Snowshoeing in Loon, New Hampshire and a Hearty Recipe for Cream-Less Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

You could say I started off the New Year on the right foot. On day-one of 2013, Tim and I set off for a snowshoe adventure in the woods of Loon, NH. Our boys were happily skiing (without us) as we hiked our way up Loon Mountain and then into the snow-packed woods. It was great exercise, invigorating, and a nice break from what I do most: cook, eat, and blog … with some yoga mixed in!

I could do this every day …

I’m no Ansel Adams, but I sure love this photo (edited in Instagram).

Tim forgot his poles (those are mine in the foreground), but he had no problem making his way up and down this wooded trail. Skiers are permitted in these woods, but given the number of ski trails we saw cut between the trees, it’s clear plenty of skilled skiers are familiar with this area!

Winter inspires me to make soup, so this week, I hit my favorite market — Wilson Farm in Lexington, MA where I live — for a basket of winter veggies. The result: This Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup. No cream required :)

This is one of those soups that can be topped with just about anything. For this photo, I garnished with reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and toasted, lightly salted pumpkin seeds. For my boys, I topped the soup with leftover honey-baked ham, diced.

Raw veggies on the left … cooked veggies on the right.

Cream-Less Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 6 Servings

  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 ounces peeled butternut squash, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • One 32-ounce carton all-natural vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • Optional garnish: Shredded, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Break the leek rounds apart into little rings, place in a bowl of cold water, and swoosh around to remove any dirt trapped between the layers. Drain well in a colander.

3. Place the leeks, cauliflower florets, squash, 2 tablespoons of the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat evenly with the oil. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the vegetables are golden and the leek rings become crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir well every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the cooked vegetables and the broth. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the milk, and let cool slightly.

5. Transfer to a blender and puree in batches until very smooth and creamy. You could also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with optional toppings.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 1/3 cups): 130 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 480 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 3g protein, 120% vitamin C, 80% vitamin A

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What’s your favorite soup recipe? Do tell …

5 Responses to “Snowshoeing in Loon, New Hampshire and a Hearty Recipe for Cream-Less Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup”

  1. Elaine says:

    My favorite recipe is this one for Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/creamy-chicken-and-wild-rice-soup/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=chicken%20and%20wild%20rice%20soup&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

    I use skim milk instead of the cream, and I’ve reduced the butter down to a 1/4 cup. I also add some sauted carrots and celery to it. I would love it if you could help me lighten it up even more!

    • Liz says:

      Well, you are well on your way to a makeover. Going from heavy cream to skim milk is Meal Makeover genius. From there, we love how you have added sauteed carrots and celery. Maybe you can add some sauteed diced zucchini too. As for the butter, you can certainly make your roux with 2 tbl butter and 2 tbl canola oil vs your current 4 tbl butter. Try that and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing. PS: You could probably leave out the 1/2 tsp salt since you have chicken broth and the seasoning packet. Those both tend to be high in sodium. Which brand of broth do you use? We’d go for an all-natural one (Imagine, Pacific, in-store all-natural brands).

  2. Elaine says:

    Thank you! I don’t have a brand I stick to, it’s usually whatever’s on sale that’s low sodium. I will definitely try canola oil trade out next time.

  3. I started out making this delicious sounding soup, roasted the veggies and then decided to go curry! Instead of rosemary, I added two teaspoons of curry and topped with chopped fresh chives from my windowsill garden. Thanks for the inspiration Meal Makeover Moms!

  4. Clare says:

    I just made what could definitely become one of my favorite soups…I had some cooked potatoes and arugula that I wanted to use so…I sauteed some onion and lots of garlic, added the cooked potatoes, some tomatoes, and some organic veggie broth…made a paste of parsley, garlic and some Earth Balance…wilted in the arugula, added the paste…pureed most of it, and it was creamy and delicious! You could use chicken broth and you could add Parmesan cheese…I hope you’ll try this…it is surprisingly good!

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