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Butternut Squash Soup, Beetroot Tarka, Crispy Sage and Cinnamon Crumble

Packed with spices and topped with a drizzle of beetroot tarka and a crunchy cinnamon crumble, this budget-friendly butternut squash soup is the perfect starter for a plant-based festive dinner.


Is there anything better than a warming squash soup? Yes, in fact, this squash soup, drizzled with a spiced beetroot tarka, topped with crispy sage and cinnamon crumble, is even better! Keeping frozen butternut squash on hand means less waste, but also can be made in a flash. You can make the cinnamon croutons in advance with any bread past its prime and keep any leftovers for sprinkling over salads and pastas.

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For the soup:
2 tbsp oil
2 onions, diced
Pinch of salt
25g fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 bags (1kg) frozen butternut squash, defrosted
1-2 litres vegetable stock (1l will create a creamier soup)
4 tbsp vegan creme fraiche, I'm using a plant-based version
For the crispy sage:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch sage
For the cinnamon crumble:
500g bread, preferably stale or leftover
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the beetroot tarka:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 onion
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp caraway seeds
250g pre-cooked beetroots, diced
1 lemon, zest only
To serve:
A squeeze of lemon

Essential kit

You will need: a stick blender or blender.


Make the soup base:

To a large saucepan on a medium heat add 2 tbsp oil and once warm add the onions. Add a big pinch of salt and gently fry for 8-10 mins, until softened. 

Add the ginger, garlic, thyme and 1 tsp caraway seeds, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the defrosted butternut squash and veg stock, stir to combine. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and with a stick blender or blender, blitz until smooth.

Make the crispy sage:

Add 2 tbsp of butter to a frying pan and 2 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Once melted, add the sage leaves and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes. Flip the leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the leaves and place on a paper towel, set aside. Keep the leftover butter and oil for the cinnamon croutons.

Make the cinnamon crumble:

Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs. Add 2 tbsp oil to the frying pan over medium heat then add the breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp cinnamon and pinch of salt. Occasionally stirring, fry the breadcrumbs until fragrant and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and tip into a bowl to serve later. 

Make the beetroot tarka:

Add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil to the same frying pan over medium heat once warm, add 1 onion, garlic, 1 tbsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp caraway seeds, ¼ tsp red chilli flakes, fry for 2 minutes often stirring, Add the diced beetroot and lemon zest, stir to combine and fry for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant. 

To serve:

Pour or ladle the butternut squash soup to a bowl with a light squeeze of lemon juice, add a spoonful of the beetroot tarka, a few crispy sage leaves and cinnamon crumble.


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