Happy Mushroom Monday!
Now that it's Fall and starting to feel a little cooler, comfort foods are on my radar! What better way to enjoy the weather and seasonal produce than with a butternut squash soup? This one is extra special because it is topped with mushroom bacon bits. You heard me right. MUSHROOM BACON BITS. My oh my, the sweet and simple butternut squash soup pairs with the salty, crispy bacon bits so perfectly. You are going to LOVE this recipe!
Let me tell you why I love this Fall inspired soup. Butternut squash has high amounts of vitamin A and C which are terrific antioxidants for building the immune system. I use coconut milk instead of traditional cream to build a creamy soup without the unhealthy fats traditional creams have. Coconut milk has medium-chain saturated fatty acids which may improve heart health as well as has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties which help us stay healthier. I can't forget about the added health benefits of the mushroom bacon bits. Mushrooms have high amounts of vitamin D which is vital for the immune system and regulating inflammation which play a role in cell growth and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases. Plus, mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol free, and sodium free. You can't say that about traditional bacon bits! ;) To get all the nutrients, make sure you are using fresh produce. I got my mushrooms from the local mushroom farmer Kitchen Pride Mushrooms and the squash from a local source as well. The fresher the ingredients, the more nutritious!
Let's get started! (PS-this recipe makes a lot of soup, I'd recommend cooking the full batch and freezing half for another night. Freezes and reheats well! Cook once, eat twice!)
Butternut Squash Soup with Mushroom Bacon Bits
- 9 cups butternut squash (peeled and roughly chopped into cubes)
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup pearl barley (rinsed)
- 3 cups water (divided, reserve 2 cups water to cook barley)
- 1 cup coconut milk (cooking coconut milk, typically found in a can near the baking or ethnic aisle)
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- In a small sauce pan combine barley and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside.
- While barley is cooking, bring cubed squash, vegetable stock, and water to a boil. Reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook for 35-45 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- In a high powered blender add coconut milk, garlic, sea salt, and cooked squash mixture. Blend in batches until entire pot is pureed smooth.
- Return pureed soup back to pot.
- Add in barley to pureed soup and keep warm.
- Portion out serving and sprinkle with 1-2 Tablespoons of mushroom bacon bits.
Bacon Bits Ingredients:
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms (cleaned and diced)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
Bacon Bits Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 400 ℉.
- In a medium bowl coat mushrooms with soy sauce.
- Spread mushrooms evenly on a baking pan.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
- Once crispy, sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons onto soup.
(PS-this recipe makes a lot of soup, I'd recommend cooking the full batch and freezing half for another night. Freezes and reheats well! Cook once, eat twice!)
I think this is the perfect Fall dinner--comfort food meets healthy. Try it out and let me know what you think! <3 Enjoy!
With Health and Happiness,