More detoxin': a bright and perky orange soup to liven up your day

 God I just love that color, don’t you?

Okay so maybe you don’t love that color. Maybe you’re all “I’m not ingesting anything THAT orange”, but the thing is, That Orange is all natural and there isn’t a damn thing wrong with any ingredient I used, nothing unhealthy, no garbage; which makes it perfect for detoxing.

I feel a lot better (physically) since returning from Camp Hedo At the Speedway last weekend - although I do miss my friends whom I don’t see very often.  We had a blast.  But since returning to Day Job Activities, working out, and eating normal food again, my body has thanked me.  And after I finished the last drop of the white bean and collard green soup, I went rooting around in the fridge to see what I could blend up with the boat motor (aka stick blender), and found some vedge that needed to be used up.  Half a butternut squash, a red bell pepper that I bought weeks ago, some carrots lounging away in the Rotter Drawer (aka the so-called Crisper Drawer), and you’ve got yourself the makings of a soup.  Butternut squash, carrots, and red bell peppers all have boatloads of nutrients, are low in calories, and are powerful antioxidants. Once blended with a bit of liquid (in this case, fresh vegetable stock), they create a thick texture that is hearty enough to sustain me for lunch and through the afternoon.

You could use any winter squash, really.  Pumpkin would be good.  Any other squash may not have a finished product as orangey, but it would be just as good.

Roasted butternut squash, carrot, and red pepper soup

yield: approximately 4 cups

  • 1 pound butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut into ½ inch half moons
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large strips
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Few generous pinches of Madras curry powder
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock (see note that follows)
  • Toasted or roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss the vedge with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt, and a couple pinches of curry powder.  Place the baking sheet in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes (prick the vedge with a fork to see if they're tender).

2. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  If using a stick blender, transfer the contents to a heat-proof bowl and add a little of the vegetable stock at a time while blending until it's reached the consistency you like. taste for seasonings (could use more salt or just a hint of the curry?).  If using a blender, you will need to blend the veggies and liquid in small batches so as not to have a veggie volcano in your kitchen (not to mention the burn you'll probably get on your hands and face, not that i have any experience in that, ahem).

3. Sprinkle on a handful toasted pumpkin seeds if you have some.  To toast them, do so in a dry pan on medium heat, keeping an eyeball on them until they’re browned. Do NOT, for the love of Pete, walk away and go do something else for a bit – keep a sharp eyeball on them.

For real decadence (but not exactly detoxy), top each bowlful with a spoonful of plain low fat yogurt or low fat sour cream and slowly blend that in with your spoon.

For the vegetable stock:

Save the trimmings and peels from the vegetables you’re using for the soup; add those to a stock pot along with some cut up celery (minus the leaves – they’re bitter), a couple of bay leaves, couple of peppercorns, a stalk or two of fresh thyme and parsley (you can use whatever vedge you want, actually. This is just what I had on hand). Add 6 or 7 cups of water; bring to a boil and reduce it to simmer while the vegetables roast in the oven.  Then, strain this, saving the liquid and discarding the solids.  You'll have extra for another recipe. And voila, vegetable stock.


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