Have you ever fallen in love with smells and flavors? I can’t seem to get enough of this combination. It is the essence of autumn. This mix of spices has taken hold of my imagination and I’m running with it. You’ll find the same spices used in my post “Chicken with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric”. As I said before, I didn’t invent it and can’t take credit. It first came to my attention in a recipe for roast carrots in the New York Times. Martha Rose Shulman used the same spices in a recipe for “Roasted Carrots With Turmeric and Cumin” (and she based hers on one by Suzanne Goin in the “The A.O.C. Cookbook”). That Cookbook is definitely on my holiday wish list!
This soup has that same winning spice combination; plus it’s the signature color of October and Halloween, bright orange. I used a combination of Red Kuri (a Japanese variety, tear drop shaped, in the picture below on the far right) and banana squash. You could use butternut or almost any other variety now available at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.
This is the perfect warming soup to serve in pretty mugs while you greet the little ghosts and goblins at the door on Halloween. Our doorbell rings constantly and it’s difficult to find time to eat a regular meal.
Turmeric is a very powerful medicinal spice and is frequently used in traditional Chinese and Indian cooking. It gives food that lovely mustard yellow color. It has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The presence of black pepper is said to enhance the absorption of curcumin (active ingredient in turmeric) by 2000%. Make sure you add it at the end.
This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and delicious!
Roast Squash Soup with Cumin, Cardamom, and Turmeric
- winter squash, seeded, cut into wedges, enough to make 4 cups, cooked
- 4 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil – divided
- Handful of thyme branches or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, depending on how spicey you want it
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 can of coconut milk, I used low fat
- 2 cups of coconut water or vegetable stock, plus additional to thin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chopped cilantro, pumpkin and pomegranate seeds as a garnish
First roast the squash:
- Preheat the oven to 425 F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the squash
- Brush the squash with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted if required), top with the thyme leaves or branches, and about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- Roast for 1 hour until soft and browned in places
- Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh into a 1 qt. measuring cup or bowl. You should have about 4 cups of cooked squash.
While the squash is cooking, prepare the spices:
- Toast the cumin and cardamom seeds in a small dry skillet over med-high heat, keep tossing and watch carefully so they don’t burn
- When they start to brown and fill the kitchen with the most amazing aroma, remove them from the heat to a small plate
- Once cool, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
- Mix with the turmeric and chili flakes
Prepare the soup:
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat
- Sauté the onion until soft, about 10 minutes, don’t let it brown
- Add the spice mixture to the skillet or pan and stir until combined and aromatic, about 30 seconds
- Add the squash to the pan, sauté for a minute
- Add the coconut milk and water
- Bring to a simmer
- Either blend with an emersion blender or cool slightly and use a regular blender. Be careful to vent the top and fill it no more than half full so you don’t burn yourself
- If the soup is too thick, add more coconut water or regular water. The amount you need will be somewhat dependent on the type of squash, I used another 1 1/2 cups.
- Return the soup to the pot (if you used a blender) and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Taste for salt (it might need quite a bit) and add some freshly ground pepper
- Serve garnished with chopped cilantro, toasted pumpkin and pomegranate seeds
I’m taking this soup to Fiesta Friday, hosted by Angie at The Novice Gardener, and Friday Favorites, hosted by Jennie at The Diary of a Real Housewife. Take a peak at the wonderful Autumn recipes on these two websites.
Note: There are garlic cloves in the pan with the squash. I decided not to use them in the soup so have not mentioned them. You won’t miss them and I think they would distract from the other flavors.