Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with Gingered Apple "Croutons"

After slaving over my Thanksgiving meal for hours, making an unbelievable amount of turkey, meat, and side dishes, the dish I got the most compliments on was this soup! Go figure! I mean, it was definitely delicious but the fact that it outshone my fresh cranberry braised Osso bucco was quite a feat!
A bisque is really just a thick, creamy soup that is traditionally seafood based but in this case is made with butternut squash, apples, and onions that are roasted to bring out their sweetness and develop their flavor and then combined with lots of fresh ginger, stock, and warm spices and finished off with coconut cream to make the soup especially creamy, velvety, and delicious. For textural contrast and to highlight the apple in the soup while also keeping this soup gluten free and Paleo (our eating style of choice currently) I sauteed apples till they broke down slightly but still retained some crunch in coconut oil and added some ground ginger and cinnamon. You don't have to make the croutons but they were a delicious addition. This soup is perfect for the crisp fall weather we are experiencing. Enjoy!

For the soup:
1 large onion
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
2 butternut squash, about 6 pounds in total pre-cutting, peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
4 Tablespoons olive oil
14 cups chicken stock (you can use veggie stock or water with bouillon but plain water will yield a flat tasting soup so I highly recommend using stock)
1- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (depending on how heavy of a ginger taste you want- I did 2 inches)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chunked
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 cup coconut cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the onion, apples and butternut squash on a flat baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the squash is just fork tender and the onion and apple have started to brown.

Place all the roasted squash, onion and apple into a pot and add the stock, ginger, sweet potato, cinnamon, curry powder and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and let it cook for about 20 minutes just until the sweet potato is softened. Blend the soup with an immersion blender (it should be pretty thick-if you want it a little thinner then add water 1/2 a cup at a time until desired consistency) and then add the coconut cream. Taste and re-season as necessary. Serve with Apple croutons if desired.

For the apple "croutons":
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into cubes
1 tsp coconut oil (you can substitute any other oil if you want)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. When the coconut oil is melted add the rest of the ingredients and saute until the apples start to soften only slightly but still retain some crunch-about 2-3 minutes. Serve a little on each bowl of soup.


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