chai tea bag in the Crockpot (carrot, apple, squash, garlic and vegetable stock). Mix everything around.
- Add Chai Tea Bag, and make sure it’s submerged in the juices. The string can just hang off the side.
- Set your Crockpot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. This is definitely a dish that you can leave while you’re at work, as it won’t overcook anything in the Crockpot while you’re away.
- Cook that bacon up (I like to do this over the stove so it’s more crispy. It never comes out as good when it’s oven baked), crumble up your goat cheese, and chop up those green onions (or chives).
- Once your veggies are nice and soggy and ready to go, you can either add these items to your blender or use an Immersion Blender. Personally the Immersion Blender has been a god send, but a blender works fine too. If you’re using a blender, very slowly add your veggies in (as it’s very hot) and try to do this in batches.
- If you’re using a blender: Use potholders to take the bowl of the crockpot out, as it’ll be hot. Slowly pour the crockpot items into a big bowl so you can work in batches–you’ll want your crockpot to be empty for the soupy-ness. You can either scoop the items or pour them into your blender, just be sure to not fill it to the top–about 2/3 up. Blend until smooth, and then add that mixture back into your crockpot. Continue until all of the chunky veggies have been made into that creamy smooth texture.
- Once all the mixture is back in the crockpot, add the 1/2 can of Coconut Milk in. I tend to end up using the whole can, so it’ll depend on how creamy you want it.
- This is where you can be extra basic and add all your favorite toppings. I’d also try to add a little cayenne for a kick or cinnamon on top…we’re going for those insta likes, right?? Gotta make it look good.
POST COOKING NOTES
Health benefits, calories, how to store it and what’s next?
How’d we do? I like to reflect and takes notes on the recipes I make–sometimes you may find that you wanted more bacon, or less coconut milk. Next time around I might add in 2 chai tea bags to enhance that spicy flavor. It’ll never get harder, you’ll just get better, so ask your friends what they think or what you’d do differently next time.
- Butternut Squash is a healthy little one. It provides more potassium in just one cup of cubed squash than a banana–wow! It can also reduce inflammation, clear up your skin, and prevents high blood pressure.
- There’s no shame in stocking up with squash, as it’s super low in calories. This whole recipe (without those little toppings), is 118 calories PER SERVING (see below for the breakdown of nutrition facts). This is also 5 WW points, if you’re following on that scale. Guilt free and SO. GOOD.
- Addition of bacon: roughly 70 calories. If you used 4 slices of bacon, each slice is 90 calories, so it’ll depend on how much you loaded this up.
- Addition of goat cheese: roughly 80 calories. I go nuts with goat cheese, so if you just sprinkled a little for flavor this will be closer to 30ish calories.
- You can store this in a seal-tight container for up to 4 days, and keep those lil toppings for your leftovers! You can also freeze for up to 3 months.
- I would definitely pair this dish with a fruit forward Zin to soak up all the flavors. If you’re not a red person, try with a chardonnay that’s more on the dry side. Beer is always encouraged as well with this meal!
Don’t be shy, let me know what you think! Happy cooking y’all.