buttercup squash soup with coconut, sage + quince

buttercup squash soup with coconut, sage + quince



a few weeks ago, i discovered there’s a seemingly abandoned quince tree a couple streets over from us. instead of inquiring about picking the fruit to the nearby house or walking my ladder down the neighborhood and being for real about the situation, i instead ended my marathon-season track workouts for weeks by practicing my plyometric jumps into the lower branches, snagging one golden floral fruit each time, and smuggling it’s precious but ugly self back home to add to my for-soup collection.

i had an idea in my head about updating this soup and instead of sending the floral quince notes throughout, piling a few thin sauteed slices on top with fresh sage. the result is absolutely holiday (or just really nice self-care) worthy.




speaking of holidays, here is what i’m making for the Thanksgiving weekend:

i. a brussels-heavy variation of this salad.

ii. apple pie. i’m planning to recreate the best gluten + dairy free pie crust i’ve made so far, adapted from Alanna’s recipe and fill it with apples + spice inspiration from Renee.

iii. if the weekend calls for more cozy time in the kitchen, i’ll be making cornbread stuffing (per William’s request), and/or pumpkin, sage + rosemary baked risotto, or perhaps just end the weekend with that cornbread alongside my favorite deep/rich vegetable-heavy chili with chocolate and walnuts.

iv. and more of this soup! the Recipe Redux challenge this month is to add some naturally colored holiday treats and trimmings to the table and this soup is definitely colorful! and, importantly, it’s also tasty. i gobbled up the first and then second batch before i took time for photos, so the third round, whipped up in the final days before we head to eastern oregon for family time, is going home to share.




buttercup squash soup with coconut, sage + quince, serves about 4

Curious about quince? They’re a seriously old fruit, similar in many ways to pears, but much more floral in flavor and aroma. They require cooking too, as their heavy tannins and raw texture will dissuade even the hungriest neighborhood scavenger! Since they’re slightly precious and can be difficult to find outside of local shops and markets, a pear or apple can be substituted, or completely left out for a less sweet/interesting ending. For a little more substance, I’ve often been stirring in either cooked garbanzos or sometimes marinated/seasoned tempeh to my soup and rounding it out with some whole grain sourdough bread for a full meal deal. Also, use any squash you like. I used the last of the Buttercup from my garden. It’s a sweet, dense, slightly dry flesh variety, and any of the Kabocha, Hubbard and Butternut varieties are also good alternatives. 

2 lb. buttercup winter squash, exterior rinsed of any remaining soil
1 + tsp. coconut oil, divided
1 large onion, medium-diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups water or vegetable broth
2/3 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp. sea salt
ground black pepper
1 quince, cored and thinly sliced
1-2 tsp. minced fresh sage

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Slice the squash in half and turn cut-side-down on a baking dish. Add 1/2- to 1-inch water to bottom of pan and roast for about 45-60 minutes, until a fork slides easily through the skin and flesh of the squash. Let cool at least 5 minutes before handling.
  2. Set a large pot on medium heat and add coconut oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it softens and becomes translucent. Then stir in the thyme and water or broth.
  3. Once the squash is done roasting and is cool enough to handle, scoop out the seeds and discard. Then scoop the flesh into the pot. You can either discard the skin or toss it in, as it is definitely edible and will add a little texture towards the end result.
  4. Add the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, and then using either a blender or food processor, puree in batches until you have a smooth consistency. Turn it back into the pot, and add salt and ground black pepper and taste to adjust seasoning.
  5. For the quince, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of coconut oil, sliced quince, and minced sage. Try to spread the slices out over the pan so they are not overlapping and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are becoming golden and crispy on the edges.
  6. Serve the soup hot with the sauteed quince scattered on top. Enjoy!



Butternut Squash & Quince Soup with Farmhouse Bread

Fall is most definitely in the air.  And when I ventured home last weekend to run the Columbia River Power (half) Marathon, my mom made sure to load me up with the bounty from her garden—the kind of stuff that speaks fall in every way.  Like butternut and spaghetti squash, quince, over-ripe heirloom tomatoes, and knobby red potatoes.  As I traveled finally back to Corvallis, where I have been away for ages it seems,  I couldn’t help but dream a little about all the wonderfully delicious ways I was going to use my mother’s gifts.

And as it seems it always does this time of year, the rainy season has begun.  So with it brings Butternut Squash & Quince Soup.  And delicious Multi-Grain Farmhouse bread.

The bread was a labor of love, since it requires a sponge—the first one (and successful too!) that I’ve made. Patience brings many great things.

And so too does gifts from a plentiful garden.

Butternut Squash & Quince Soup
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 large quince, peeled and chopped
1  large onion, chopped
1 cup hard apple cider 
3-4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  •  Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium low heat. Add the squash, quince, and onion.  Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the soaked cashews. In a food processor, puree them along with about 1/4 cup of water until they form a smooth cashew cream. Set aside.
  • Add the cider, and bring to a boil.  Add the broth, and reduce heat.  Simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
  • Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender.  Return to the stockpot and cook, uncovered over low heat, until soup is reduced to desired consistency.
  • Once reduced, stir the cashew cream into soup and add vanilla.  Simmer for 10 minutes more, and serve.
   Makes 5-6 servings.
Multigrain Farmhouse Bread, slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.