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Eat Well Oct. 22. 2013

Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Oct. 22. 2013
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN


A creamy, thick, slightly sweet and very hearty soup for winter months.

This Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, hands down is one I have in constant supply my kitchen during fall and winter seasons. It’s incredibly creamy, thick, slightly sweet, very hearty and comforting in the cooler months of the year. I promise, even if you’re not a fan of butternut squash or maybe haven’t used it much in your cooking, this one is a hit in the kitchen! Creamy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is filled of roasted and naturally caramelized butternut squash, dates, seasonal organic apples, almond milk, warming spices, and a hint of citrus from orange to balance the sweet flavors.

I like taking advantage of this beautifully colored and delicious tasting vegetable along with one of my favorite root vegetables, carrots, when it’s in season. If you’re not familiar with what butternut squash looks like, it reminds me of a pale yellow football or pear-shaped gourd (see above). Butternut squashes have a thick skin compared to others like a yellow or zucchini squash where the skin can be eaten. After you peel the outer skin of the butternut squash, you reveal it’s golden yellow and slightly orange interior, which is the considered the edible flesh of the squash.

Butternut squash is wonderful when steamed, roasted, or cooked and pureed such as in this recipe. My favorite way to prepare this type of squash is roasting it and allowing some of the natural sugars to surface and caramelize in the oven- not to mention when the fragrance of roasting butternut squash with coconut oil and cinnamon fills the air, it’s divine.

Not only is butternut squash beautiful and vibrant, but it’s also has a thick and creamy flesh which is perfect for using in soups, dips, salads, and more. Butternut squash is one of many plant-based foods high in beta-carotene which is converted in the body to vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. Now that we’re entering in the fall and winter months (a.k.a. cold and flu season for many of us), we need to protect and arm our bodies with nutrient soldiers to fight off the flu, bacterias, and viruses as much as possible. This is where food is medicine, my friends, consuming nutrient-dense foods high in antioxidants that our bodies need for healthy immune function. Vitamin A, of course, helps with immune function, anti-cancer benefits, cardiovascular benefits, protects against inflammation and helps our vision and eyesight stay healthy.


Nutrient breakdown of BUTTERNUT SQUASH 

  • Vitamin A } 163% of your DRI in just 1 cup!
    • Carotenoids } beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • B Vitamins } niacin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin, B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Fiber

Fun Fact

Carotenoids such as the ones found in butternut squash, carrots, and tomatoes are increased in bioavailability when cooked or eaten with healthy fats in our diet. This butternut squash soup is perfect for increasing the bioavailability of the carotenoids with the cooking process and added good fats such as coconut oil.

Apples // Make sure you’re using organic apples, these are on the “dirty dozen” list for fruits/vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticide residue.

What do you enjoy dipping into your soups? Share below!

With gratitude,

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 6-8



5 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (after roasting)

4 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 cups filtered water

1 large organic apple, about 1 cup (I used Fuji)

1/2 cup organic carrot, chopped

1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves

2 large dates, pitted

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

juice of 1 orange


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with coconut oil (by spreading or dolloping on the bottom).

Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the butternut squash while whole until the thick skin has been removed and you’re left with the bright orange flesh.

After peeling, cut squash long ways (creating 2 halves).

Scoop the seeds from the wide end of the butternut squash, using a spoon.

Cut remaining butternut squash pieces into 1-2 inch cubes.

Spread the cubed and peeled butternut squash cubes onto the lined and greased baking sheet.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and a dash of cinnamon.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft (you can bake longer to create a more caramelized end product, upwards to 45 minutes).

In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant.

Add roasted butternut squash, sauteed onions and garlic and all remaining ingredients in a Vitamix, high-speed blender, emersion blender, food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Keep chilled until serving.

Serve warm/hot and garnish with Classic Cashew Cheese or crunchy walnut, pumpkin seeds.


