Sunday, November 3, 2013

'A Very Different Butternut Soup' from "Extraordinary Vegan" by Alan Roettinger for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash Event {#12WksWinterSquash}

A creamy butternut soup can be perfect for a drizzly fall/winter day. Combine that butternut squash with roasted red pepper, yams, smoked paprika, chile powder and a pinch of saffron and it elevates a basic soup and it becomes extraordinary. This week's soup is aptly named 'A Very Different Butternut Soup' and it comes from Extraordinary Vegan by Alan Roettinger

I am always looking for vegan cookbooks with unique recipes to keep my taste buds happy so I was pleased to receive a copy of Extraordinary Vegan to review. Written by a private chef (and writer, food designer and public speaker), the 100+ recipes are elegant enough to entertain with, but easy enough to recreate at home. I have tried three recipes so far--Miso Broth with Ginger (made with a vegan kombu dashi stock instead of the fish-based bonito stock), Banana-Mint Smoothie (coconut water, bananas, hempseeds, dates and mint), and finally the butternut soup. All recipes were written clearly, were easy to follow, tasted great and a little extra twist of interesting ingredients that make them memorable. Coming soon--I picked up some little striped eggplant at the farmers market this weekend to make Grilled Baby Eggplants with Ras El Hanout tonight and the Masoor Dal with Kabocha Squash is on the menu for later this week. Other recipes tagged in my book include Green Garbanzo and Fresh Kale Soup, Nutty Chocolate Protein Bars with Chia Seeds, Curried Mushrooms and Peas, Carrot-Cardamom Rice with Saffron, Blood Orange Sorbet and Bananas en Papillote

Paperback / 150 pages 
Book Publishing Company 2013 

Extraordinary Vegan is a great little book for vegans looking for something new, non-vegans looking for tempting recipes that reduce their consumption of animal products and improve their health and diet, and any foodies who just like to eat well and deliciously. 

'A Very Different Butternut Soup' is the recipe that I kept going back to in the book. The list of ingredients sounded so tempting--who can argue with 12 cloves of garlic and smoked paprika?! I kept the recipe pretty much as written but chives were not looking particularly appealing at the market so I topped mine with some pumpkin seeds--toasted with cumin, chile and smoked paprika instead. 

Roettinger says, "I'm an avid fan of all winter squashes, and butternut squash is among my favorites. However, I've found that almost all butternut squash soups tend to taste alike, so I endeavored to make a version that's both unique and extraordinary. This exceptional rendition includes roasted peppers, smoked paprika, and saffron, and I think you'll find it uncommonly delicious."   

'A Very Different Butternut Soup' 
Extraordinary Vegan by Alan Roettinger
(Makes 8 Servings)

3 Tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
12 cloves garlic, minced
4 roasted red peppers, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 small yams, peeled and diced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
8 cups water
3 unsalted vegetable bouillon cubes
4 bay leaves
pinch of saffron (optional--see note)
1/2 tsp hot red chile powder
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp snipped chives for garnish (I used toasted, spiced pumpkin seeds)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and stir until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium high and add the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are nearly dry, about 4 minutes. Add the roasted peppers and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the squash, yams, salt, and smoked paprika, and stir to mix well. Add the water, bouillon cubes, and bay leaves. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. 

Working in batches, transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and process until smooth. Strain the soup into a clean soup pot (I didn't feel the need to strain it) and add the optional saffrom and hot chile powder. Season with pepper to taste. Reheat over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Serve at once, garnished with the chives.

Author's Note: Roettinger says, "Go for extraordinary:  Although the saffron is optional, I highly recommend including it. Saffron is fairly expensive, but it only takes a very small amount to do the job. In this recipe, it adds a near-transcendental layer of flavor and elevates the dish to truly exceptional heights. Once you start using saffron, you're bound to become addicted to it, as I am."

Nutritionals: Per Serving: 184 calories, 3g protein, 7g fat, (6 g sat fat), 32g carbohydrates, 481 mg sodium, 194mg calcium, 3g fiber     

Notes/Results: There are some soups that I know I am going to love just by the way it smells while it is simmering away on the stove--and this was one of those. All that garlic, red peppers and spices blend together to make a soup that had me drooling before it hit the bowl. The color is extraordinary on its own--a brilliant orangey-red. (It would be a gorgeous starter on a Thanksgiving table.) The flavor is excellent--you get the sweetness from the squash and yams, the smokiness of the paprika, then a subtle heat from the chile. The garlic and roasted red pepper flavors are there but don't overpower and the saffron is a elegant touch. The soup is thick and very creamy from the pureed vegetables alone.The recipe called for it to be strained back into the pot, but I eliminated that and poured it directly in from my Vita-Mix. Served with slices of cardamom-raisin rye bread from the farmers market and it is a warming, tasty and filling light lunch or dinner. I would make this again. 

Note: I received a copy of Extraordinary Vegan from the publisher in return for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation to review it and as always, my thoughts, feedback and experiences cooking from it are entirely my own. 

Now, we have some good friends waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look!

