1medium yellow onionchopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups total)
2medium butternut squashabout 6 pounds total
2medium applescored and roughly diced, no need to peel (I like using a mix of sweet apples, such as McIntosh or Golden Delicious, and tart, such as Granny Smith or Cortland)
2cupslow-sodium vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth
1/4teaspoonblack pepperuse white for a slightly milder taste and if, for presentation purposes, you don't want the black specks in the soup)
3/4cuplight coconut milk(may use up to 1 1/2 cups from one 14-ounce can)
For topping (optional):
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Chopped fresh sage
Coconut cream, coconut yogurt (for dairy free), or regular nonfat Greek yogurt (if dairy free isn’t a priority)
Lightly coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the slow cooker.
While the onion cooks, trim the top and bottom ends off of the butternut squash. With a vegetable peeler, peel the squash. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the center seeds. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to the slow cooker.
To the slow cooker, add the apples, broth, salt, pepper, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours, until the squash and apples are tender.
Add 3/4 cup coconut milk. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a food processor fitted with a steel blade or a blender and puree it in batches. If using a blender or food processor, be extremely careful not to fill it too much, as hot soup likes to splatter. Return the soup to the slow cooker once complete. If you'd like the soup thinner, add additional coconut milk until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve hot with any of your favorite toppings.
TO STORE: Store cooked and cooled soup an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TO REHEAT: Reheat soup in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat until warm. You can also place leftover soup in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat gently until warmed through. Add a splash of broth as needed to thin the soup.
TO FREEZE: Place cooked and cooled soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.