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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Whit

    This soup looks amazing but I’m a little confused about the coconut oil. I have always read that it shouldn’t be used at temperatures above 350 degrees, especially the unrefined types, because it will smoke. Is that true? What kind of coconut oil do you use for this recipe?

    • Coconut oil is the only coconut oil I choose to cook with and it has a higher smoke point than (for example) olive oil which is largely used. Olive oil should be used for dressings or tossed in a dish with heat. I recommend only using organic coconut oil, most are cold pressed! 🙂

  • Sourdough bread is my absolute favorite to dip into sips. I think it would go perfectly with this soup.

  • Cathy R

    Looks divine! Our local market makes fantastic organic breads. When I find their day-old cornbread on sale, I’ll buy several pieces and make large croutons to use in soups. They would be wonderful in this soup!

  • This soup looks amazing! I’m thinking this might be a great Thanksgiving recipe!

  • Emily

    Hey McKel,
    I see that the recipe calls for coconut oil and was hopeful that you could share with us what brand of coconut oil(s) you use, refined or unrefined, and cooking temp maximum.
    I accidentally bought unrefined at the store, instead of my usual refined and was curious about the difference so I started to do some research.
    I learned that unrefined has more nutrients, but refined is better for higher temperatures.
    Also, I started reading about the extraction process, cold pressed, expelled pressed or centrifuged. Raw vs. virgin, etc etc

    I also got sidetracked and started reading about olive oil. I learned that when you heat olive oil to its smoke point, the beneficial compounds in oil start to degrade, and potentially health-harming compounds form. Is this true for coconut oil too? Is this hurting my body internally in the long run?

    Please tell us your thoughts on coconut oil and olive oil and which one you prefer. I’m sorry for the long post, but I really think we could all benefit from knowing your opinion on this stuff.
    All the labels and brands and can be so confusing to navigate when all I’m trying to do is live a healthier lifestyle and finding small discrepancies like this to be difficult to understand and to make an educated purchase.

    Overall, I’m looking for a good coconut oil that I can sauté with, and bake with at higher temps and put in smoothies when I feel like it.

    Please HELP! thank you so much. I have really enjoyed your blog and plan on making this soup this weekend. 🙂

    • Hi Emily, great questions. Olive oil should be used as a dressing only or with very light heat because the oils quickly burn and go “rancid”. I choose to cook with coconut oil because it has a more stable oil than olive oil. With coconut oil I always use virgin/unrefined/cold-pressed sometimes these are used interchangeably. Another oil that is great for cooking with is grapeseed oil. Another option, just bake at 350 for a longer amount of time. Hope that helps!

      • Emily

        thank yo so much McKel! I know you are probably one busy gal, so it really means a lot that you take the time to really connect with your readers. have a good night!

  • Jess Latour

    Hi McKel!
    Question: I have some other health issues that prevent me from being tolerant to almonds and almond milk (because of it’s high arginine amounts). Can I substitute rice milk or maybe coconut milk for the almond milk?

    • Hi Jess, great question! Of course, feel free to use any other milk- hemp seed milk, oat milk, rice milk, or coconut milk would be perfect 🙂

  • cj

    Squash is not a root veg. Carrots and turnips, on the other hand, are. Just FYI

    • Thanks for the catch- I was actually referencing the carrots used as the root vegetable. 😉

  • I might be going nuts, but I have read the recipe several times (preparing to make it tomorrow) and although it calls for one cup of apple, the recipe doesn’t say say when to add it, or whether to cook it first. Does it get baked with the squash or sauteed with the onions? Or does it go in raw with the “remaining ingredients?”

    • Hi Maren,
      Good question, “remaining ingredients” means all ingredients remaining that haven’t been used. Hope you love it!

  • Ashley

    I tried this recipe and added half a can of coconut milk. Decadent yes, but I highly recommend it….

  • Emily C

    Butternut Squash is my favorite soup, and now I have made this recipe, I can safely say its now my favorite version… and my friends agree as well. Thank You!

