At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must tell you (for the millionth time), how much I adore soup.
Especially now that I’m a nursing mom with little to no time on my hands to cook involved meals. Especially now that I find myself FAMISHED throughout the day with no time to whip something up. Especially now that the temperatures are bone-chilling cold. Especially now that it’s almost Christmas and the hubbub of the season has worn me out already (and yet, I never want it to end!).
All of those things lead to soup. Soup all the time. I still am working my way through the freezer batches I made while pregnant (THANK GOD for those), but every now and then, I crave the PROCESS of making soup. I find it soothing and comforting. All the rhythmic chopping of the veggies, simmering of the broth, and general coziness wafting through the house makes soup one of my most favorite things to make AND eat.
This particular soup came to me when I discovered a stockpile of butternut squash in my pantry. I had forgotten about them. Thank goodness they have a long shelf life. I would never forgive myself if I wasted a butternut. They are the best.
Combine that with all the kale in my fridge that I so wasn’t eating in salads as I had planned (womp womp), and the fact that I was CRAVING something soothing and brothy…this soup came together completely organically and ended up tasting fantastic. It reminded me a lot of this kale minestrone, but with the awesome addition of sweet roasted squash. Winner winner roasted squash dinner.
Bonus: this soup is packed to the brim with superfood health and goodness. Double bonus: it doesn’t taste boring.
Healthy soups like this are my answer to the salad conundrum. I LOVE salads but I hate making them. It’s pure laziness. I feel better about myself when I cram loads of veggies into some low-sodium broth and add in some protein (beans, chicken, etc)…it’s all the benefits of salad but in a warm package. Plus, having a pot of soup in the fridge at all times helps keep my sanity when my almost 3-month-old (where is the time going?!?) decides that he needs me every second of the day all day long (growth spurts can be a bitch, just sayin’), and it’s almost noon before I have a chance to make myself something to eat. Reheating a bowl of healthy soup like this not only makes me feel good, but it saves me from the granola bar/yogurt combo that I’ve come to rely so heavily on lately. It’s a REAL MEAL. That alone makes such a difference for me and my general attitude about the day. Like, if I can eat a bowl of something warm and delicious, I count the day as an accomplished one. Never mind the fact that the laundry, vacuuming, or showering didn’t occur yet. I ROCKED this day because I fed myself that didn’t involve something out of a box or takeout container. I am winning at this whole mother thing…at least on days when I have soup.
Soup makes it all better, man.
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 acorn squash, seeded and sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 cup dry white wine (optional)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (2-inch) parmesan cheese rind (or ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese)
1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
The roasted squash
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Spread the cubed squash out in an even layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and give everything a toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and caramelized in parts. Set aside.
While the squash is roasting, heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Sweat the veggies until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried herbs and cook for another minute.
Add in the wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the parmesan cheese rind, tomatoes, and kale and cover the pot. Cook for 10-15 minutes (or until the kale is tender).
Stir in the chicken breasts and roasted squash, stirring gently. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and then serve with additional parmesan cheese grated on top and crusty baguette on the side!