I recommend a serrated peeler for getting the tough skin off the butternut squash. Or buy pre-peeled and cubed squash at the store. The alluring taste of this soup will make your guests think you worked all day on it. The cashews and coconut extract make the soup taste like it was made with coconut milk, but you save a lot of saturated fat by avoiding coconut milk.
Makes 8 cups
Soak the cashews and dates in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.)
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 or 2 dates
Drain and rinse the cashews and dates (if you soaked them) and combine with fresh water in the blender. Blend until the cashews are dissolved. Set aside.
1.75 cups water
In a Dutch oven or other large pan, combine the following ingredients, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low and cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
1½ pounds butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
4 cups broth
1½ cups diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Decrease the heat to low and stir in the cashew and date mixture. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes until desired thickness is reached.
The cashew and date mixture
Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir these in. Remove from heat.
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon salt
Use an immersion blender to create a very smooth soup, adding additional broth or water for a thinner consistency if you like. Or you can use a regular blender after the soup has cooled a bit. Cook over low heat just until heated through.
Ideas for garnishes
Fresh chopped parsley, finely chopped red pepper, toasted bread slices or cubes, toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, additional full-fat coconut milk for drizzle
Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes, total time 45 minutes
Nutritional information per serving (based on 5 servings):
117 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 21g carbs, 471mg sodium, 4g fiber, 3g protein