  • Hallo,
    I am confused a bit: when you said ” add the rest of ingredients ” you didn’t say weather we have to bring liquids ( filtered water and almond milk ) to boil point ? Do you simmer it ?
    Do you add orange juice at the end ?
    Please help….
    My Best,

    • Hi Mira, This recipe is meant to be super simple! As the instructions say simply blend everything together after baking (the squash will still be warm) and heat it as needed before serving. Enjoy!

  • Kaylee

    This recipe looks and sounds delicious! Do you happen to have the nutritional information for it?

    • Hi Kaylee! So glad you enjoyed it xx mh

      • Kaylee

        Do you know the nutritional information for this soup by any chance?

  • Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe! It tastes divine 🙂

  • Melissa

    I made this soup for dinner last night! It was delicious and super easy to make. The only problem I ran into was that my 7-cup food processor was too small, so I had to transfer most of the mixture to a large saucepan and mix in the rest of the almond milk and water that way.

    One question, mine came out much thinner than your photos show, and I only added one cup of water to avoid making it too thin. Do you think it’s because there wasn’t enough squash? I used an entire butternut squash that was relatively big.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Melissa, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! great questions about the soup- it could’ve been that you could use a little extra squash to thicken or use less water, normally my soup comes out very thick and I have to add extra water! Next time, use that kitchen intuition and adjust it 😉

  • Tory

    Hi McKel!

    This is my FAVORITE soup. I am a college student, and it’s easy enough to make in my apartment, and it produces enough leftovers for the whole week! It’s so delicious and makes for a great fall dish. The only sub I made was to add some unsweetened organic applesauce instead of the dates. Still delicious!

    Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Hi Tory, thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoy it- I know when I was in college I made soups and big pot meals all the time for leftovers. I actually just launched my Student Wellness Package, a coaching program just for students! Check it out in the services page 😉

  • kristin

    Could you use coconut milk instead of almond milk? I have never tried either, but did just buy coconut milk to test out…

  • Laura

    This recipe is terrific! Do you know if it freezes well?

  • Nathalie

    It´s such a great delicious soup. My five-year old girl loves it ! By the way, we would like to have a dog and I was wondering whether you could give us the name of Zoey´s breed. She is so cute ! Thanks a lot.

  • Nicole Stephan

    Any suggestions to substitute the almond milk. Have you tried coconut milk? If so, how much. We can’t do almond or dairy in this family. looks good!

  • Heather

    Where does the apple come in? Am I missing something?

    • Hi Heather- Yes it comes in during the blending, in “add all remaining ingredients”. Hope you enjoy!

      • Cindy Welsh

        This recipe looks and sounds delicious! I am going to make it tomorrow. Do you actually add the coconut oil in to the soup or are you just using it to grease the pan before roasting the squash?

  • Sally

    This soup is absolutely delicious!! Adding the apple and carrot and using cinnamon makes it sooooo good. I served it as a main course and three of us ate about 3/4 of it. The recipe is also easy to prepare IF you use already cut-up organic butternut squash. If you use a Vitamax Pro Series 500, be sure to prepare the soup in at least two batches.

    • McKel Hill

      So happy you enjoyed it Sally! Yes, isn’t it so simple to make- my favorite is adding chickpeas to it for added protein 🙂

  • Charli

    This was very good! I substituted 2 cups of water with vegetable stock, so there was 1 cup of water and 2 cups of vegetable stock that I used. I also roasted the apples with the butternut squash. It tasted very rich and fine restaurant quality! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • McKel Hill

      You’re welcome, I’m so happy you enjoyed it Charli!

  • Darlene

    Hi! My husband wil not eat any soup with almond milk or any other dairy or non dairy product that looks like milk. Could you please Help me substitute the almond milk with something else. The recipe sounds amazing.

    Thanks, Darlene

    • McKel Hill

      Try coconut milk! When it’s blended together you can’t tell “milk” is even in there 😉

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