This soup has a wonderful depth of flavour and a lovely texture while being 100% vegan and gluten-free. A topping of pumpkin seeds with Asian flavours of toasted sesame seed oil and dark soy sauce adds a little twist. Super simple to prepare with only a baking sheet and a blender needed as equipment - what's not to love? We recommend using an immersion (stick) blender for minimum washing up later. If you don't use an immersion blender, any other type of blender works fine too.
1 butternut squash, halved and cored, skin left on
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 stalk of celery, roughly cut into 1-2 cm pieces
6-8 cloves of garlic, skin on
1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle
salt and pepper to taste
generous pinch of ground allspice berry
water to bring to the desired consistency
100gr pumpkin seeds, shelled
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs toasted sesame seed oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lightly brush with olive oil. Place both halves of the butternut squash on the baking paper, cut side down. Place half of the unpeeled garlic cloves in the cavity of one butternut squash half an the rest in the cavity of the other half. Fill the rest of the baking tray with the chopped onion, celery and carrots and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil all over. Place the tray in the oven for 30-40 minutes until your vegetables have all softened and are slightly charred around the edges. Take the tray out of the oven and pierce the butternut and carrots with a sharp knife to see whether they are fully cooked through. If not, let them bake for an additional 10 minutes. Once done, take the tray out and allow to cool.
While your tray is cooling, prepare the topping for your soup. Place the pumpkin seeds in a pan and heat over a low heat for about 1 minute. Once the pan is hot add 2 tbs of dark soy sauce and 1 tbs of sesame oil and stir for another 2-3 minutes until soy sauce has mostly evaporated. Take care not to burn your pumpkin seeds. When the seeds are slightly crunchy remove from pan onto a plate, lined with a paper kitchen towel. Spread seeds out on the paper towel and allow for any excess oil and moisture to absorb. Once seeds are dry, place in an airproof container. Use about a tablespoon of seeds as topping for each bowl of soup. You will have flavoured pumpkin seeds left over. We always make more of this topping and we recommend using it on mashed avocado on a slice of bakery bread, on fresh salads, dips etc.
When the tray with the veggies has cooled, take the skin off the butternut squash, gently squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and place the cooked flesh of the butternut and garlic in a medium size saucepan together with the other cooked veggies. Add the olive oil as well as a half cup of water and puree the vegetables with your immersion blender until they form a smooth soup. Adjust the consistency of your soup with more water if you would like. Add the salt, pepper and ground allspice. Put the saucepan with the soup on a burner and gently allow to heat through, stirring every now and then.
Serve in bowls, topped with your flavoured pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.