Butternut Squash Soup with Pecans and Apricot Relish

Overhead photo of a bowl of butternut squash soup in a white bowl, topped with pecans and chopped apricots.
10/17/18

This is a recipe for the soup-for-dinner deniers.

For the people who consider a bowl of vegetables and broth some sort of punishment, for those of us who would never order the “soup special” at a restaurant unless it’s promptly followed by a plate of pasta.

I am one of those people.

After the third time I made butternut squash soup, I looked into the silky, bright bowl and I had to admit: this was a weeknight dinner delight.

The endlessly riff-able meal hits the sweet spot between straightforward and delicious, with an outsized yield compared to the effort you put in.

Yes, that means plenty of leftovers.

Have I turned you into a believer yet?

Overhead photo of a bowl of butternut squash soup in a white bowl, topped with pecans and chopped apricots.

For the soup-deniers who prefer to chew their food, I’ve got something for you too: toppings.

A bowl of butternut squash soup can be a canvas for swirls of olive oil, sprinkles of parmesan cheese, dots of black pepper.

Smeared onto a hunk of warm bread, soup’s got plenty of bite.

Let’s make butternut squash soup

For this recipe I made a topping of browned butter pecans and vinegary dried apricots that I’m calling “relish.”

The pecans, toasted until fragrant, glossy, and wrapped in butter, provide crunch and richness. The dried apricots are soaked in vinegar, then spooned on top for a sweet and sour chew that you don’t usually find in a bowl of soup.

Try this recipe with hazelnuts instead of pecans, or golden raisins instead of apricots. If dried fruit isn’t your thing, just squeeze a bit of lemon or lime on top. The luscious, creamy soup needs an acidic backbone.

Up-close and side view of a bowl of butternut squash soup in a white bowl, topped with pecans and chopped apricots.

The hardest part of this recipe is peeling and chopping the butternut squash.

If you’re not in the mood to slice and dice while jamming to Stevie Nicks, buy the ready-made butternut squash available at most grocery stores. Costco’s got your back.

The rest is pretty hands-off. Roast the squash with an onion, a drizzle of olive oil, plenty of salt, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

You’ll have a half hour to make your toppings, clear the table, and wash the few dishes that have accumulated with a satisfied smirk.

I served this with sourdough bread, but it would be delicious with whatever fresh loaf you can get your hands on.

It’s excellent with nothing more than a spoon- I just can’t resist a dunk.

After some time in the oven, blend the softened, sweetened vegetables with hot water or stock into a smooth and creamy texture.

You’ll taste, you’ll adjust the seasonings, then you’ll sit down to enjoy a dinner you swore you’d never believe in.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pecans and Apricot Relish

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)
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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes

An easy fall dinner recipe with a handful of ingredients and unbelievable flavor. Not your average butternut squash soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dried apricots or golden raisins, chopped into a small pieces
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup pecans
  • Water or stock, as needed
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • Flaky sea salt, optional, for serving

Instructions

1

Heat the oven to 425.

2

Arrange squash, onion, and garlic on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with red pepper flakes, plenty of salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Roast 30 minutes.

3

Meanwhile, make your toppings: put the apricots in a small bowl and pour over 1/4 cup vinegar. Soak while you prep the rest of the toppings. The apricots should plump slightly and get sour-sweet, like relish. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low. Once it's melted, add the pecans and toast until pecans are fragrant and the butter is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour the pecans and any remaining butter into a bowl and crush into smaller pieces (I use the back of a measuring cup for this).

4

Once the squash mixture is done roasting, transfer it a food processor or blender with a bit of water or stock and blend, in batches, until creamy. Transfer each batch to a large pot so you can easily re-heat on the stove. Stir in coconut milk and remaining tablespoon of red wine vinegar. If the soup isn't delicious yet, tweak the flavor with salt, vinegar or even a touch of honey. Re-heat if necessary.

5

Serve soup in bowls and top with brown butter pecans and apricot relish. Sprinkle on flaky salt and a few extra cranks of black pepper.

Nutrition

  • 398 Calories

Notes

I served the soup with Chianti. Chianti's earthy flavors paired well with the squash and the subtle acidity cut the creaminess of the soup.

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