It's hard to ignore the piles of pumpkins and squash at the farm stands. I have to admit, it's not a vegetable I grew up eating so I don't find myself cooking with it much. That was until the other day when I found a soup recipe in one of our newest cookbooks, Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin. It features a variety of clean, simple and delicious recipes. Since the seasons are so pronounced on the East coast, I'm really beginning to understand the concept of eating in season and embracing all the diverse fruits and vegetables there are to enjoy from week to week. So we'll be tucking into this batch of Winter Squash Soup over the weekend and adding it to our growing list of favorite fall dishes.
Since I don't eat meat or dairy, I've always been drawn to cookbooks that feature interesting vegetable recipes. When I came across Whole Food Cooking Everyday, I connected with Amy Chaplin's approach to food. She encourages seeking out local and organic produce and stocking up your pantry with nutrient dense whole food ingredients. Her book features a series of base recipes, plus the techniques needed to adapt and customize them depending on the occasion, the season and what you're craving. By mastering a handful of recipes, I can have them in my back pocket for days when I don't have time to think about what I'm going to eat.
This cooler weather has me craving warm soups and stews, so on a recent farm stand haul, I picked up a few pumpkins that I thought would work well in Chaplin's Winter Squash Soup recipe. I'm not very familiar with cooking pumpkin, but this recipe is straightforward with lots of room to modify the flavor to your taste. It includes a handful of ingredients, which you likely have on hand, and you can use any squash variety – like butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata.
After chopping up the onion, garlic and pumpkin, the rest comes together fairly quickly. I added a bit more garlic than the recipe calls for, lots of pepper, and some chili flakes for an extra kick. This soup is very flexible when it comes to herbs and spices, so use whatever you like and have on hand. Fresh herbs from the garden, like thyme or rosemary would be a delicious alternative.
Before serving, I sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds on top for a nice crunch. This added some great depth and texture to a classic, silky soup. Like many of the recipes in Chaplin's book, this soup is flavorful and nourishing without being complicated or using too many ingredients. It also makes enough to serve six, so between Jeffrey and me, it's the perfect amount for dinner and leftovers.
I just got this book and I've already made one other soup and a chia pudding, so I think it's safe to say Whole Food Cooking Everyday will be on heavy rotation as we head into the holiday season.