When I look back on the month that Ben and I spent in Paris, what fills my heart with the most longing isn’t the array of chocolate shops, the way the Eiffel tower sparkles at night, or even the proliferation of excellent bakeries—it’s lunch. I miss the simple and undeniably delicious recipes that filled every menu. Today’s recipe for Butternut Squash Apple Soup with Sage Parmesan Croutons would be right at home at a French cafe.
Yes, I miss the croissants and the macarons and stopping into fine cheese shops just because we could, but what fills me with the greatest nostalgia is the long, leisurely café lunch.
Every afternoon, Ben and I would pick a different Paris neighborhood, wander into whichever cozy café caught our eye, then settle in for a two-hour meal with glasses of wine and our books. We’d chat, people watch, and marvel at just how fabulous doing absolutely nothing can be.
What surprised me the most about lunch in Paris wasn’t the unabashedly unhurried pace (though as an over-productive American who spent years eating lunch at her desk, the sensation never did wear off completely); it was the beautiful simplicity of the food.
Most neighborhood Parisian cafes don’t serve lunches comprised of fussy dishes with six sauces and painstaking preparation. Rather, you’ll find simply grilled meats, composed salads, and tidy, open-faced sandwiches called tartines, and recipes like this butternut squash soup.
Butternut Squash Apple Soup – Cozy Comfort Food
Do not make the mistake of confusing “simple” with “boring.” Although French café lunches are not fussy, their flavor is profound, because they use the best-quality seasonal ingredients.
I feel the same way about this butternut squash apple soup.
A read of the ingredient list—tart apples, creamy butternut squash, yellow onions, and freshly grated nutmeg—do not do justice to the delicate balance of sweet and savory autumn flavors and the comforting, rich texture that this butternut squash soup recipe offers.
If you were to stop by my house for an impromptu lunch any afternoon this fall or winter, butternut squash apple soup would be on the menu, one because it is absolutely scrumptious, and two because from September through February, I always have a quart or two of it tucked away in my freezer.
Because butternut squash is plentiful, inexpensive, and delicious, I buy it in big quantities and turn it into a fresh pot of soup at least two or three times a month.
Though out the years, I’ve experimented with dozens of different recipes for butternut squash soup, and today’s version with apples and nutmeg is my favorite so far. It’s healthy, cozy, lightly sweet, and marvelous reheated for an easy lunch or dinner.
Although a bowl of this soup is fantastic on its own, I enjoy dressing it up with a dollop of Greek yogurt, crumble of goat cheese, or as I did the last time I made it, homemade sage Parmesan croutons.
I cubed a crusty, chewy sourdough I picked up at a local bakery, tossed it with a bit of olive oil, salt, and sage, and 10 minutes later had golden, crunchy croutons to stir into my creamy butternut squash apple soup.
While the croutons were still warm, I sprinkled them with freshly grated Parmesan. I love the nuttiness of the cheese with the round warmth of the nutmeg, but if you’d like to keep the butternut squash soup vegan, you can simply omit it.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
- Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Kale
- Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan
- Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash
- Vegetarian Enchiladas with Butternut Squash
- One Pan Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- And, all these other Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes!
Recommended Tools to Make Butternut Squash Apple Soup
- My immersion blender was one of the best tools I ever bought myself and makes pureeing soups like this one astronomically easier (and safer) than transferring the piping hot soup mixture to a blender or food processor in batches.
- If you prefer a food processor, or are in the market for a new one, I have used and loved this one for almost nine years. It’s easy to clean and works as well as the day I bought it.
This butternut squash apple soup is a little piece of the simple, beautiful, and seasonal food I dream about when I think of French cafes, right here for us to enjoy. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and let’s pretend we are in Paris. Bon appétit!
Butternut Squash Apple Soup
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions chopped (about 3 cups total)
- 2 large butternut squash about 5 pounds total, peeled and diced into chunks
- 4 medium apples ( or 3 large) I like using a mix of sweet apples such as McIntosh or Golden Delicious and tart such as Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled, cored and roughly diced
- 3-4 cups low sodium chicken stock divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Sage Parmesan Croutons:
- 6 cups sourdough cubes or whole grain bread cubes(1-inch cut) use a hearty, crusty loaf—you’ll need about 6 thick slices total
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large, deep stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low. Add the onions and cook until very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the onions cook, cut and peel the squash and apples. Add them to the pot, then add 2 cups of the stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover, and cook until the squash and apples are very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes depending upon how larger you cut your squash and apple pieces (smaller pieces will cook more quickly).
- Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Place the bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sage and salt, then toss to coat. Spread the cubes in a single layer, then bake until lightly crisp and brown, 10 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, toss to coat, then set aside until ready to serve.
- Once the apples and squash in the soup pot are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a food processor fitted with a steel blade to puree in batches. Return soup to the pot once complete. Add 1 cup of the remaining chicken stock, then stir, adding a bit more stock as needed to reach your desired consistency (the soup will thicken somewhat when stored). Leave the texture fairly thick and rich. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper as desired. Serve hot, topped with sage croutons.
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