Janet of The Taste Space shares a hearty stew-ish curry adapted from Heidi Swanson, this Red Thai Curry with Asparagus, Zucchini and Tofu (Heidi’s Weeknight Curry) and says, "Red thai curry paste infuses a coconut milk-based broth which is simmered with vegetables and tofu. Sadly, the vegetables look a tad plain; a tad monochromatic in the white/green shades; but they worked really well together. The cauliflower was firm, the asparagus tender crisp, the zucchini meltingly tender and soft cubes of tofu."

Graziana of Erbe in Cucina is back this week with a harvest-perfect Pumpkin and Apple Soup with Ginger. She says, "We were really amazed by the rich taste of this pumpkin soup, without any cheese or cream, but only spices like turmeric and ginger, and a topping of chives and apple sticks."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made this fast and easy Fresh Spinach and Garlic Soup and says, "I had spinach and garlic saute left over from last night's dinner. I simply took the leftovers ( spinach and garlic saute) and added some vegetable broth. Whizzed it in my Nutribullet ( which I love) till smooth or you could use any blender and voila-  soup. I heated the soup, dusted it with some nutmeg ( or you could use curry powder which has nutmeg , cloves, cinnamon etc) and licked the bowl clean. It was delicious."

My pal Sue of Couscous and Consciousness shares both a salad and a sandwich this week. First this colorful Roasted Beetroot, Leek & Walnut Salad with Tamarind Dressing & Pomegranate. Sue says, "The combination of earthy beetroot with sweet, delicate leeks, peppery rocket, and crunchy walnuts is great even before you douse it all in a bold, garlicky, tangy dressing and finish it off with pomegranate seeds that explode in your mouth with their tangy juice and crunch.

Next Sue made these delectable Green Olive Tapenade & Mozzarella French Toast Sandwiches adapted from Donna Hay and says, "I hope you'll give this sandwich a try.  The tart, briny, lemony, herbaceous flavours of the tapenade are a great foil to the creamy mozzarella, and there is no better way I know to encase such a filling than with soft-on-the-inside-crunchy-on-the-outside french toast with a parmesan crust.  Yes, that's right ... parmesan crust ... didn't see that coming, did you?!"

Here with another wonderful Donna Hay sandwich adaptation is Joyce of Kitchen Flavours with these pretty Ham and Green Coral Blini Sandwiches. Joyce says, "This is so delicious! If you have not tried the combination of mayo-lemon zest, do give it a try. The blinis are soft-tender, very tasty and has a light fragrance from the garlic, which is really very pleasant, a great addition for a savoury touch. Though I have not used any fresh fennel, as it is not always available here, the green coral works very well, I guess, any green veggies that works in a salad would be great."

A warm welcome to Little Joy Factory, joining us at Souper Sundays for the first time this week--all the way from Singapore. Contributing to the parade of Donna Hay-inspired sandwiches with these mouthwatering Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Cheese Brioche. She says, "Caramelised onion relish is the little touch in this sandwich.  It brought slight sweetness to the sandwiches, which is quite unusual to our taste.   I made it myself based on a recipe from the web."  

Here at Kahakai Kitchen, I loved Donna Hay's simple and oh-so-decadent Chocolate French Toast Sandwiches and had to share them in the Souper Sundays roundup. The melted dark chocolate in between the sweet French toast was already delicious but I added a light sprinkle of sea salt for a wonderful sweet & slightly salty combination. Yum!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their fabulous dishes! If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo for all of the details. 

***12 Weeks of Winter Squash***

In addition to Souper Sundays, this yummy squash-filled soup will be linked up to the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash Event when it goes live tomorrow, Monday, November 4.

Have a happy, healthy week!   


  1. Nice soup, Deb. I received that cookbook to review but haven't made too much yet. Now I know where to start next. :) Thank you for another delicious round-up. :)

  2. If this soup is an example of the book, I think, I need it in my collection.

  3. I have to add, I keep wanting to escape your chocolate filled French Toast but I think, I am going to make it, instead.

  4. Have to admit that I normally find pumpkin/butternut soup a bit "meh" - it's ok, but it doesn't particularly excite me. But the addition of roasted red peppers, smoky paprika and saffron definitely turns me on, and I can't wait to give this one a try.

  5. I love the way the spoon is sitting up in that soup - it looks like a properly hearty one!

  6. I strongly dislike butternut soups that taste like I am loving the flavors in this one!! Thanks so much for taking part in the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash!!

  7. smoked paprika...saffron...oh my garsh, YUM!

  8. Big Flavors from a Tiny KitcheNovember 4, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    Love the saffron/smoked paprika combo, and the seeds are the perfect topping!

  9. Hi Deb,
    Lovely butternut soup! And a wonderful roundup of soups, salad and sandwiches!
    12 weeks of winter squash event, anyone can link up?
    Have a great week!

  10. Hey Joyce, Thank you! ;-) Yes, anyone can link up their winter squash recipe each week for the next 12 weeks--either on my page or the pages of several other bloggers. Hope you join in when you can! Heather's (girlichef) post has more of the details:

  11. Hi Deb,
    Thanks! I've just linked up!

  12. I love the idea of the pumpkin seeds topping!

  13. Erica@mycolombianrecipesNovember 6, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Creamy and delicious! Love the color of the soup!


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