THIS SOUP. My friends. This. Soup!
Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup is fall in a bowl. Roasted butternut squash. Smoked paprika. Bacon. Maple syrup. Leeks. Did I mention bacon? And fall? I felt a wave of happiness wash over me while standing at the stove, stirring this gorgeous, velvety soup into existence. The back door was open and a cool breeze was whooshing in. The kitchen could NOT have smelled more delicious, and the prospect of a warm bowl of comforting, creamy butternut squash soup had me at near tizzy level. I know, hard to imagine. 😉
This dairy-free and gluten-free soup recipe is simple and inexpensive to boot, plus it freezes well so go ahead and make a double batch to quickly thaw then reheat for easy lunches or dinner anytime. Best of all? You don’t need to peel the butternut squash to make this recipe. YES! Love me some butternut squash, but it is a NIGHTMARE to peel!
I also love that this soup doesn’t need cream to achieve such a silky consistency. That said, here’s the thing about creamy soups: I kind of miss the crunch. Problem solved by sprinkling crispy bacon and crunchy roasted chickpeas on top of each bowl. If you’ve never had roasted chickpeas, your life is about to change. They become super crunchy in the oven and are a welcome addition to this ultra-smooth Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup!
How to Make This Recipe:
Start with 4lbs butternut squash which was 2 small-ish butternut squash for me. Butternut squash is my favorite fall squash varietal. It’s hint of natural sweetness and silky smooth texture cannot be beat!
Butternut squash is notoriously hard though, so in order to make them easier to work with, pierce the bulb end two or three times with a sharp knife then microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. Next, use the knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Place the squash halves cut side up on a nonstick sprayed baking sheet then brush with extra virgin olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash goes in easily. NO PEELING REQUIRED!!
Tip: If the squash starts to burn before it’s tender, simply lay a piece of foil on top of it in the oven.
Before popping the squash into the oven, drain then rinse 1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans.)
Rub the beans very dry in a kitchen towel then pour onto a baking sheet and toss with 1-1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika and 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Pop them into the oven with the squash then roast for 25-30 minutes or until crunchy, shaking the pan every 10 minutes to prevent burning. The chickpeas will continue to crisp as they cool, FYI.
Meanwhile, get the soup base started by crisping 6 slices bacon in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then remove all but 2 Tablespoons bacon grease from the pot.
While the bacon’s crisping, prep 2 large or 3 small leeks. I. Love. Leeks! They have a mild onion flavor and are so, so yummy.
You’ll just need the white and light green parts of the leeks, so trim, slice in half, and then thinly slice.
Add the leeks to the bacon grease, season with salt and pepper, then saute until golden brown and tender, 7-10 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves then saute for 1 more minute.
Transfer the leeks to a blender along with 1 Tablespoon maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika. Squash are like people – each one is completely different. Point being, butternut squash is a sweeter squash, but the sweetness level is different for each squash. That’s why I recommend only using 1 Tablespoon maple syrup to start out with, then adding more at the end if you want a sweeter kick to your soup.
And, although I’m only adding 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, you can totally taste it and the hint of smoke is fantastic!
At this point, the butternut squash should be close to being done. Seriously just love that color!
Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin then add it to the blender along with 2 cups chicken broth (may need to do this in 2 batches,) and then blend until very, very smooth.
Pour the soup back into the soup pot, add an additional 1 cup chicken broth, and then cook on low for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and/or maple syrup, then ladle into bowls and serve with the crisped bacon and crunchy smoky-roasted chickpeas. Fall soup perfection!
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Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup is a rich and comforting soup recipe that's dairy-free, gluten-free, and freezer-friendly too.
- 2 small butternut squash (about 4lbs total)
- extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 15oz can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 large or 3 small leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped in half then thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup (depends on how sweet you want your soup)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce bulb ends of butternut squash with a sharp knife then microwave for 1-1/2 minutes to make them easier to cut. Cut in half lengthwise with a sharp knife then remove seeds with a spoon and place cut-side up on a nonstick sprayed baking sheet. Brush or mist with extra virgin olive oil then season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Drain chickpeas then rinse and pat dry with a kitchen towel (the dryer the better.) Pour onto a baking sheet then add extra virgin olive oil and 1-1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika and then toss with your hands to coat.
- Place baking sheets into the oven. Roast butternut squash for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of the squash goes in easily. If squash starts burning before it’s tender, place a piece of foil on top. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Roast chickpeas for 25-30 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan every 10 minutes, or until crisp (beans will continue crisping as they cool.) Sprinkle with salt then set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, crisp bacon in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat then remove to a paper towel lined plate to train. Remove all but 2 Tablespoons bacon grease from pot then add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 7-10 minutes, or until leeks are golden brown and tender, then add garlic and saute for one more minute. Remove pot from heat then transfer leek/garlic mixture to a blender. Add maple syrup and remaining 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika to blender.
- Scoop butternut squash flesh out of the skin with a spoon then add to the blender with 2 cups chicken broth (may need to do this in two batches.) Blend until very smooth then pour back into soup pot and turn heat to low. Stir in remaining cup chicken broth then cook on low for 10 minutes. Taste then add remaining tablespoon maple syrup, salt, and pepper if desired. Serve topped with cooked bacon, smoky-roasted chickpeas, crostini and/or fresh bread.
- To freeze: Cool soup then scoop into a freezer bag and freeze flat. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stove (may need to add more chicken broth to thin out a bit.)
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
I loved the texture the bacon and smoky-roasted chickpeas gave this velvety, sweet and smoky soup, but a hunk of fresh bread or easy crostini make the bowl even better (I use Against the Grain gluten-free baguettes.) Enjoy, enjoy!