I like to consider myself to be a bit of a squash connoisseur. Or maybe even a squash whisperer, if you will.
But recently, I realized there was one squash missing from my repertoire: red kuri squash.
I’ve passed these bright, red-skinned beauties at the market many times. They were certainly enticing enough based on their color, shape and size alone. And I knew from my readings that their flesh was rich and creamy with a mellow sweet and nutty flavor. Yet I would always reach for my more familiar standbys: butternut and delicata squash. But then a few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to toss one into my shopping cart. And now I don’t think I’ll ever look back. Red kuri squash is taking up a permanent residency in my kitchen!
I decided to make a puréed soup, so I took some direction from one of my favorite butternut squash soup recipes and finally landed on this version of Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola.
I started by roasting the red kuri squash, using my friend Traci’s instructions for roasting whole pumpkins (which I also did earlier this Fall to make these pumpkin chocolate puddings), then I scrapped out the softened flesh and combined it in a large stockpot with fennel, apple, shallots, garlic and vegetable broth. After puréeing the soup, I added a touch of heavy cream to make it extra smooth and luxurious. But you could certainly skip this ingredient all together. Or try using coconut cream instead, if you prefer.
I dressed this soup up with a few microgreens for extra color. And a nutty, savory granola for major crunch. Because I firmly believe that puréed soups should never be served naked.
Savory granola is something that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and tried out a couple recipes (today’s recipe is adapted from this one I found on Bon Appetit). I’m finding lots of ways to use it, including salads and breakfast bowls. I think once you try it, you’ll be hooked, too!
I’m sharing the recipe for this Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola as part of our monthly seasonal eating initiative organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Becky has lots of recipe suggestions for December, which you can find here in her December produce guide. And you can also have a peak at the recipes linked up below to see what some of my other blogging friends have created for this month. I hope you find some inspiration for your Holiday gatherings!
December Eat Seasonal Recipes
Beet & Pomegranate Green Smoothie by JoyFoodSunshine
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments
Mini Fruitcakes by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Twice Baked Baby Potatoes by She Likes Food
Roasted Butternut Squash and Grape Crostini by Vintage Mixer
How’s your salad game these days?
I’m going to brag here for a second: mine has been pretty epically awesome.
This is partly because I just love getting my creative juices flowing when it comes to assembling salads. But also, it was of the utmost importance that my salads be on point the last few days. Because holy shit, did I overdo it on Thanksgiving (and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, if I’m being completely honest with myself). By the time the Holiday was over, the combination of excess eating, drinking and stress had me run down in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
So it’s been salads, water, rest and exercise. On repeat. Until I have to ramp things up again for Christmas madness.
The idea for this Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread came to me in the shower (I always get the best ideas in the shower!) about two weeks ago. I was struggling to come up with a new Fall/Winter salad combination. And then BOOM! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks: make a panzanella salad with pumpkin quick bread instead of regular bread.
At first I didn’t know if that would be totally weird. Would pumpkin quick bread be too sweet? Or not hold up as well against the dressing? But it totally works. And I just love the combination of flavors and textures that this salad provides. It’s anything but boring. And I really digging the seasonally appropriate nature of this recipe, too. Panzanella salads aren’t just for Summer anymore, friends!
I used leftover pumpkin quick bread that I had from the grocery store (yes, I didn’t even bother making my own). But you can bake up a loaf of your favorite recipe. Or buy a loaf from your local bakery. It’s all good. Since quick breads are generally moister than regular breads, just toast the pumpkin bread cubes in your oven (sans olive oil) for a few minutes until they dry out a bit. This will help the bread from getting overly soggy in your salad.
As with most salads, you can totally do your own thing if you want to switch up some of the ingredients. Carrots instead of parsnips totally works. Broccoli instead of brussels sprouts is spot on. And maybe try pears instead of apples. Go wild and have fun with it!