Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup + Maple Roasted Chickpeas

Is it November already? Sure enough, this month rolled in with snow. On a positive note, a chilly evening is the perfect time to make a batch of soup! Soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s also great for freezing in smaller portions for later and can be both healthy and delicious. I’ve made plenty of butternut squash soup before but wanted to try a new recipe! This recipe for butternut squash soup topped with maple roasted chickpeas can be found by visiting: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/slow-cooker-butternut-squash-soup-with-maple-roasted-chickpeas/. Two Peas and Their Pod is a wonderful website to find a wide variety of healthy, yummy and simple recipes. Perhaps best of all, this recipe is designed for a slow cooker, which gives you the ability to throw in your ingredients and forget about it while a lovely smell fills your kitchen. I made a few changes to the recipe based on personal preference and what I had in my kitchen, but for the most part I followed it quite closely!

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To make butternut squash soup, you’ll need…

  •  1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 medium green apple
  • 14 oz. low or no-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper
  • A pinch of chilli flakes (I always like to add a bit of heat!)

Peel and chop the butternut squash, onion, carrots and apple. Keep in mind that the size of pieces will have an effect on cooking time! The butternut squash will take the longest to cook through – I would recommend cutting it into 1 x 1 inch pieces. Next, simply combine all the chopped fruit and veggies in your slow cooker and pour 14 oz. of vegetable stock overtop. Leave everything to cook for 5-6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high. The temperature of your slow cooker will vary depending on the brand, but I found that everything cooked through after 3 hours on high. Give your slow cooker a stir about every hour or so!

Next, use an immersion blender or transfer everything to a blender. If you choose to transfer your ingredients, here is a word of caution: Let your veggies and broth cool down a bit before blending! Otherwise, you may have an explosion on your hands. Once blended into a smooth puree, transfer your soup back to the slow cooker and stir in 2 tbsp. of maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Of course, if you used an immersion blender your soup will already be in the slow cooker. Let the soup simmer on low for about 20 minutes and serve immediately.

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 To make maple roasted chickpeas, you’ll need…

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (I prefer it to canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

While your fruit and veggies are cooking, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Open a can of chickpeas, rinse them thoroughly and peel off the shells with your fingers or a paper towel. Next, combine 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp. of maple syrup, 1 tbsp. of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. salt. Pour this mixture over your chickpeas (in a bowl) and give them a toss until they are evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes or so. The original recipe I followed called for 40-45 minutes, but mine turned out a little on the burnt side! Top your soup with these for a crouton-like crunch.

 

The verdict

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I was so pleased with how this recipe turned out! The soup is delicious, simple to make and created very minimal mess. Aside from chopping the vegetables, blending them and adding a few spices, this soup took hardly any work at all to make. I ran a few errands, went to pilates and did some cleaning while it cooked and simmered. It was so nice to come home and have a hot bowl of soup to curl up with. It would be interesting to see what this soup turns out like using different spices instead. Essentially, the fruit, veggies and broth simply create a base for the soup. A more savoury flavour profile (rather than sweet) would probably work out just as well. As for the maple roasted croutons, as mentioned, I baked them just a few minutes too long! But, I managed to pick out the good ones and they added a nice crunchy texture to the smooth soup. In fact, I’d probably eat these croutons just as a snack.

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