Seriously Soupy: Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

It’s Seriously Soup day today, featuring one of my favorite bloggers, Serena, who authors a blog called Seriously Soupy.  Serena started Seriously Soupy as a creative outlet for herself after her first daughter was born, which combined her passion for cooking with an interest in learning more about soups and soup making.  Since it started, she has given soup tours and taught soup classes and has a catalog of over 100 soups on the site!  You can join Serena on her Soupy journey at SeriouslySoupy.com and twice a month you can find her here, at My Judy the Foodie, sharing her wisdom and helping demystify the world of soup.

Today was the first day the weatherperson actually used the term, “sweater weather.”  I couldn’t be happier.  Fall is almost here.  I asked Serena to share a soup that celebrates the fall harvest.  Here’s what she has to say:

One of the first soups I ever made on Seriously Soupy was a Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup. By far this is one of my favorite soups, and before I started the site, I would make it basically once a week as a great side for dinner and a vitamin-rich baby food. From there I decided to create the site, and learn even more about the vast and exciting world of soup making.

Although many soups have been since I begun the site in 2009, I always come back to making a classic butternut squash that personifies fall and the cooler temps, along with the silky and rich texture from the squash that I paired with carrots and subtle spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Soupy Tip: Make this soup vegan by simply taking out the cream, and adding a little less water for a richer and thicker texture.

Baked Parmesan Carrot Fries w/ Chilled Cilantro Dipping Sauce

A couple weeks ago I went to an amazing event where culinary artist Clare Crespo showcased many creative ways to have “fun” eating our veggies through edible vegetable art.  Remember, we made a cook veggie flag and a veggie wagon too?  Well, what happens when you’re just not in the mood to construct vegetable-based “sculptures?”  It’s very easy to take a basic veggie, tweak the way you’d normally prepare it, and serve it to your family in an entirely different light.  Take carrots for example.  We eat carrots all the time at dinner.  However, we usually only eat mini carrots, cold and raw.  I realized the way I’ve been displaying them on the dinner plate is not terribly appealing.  They’re usually thrown in as an afterthought when I remember we need a vegetable to round out our meal.  It literally looks like rabbit food on the side of the plate.  Then I had an idea, why not make Carrot Fries?  I’ve made Sweet Potato Fries and the kids loved them.

I’ve had good luck with carrot-based recipes.  Mom’s Carrot Pudding was a raging success over Thanksgiving, partly because of its sweetness— it could easily get passed off as dessert.  I found this easy recipe for Carrot Fries and was intrigued to make the cilantro dipping sauce too.  It seemed very light and similar to the Kale Dip as both contain Greek yogurt for its base.

I enlisted my kids to help peel eight large carrots.  I’m ashamed to admit this was the first time they’ve actually handled regular carrots.  It’s just so easy to buy the bite-sized version (and I find they’re also a healthy on-the-go snack).  My son began wielding the shaved carrots as swords as my daughter fashioned them as a microphone. As long as they were enjoying themselves.  Then, I put my new knife skills to task as I cut french fry slices out of each.  While the recipe calls for 1” slices, I made mine much longer and thinner (perhaps I was dreaming of McDonald’s fries in the process).

Knife skills put to work.   Carrot “Fries”

Toss your “fries” with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese and they’re ready for some oven time at a whopping 500 degrees.  If the smell from the parmesan cheese baking in the oven doesn’t whet your appetite, then the site and sounds of the bright orange fries sizzling once they’re removed will definitely rouse your taste buds.

Carrots with oil and parmesan.  Pre-bake.

Yum!  Baked Carrots (aka Carrot Fries)

The cilantro lime dip provides a cool, creamy dressing for the salted, cheese-dusted carrots.  I used my favorite non fat Greek yogurt, Chobani, for the dip’s base.  Add some cilantro, lime juice and garlic, blend it together and you’re all set.

Dip ingredients

I omitted the green chilli pepper from the recipe knowing my kids wouldn’t like the spice.  I also made two versions of the dip.  One was heated and one left chilled.  My kids loved the fries (especially the ones with more salt and cheese).  And, surprisingly, the dip was a big hit.  Everyone preferred the chilled version more.

I know if I had served the exact same recipe under the name Baked Carrot Sticks, it would not have received the same fanfare from my kids.  But, what do I care?  If the vision of greasy salty french fries lures them to try something (healthy) they might not otherwise, I’m in.  And, in my book I scored big— just another way to get veggies on the table and in their bellies.

Happy eating.

 

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