It’s that time of year….It starts with the lure of leftover Halloween candy and culminates in a champagne toast to 2013. We are in that celebratory period of October through New Year’s where culinary temptations and calories entice us at every turn. Cookies, desserts, rich meals, breads, candies…all topped off with egg nog and champagne! By making healthier choices and substitutions in your favorite recipes, you can still celebrate without consuming a day’s worth of calories and fat in one meal.
Instead of high calorie appetizers and first courses, start your favorite holiday meal with this comforting, healthy fall soup. Butternut Squash Soup has been an autumn favorite and is easy to prepare, can be made in advance, and freezes well. Butternut squash is versatile in both sweet and savory dishes and is low in calories, carbohydrates and high in vitamin A. If you are not up to the challenge of peeling a fresh squash, you can buy peeled and seeded fresh squash in most supermarkets. It can also be purchased frozen and cut into chunks.
This soup recipe is creamy, rich tasting, and low in fat and calories. With approximately 100 calories a serving and less than a gram of fat, you can easily have seconds! Instead of heavy cream, fat-free half and half is substituted and added to creamy, pureed squash and vegetables. The result is an elegant first course to enjoy for any holiday meal. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of fat-free sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, chives or a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
Holiday Butternut Squash Soup
10 minutes prep time; 35 minutes cooking time
1 cup chopped onion
6 cups fresh butternut squash chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 cup chopped carrots (peeled)
1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric (optional)
2 Tbsp. sherry or cognac
1/4 cup fat-free half and half
Fat-free sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, chives or balsamic glaze for garnish.
1. Chop onion, squash, carrots, apple into one-inch chunks. Place chopped ingredients in 4-quart pot or Dutch oven.
2. Add stock, ginger and turmeric. Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 35 minutes until all ingredients are tender.
3. Remove from heat and add sherry or cognac and fat-free half and half. With an immersion blender, blend until completely smooth. (Soup can also be pureed in a blender in small batches, or in a food processor. Be careful! Mixture is very hot!)
Serve immediately with desired garnish or refrigerate or freeze.