I can’t believe this is my first post of 2016! What an exciting moment. I decided to try something a little different and ask my girlfriends for inspiration since all I really want to do is bake and bake and bake but they insisted that I make something healthy. I totally get it! It’s the beginning of a new year, new resolutions, weight loss goals (I’m working on my own weight loss as well…16 pounds down!) and healthy is where it’s at. Don’t worry, there will be tons of baking going on this year and I’ve got a list that is pages long of new dishes I want to try but for now, we’re sticking to healthy! And would you believe I made this soup with ingredients just sitting around my house?!?! Okay, so maybe the rest of you don’t have a bunch of kabocha squash taking up room on the counter (or maybe you do?) but I bought tons a few weeks ago and I’ve been slowly eating my way through them.
For those wondering about kabocha squash, it is an Asian variety of winter squash, also known as a Japanese Pumpkin. It has a naturally sweet and nutty flavor and it tastes incredible roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s addictive! I took this squash to the next level by first roasting it then turning it into a rich and silky soup perfect for the winter weather outside. The miso and soy sauce add natural saltiness while the ginger and garlic give it a punch that will wake up your senses when you are frozen to the core. So let’s start 2016 off right with a healthy and hearty soup and curl up under a warm blanket! I’ll share my blanket with you.
Kabocha squash is pretty easy to slice in to, especially compared to spaghetti squash. Just use a very sharp knife and it will cut right through the center. I could seriously eat kabocha squash all day with just olive oil, salt and pepper. So simple but so perfect.
This soup has so many layers, starting with the bits of beef stew meat browned in the pan to the ginger, garlic and miso all the way to the roasted squash, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. Each ingredient brings something to the table and turns this soup into an explosion of flavor. You can certainly leave the meat out of the soup if you want to make it vegetarian. I promise I won’t stop you.
Just look at that beautiful silky texture. The kabocha squash blends so smoothly into a thick and luscious soup and the coconut milk gives it so much creaminess that you would think there is tons of dairy running through it. Just get me a spoon!
For anyone on the Take Shape For Life Program (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about it because I’m a coach and it would be an honor to coach you!), here is the TSFL friendly version of the above recipe:
- 3 cups roasted kabocha squash (roast sliced squash at 400 degrees F. coated with cooking spray, salt and pepper)
- ¾ lb beef stew meat
- Coconut cooking spray
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp fresh minced ginger
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- 1.5 cups low sodium vegetable stock (with 1 carb or less per serving)
- 1/4 cup canned light coconut milk
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, optional (can replace with 1/2 tsp salt)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the kabocha squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each half into 3 large pieces and place them on the baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Scoop the flesh of the squash away from the skin and set aside for the soup.
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat then add the stew meat and cook on all sides until brown, around 3-4 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside to add back to the pot later.
- Coat the pot with coconut oil cooking spray then add the garlic, ginger and miso paste. Stir for 1 minute, scraping up the bits in the bottom of the pan.
- Add the roasted kabocha squash, vegetable stock, coconut milk, lime juice and soy sauce and stir together. Bring the mixture to a boil then add the browned meat back to the pot, lower the temperature to a simmer and cover the soup. Simmer for 1 hour.
- When the soup is ready and the meat is tender, remove the meat from the pot to shred into small piece and blend the remaining kabocha squash soup with a hand blender. Add the meat back to the pot then serve with a drizzle of coconut milk and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
- Per serving: 1 Lean, 3 Green, 2-3 Condiments