Butternut Squash Pear Quinoa Soup With Blue Cheese

Butternet Squash Pear Quinoa Soup

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The completed Butternet Squash Pear Quinoa Soup with blue cheese.

Just last week, I picked up a great cook book: Quinoa Revolution: Over 150 Healthy, Great Tasting Recipes Under 500 Calories. It has some amazing recipes –  I would have never thought of using Quinoa in so many ways! From breakfast wake-ups to mushroom lasagna as well as numerous soups – oh my! There is a good handful of soups I want to try out. This is only my second soup I made with Quinoa to date.

Since it is squash season now, this soup definitely caught my attention having pears. Pears are one of my favorite fruits. And why can’t it be in a soup?! And blue cheese is soooo good on anything!

So What Are The Benefits of Quinoa?
Quinoa is a source of complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Read more on Quinoa here.

I also like the fact that Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Using Quinoa as a thickening agent in soups instead of wheat flour is a great gluten-free option!

The Verdict of Butternut Squash Pear Quinoa Soup with Blue Cheese?

I really love this soup. It was smooth and rich to my taste even though I omitted the cream/ milk in which the original recipe called for. The blue cheese should not be omitted though – it finishes the soup just right. I also think replacing dried sage with fresh sage gave it a fresher taste. This vegetable soup is packed with protein because of the Quinoa and seemed to have filled me up just right. Using the hand blender until the soup is a velvety delight is key. I also added in more vegetable stock and a very generous grind of pepper. The original recipe didn’t call for pepper –  I think pepper is a rockstar in most soup cases and should never be snubbed!

Butternut Squash Pear Quinoa Soup With Blue Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 5 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 6.5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups fresh pears, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped fine
  • 4 tablespoon blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Butternut Squash Pear Quinoa Soup With Blue Cheese Instructions:

  1.  Heat up olive oil in large pot on medium heat
  2. Add onions, garlic and salt. Cook until the onions and soft and opaque, approx 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, butternut squash and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer covered about 20 minutes.
  4. Add in the pear and fresh sage.
  5. Puree the soup with a hand blender or in batches with a food processor/blender.
  6. Return soup to the pot. Add pepper to your tasting.
  7. Garnish each bowl of soup with crumbled blue cheese and serve!

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil
  • added more onions, butternut squash
  • added more vegetable stock and omitted whole milk/whipping cream
  • used fresh sage instead of dried sage
  • used a tad more blue cheese

Soup Mistress Rating for Butternut Squash Pear Quinoa Soup With Blue Cheese:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5)
Taste: (4/5)

Butternut Squash Apple Soup – A Soup Recreation

Completed Butternut Squash Apple Soup

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The completed butternut squash apple soup with goat cheese, chives and roasted pumpkin seeds.

A few weeks ago I went to Liquid and Solids Cafe in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area and picked up their Squashed! Soup (read the soup review here).  I really liked their soup and wanted to recreate it at home. This recipe is my recreation of the soup and I think I did a great job with some minor modifications to the listed ingredients.

The verdict? This soup is really yummy…I will make it again at home in a heartbeat!

I have plans to redo many soups in the future and I will be:

  • cutting calories and trimming fat from some favorite recipes
  • adjusting so they are vegetarian, gluten-free as well as vegan – where I can
  • adjusting dried herbs for fresh herbs
  • adjusting processed foods for natural and/or organic – where I can
  • adjusting highly acidic forming recipes to be more alkaline forming (healthier for you)

This soup makeover is:

  • vegetarian
  • vegan (exclude the goat cheese from recipe or use a soy-based alternative)
  • gluten-free

Butternut Squash Apple Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 -1/2 cups white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 7 cups butternut squash, flesh out, cut into small pieces
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy pot over moderate. Add onions, garlic, celery and sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash and stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer at med-low for about 20 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. Add apples, apple juice and allspice. Simmer uncovered for about 7 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until very smooth, then return to pot.
  5. Return soup to pot, and gently heat through.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and chives. Serve immediately.

Original soup that I tried to recreate: http://soupmistress.com/2011/09/squashed-soup-at-liquid-and-solids-in-vancouver-a-review/ 

What I changed from original recipe:

  • replaced butter with olive oil and did not use any canola oil
  • did not use any cream
  • did not use any brown sugar
  • did not use any extra salt
  • used vegetable stock with low sodium
  • did not use water, used 1 cup of apple juice instead
  • did not use xanthan gum
  • added goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and chives for garnish
  • used allspice, original ingredients did not specify what spices were used

Soup Mistress Rating for Butternut Squash Apple Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Squashed! Soup at Liquid and Solids in Vancouver – A Soup Review

Squashed Soup Package

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Squashed! Soup from Liquid and Solids

A client of mine knew that I was a soup lover and today she recommended that I visit Liquid and Solids on Venables in Vancouver. She mentioned that they had a range of unique soups. So why not? It was great timing right before lunchtime.

Although the fresh daily soups posted on the board looked amazing, I decided to pick up a frozen packaged soup to bring back to my office for lunch instead. The one that I purchased sounded healthy and delicious. It was called Squashed!

Package description:
It is a pureed blend of butternut squash, granny smith apples and a little light cream. Our most popular soup ever.

The ingredients:
Butternut squash, water, vegetable broth, apple, onion, cream, butter, brown sugar, canola oil, salt, xanthan gum (natural).

What I like about Liquid and Solids Squashed! soup:
It was very tasty (can taste the butternut squash) and creamy smooth (not too thick nor to thin). I was a bit surprised though when I tried the soup cold (before I heated it) – I think I like it even better than hot. I would recommend it cold on a day like today. Yummy indeed. I highly recommend Squashed! soup.

What I would tweak:
If I was to make this soup at home, there are a few ingredients I would tweak in the recipe to satisfy my preferences as well as my lust for a slimmer soup. Also the sodium is a tad high for me at 600 mg (25% daily value). The soup can use some garnishes on top before serving to pretty it up. I may attempt to recreate this yummy recipe at home and I will share what I have done if I do.

For those who don’t like to cook or looking for some yummy soup in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area, just hop on over to Liquid and Solids at 1530 Venables Street to get your Squashed! soup.

What I really like about Liquid and Solids overall:
When I got home, I visited their website and was impressed with a few key factors of Liquid and Solids production approach for their soups. Some of them are:

  • They use all-natural ingredients. No preservatives.
  • All their products are made entirely from scratch, and their crew is involved in every step of production to ensure the integrity of each ingredient as well as the finished goods.
  • All recipes produced in controlled small batches to ensure quality control & product integrity.
  • All suppliers are located within 25 km of our manufacturing site.
  • All efforts are used to source locally grown produce when seasonally possible.
  • All beef, pork and fish ingredients are organic and/or free range.
  • They package in recyclable containers and 2.5 L plastic bladders to ensure foodsafe single use while minimizing the footprint of used containers and related refuse.

I’m thinking the next time I have another client meeting in the area, I will stop in and pick up their African Safari Soup (has peanut butter and cilantro in it) – it sounds totally delish!

Soup Mistress Rating for Squashed! Soup at Liquids and Solids in Vancouver:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5):
Taste: (4/5)