Spicy Squash Soup

Now that it is become colder, it is natural to want to swap salads out for stews and smoothies out for soups. Winter means warm comforting hearty food.

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In the past soup has had a bit of a bad rap from myself. A lot of people I speak to will have a ‘cup-a-soup’ for lunch and think that that is enough…IT IS NOT. A 100 calorie watery soup is not a substantial meal to sustain you for the rest of the day. But one of my major problems with soup is the lack of protein which they contain; so the majority of the time I don’t think that they deliver the best balanced nutritional profile. They are brilliant in terms of being able to pack a ton of vegetables and goodness in but unless you have a piece of chicken on the side, this meal will struggle to meet your protein requirements.

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However, I know I love soup, so rather than discount it, I had to find a way of improving its nutritional value. I think I have managed it with this Spicy Squash Soup. The secret ingredient is a tin of mixed beans, which when blended with the vegetables leads to a thicker consistency too.

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My Dad loved this one, and he is a tough critic to please! The smell which it made whilst simmering away one Sunday afternoon filled the house and everyones mouth was watering!

There is also the added benefit that it is suitable for vegetarians! I did use reduced salt chicken stock in the accompanying youtube video, but simply because I didn’t have any vegetable stock in the cupboards so swap this out if you want to.

I think this could become my ‘go-to’ winter soup recipe this year!

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Ingredients
1 tbsp quinoa
Half a red onion – diced
Half a leek – sliced
1 Carrot – diced
1 stick of celery – diced
250g Butternut Squash – peeled and cut into cubes
1tsp ready chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 litre stock
300g tin chopped tomatos
300g mixed beans (i used the ones in taco tomato sauce form Tesco)
Salt and Black Pepper
Fresh Basil

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How to?
1) Add quinoa to a large saucepan and dry fry until it starts to turn a golden colour.
2) Add the garlic, onion, leek, carrot, celery and squash to the pan and cook for about 8-10minutes, they should begin to soften.
3) At this point add the stock, bring it to the boil and then reduce the pan down to a simmer for 20minutes.

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4) Now it’s time to put the chopped tomatoes and beans in, as well as the chilli flakes and some black pepper. Simmer for a further 20minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
5) Take the soup off the heat and then using a stick blender, blend until desired consistency. I like to leave a few chunky pieces in rather than have it completely smooth!
6) Have a taste and if necessary add some salt and pepper to taste.
7) Before serving add a couple of sprigs of chopped basil.

I really do love this one, and it created dinner for 3 days for me. I left mine in the pan, covered on the hob and then just reheated some as needed. But you can transfer to tupperware and pop into the fridge for up to 3 days, or into the freezer to save for another day!

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Let me know what you think!

Love Abi xxx

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