A Comforting & Healthy Roasted Acorn Squash Soup Recipe
January has come once again, marking the end of the holiday season. The chocolates and Christmas cookies have all been eaten, and for many runners, the turn of a new year means the start of training for spring goal races. For me, my spring race will be my first Boston marathon. As I start out my training cycle, I know I need to tighten up my nutrition a bit after the rich, celebratory, comforting foods that occurred from Thanksgiving through New Years.
The only problem with trying to improve my nutrition is that it is still cold out! My body is still craving the comfort foods. So, I created this Roasted Acorn Squash Soup recipe to treat myself during the winter months, yet still give my body what it needs for marathon training. It’s extremely simple, and if you use homemade chicken stock it will be awesome fuel for your body.
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
2 large acorn squashes
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt + more to taste
3 tsp black pepper
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup sage, chopped
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squashes in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Use 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to rub over the flesh of the acorn squash until lightly coated. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper (or less if your squashes are smaller) over the flesh of the squash. Bake, skin side up for 40 minutes.
- Flip acorn squash so that the flesh & hole where the seeds were are now facing up. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the flesh. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Once you flip the acorn squash and return it to the oven to continue baking, start cooking the pancetta over medium heat in a large stockpot. Saute the pancetta until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is nice and crispy, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pancetta to a plate using a slotted spoon (leave the fat of the pancetta in the pan).
- Add the diced carrots to the pot and saute for 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the onion to the pot and saute for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic to the pot and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Once acorn squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh of the acorn squash into the soup.
- Using a Vitamix or an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is completely creamy, then return the pot of blended soup to the heat and bring to a simmer.
- Add the ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp salt, and the remaining 2 tsp black pepper. Taste the soup at this time for seasoning- my acorn squashes were quite sweet, and I ended up needing more salt at this point.
- Simmer soup for another 5 minutes then add the chopped sage.
- Serve by topping the soup with the crispy pancetta.
Homemade chicken stock adds so much to this recipe – the work is already done for you in terms of bringing out the flavor. If you do not have homemade chicken stock, I would recommend simmering the soup for 20-30 minutes or more before serving to develop the flavors.
I serve mine with cute mini grilled cheese sandwiches: I simply take a baguette, slice it, butter the outside and put fresh mozzarella between the bread. I bake these in the oven but you could easily cook them on a stove like a regular grilled cheese.