Butternut Squash, Apple, & Ginger Soup

The apples are beautiful! The squash is beautiful. And we have locally grown exotic ginger just waiting to enhance just about everything, so it’s soup tonight!

With a side of Apple Bread…

A good apple year in Vermont. The trees are heavy with fruit as the apples get ready for harvest and our tables. Photo: The New Vintage Kitchen

I got lost in the apple orchard today, intentionally of course! The morning was crisp and bright the sky blue, and the car just aimed itself in the direction of the apple trees. What a beautiful year it is for apples here in Vermont. The trees are heavy with colorful fruit, and it makes me want to use them in everything.

A local exotic crop

In recent years, our local farmers have been experimenting with growing ginger, quite successfully, too. I buy a lot of it and tuck it in the freezer for grating all winter long. My luck was doubled when I found some lovely ginger with the greens still attached, something I’d not found before. I was assured the greens were also edible, so I was excited to taste them and use them in whatever I came up with for dinner.

fresh ginger
Fresh local Ginger? Yes, even in the harsh climate of New England, we can have fresh ginger grown by our local farms. One of the latest unique Vermont crops is ginger, planted in the spring from stock from Hawaii. Walker Farms’ crop is ready! This variety of ginger has a thin skin and intense ginger flavor. It freezes well, and pickles easily, for use throughout the winter. Photo: The New Vintage Kitchen

Finding a luscious butternut squash, I decided on Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, enhanced with the ginger and its greens. Of course, since I had a rather large bag of fruit, I had to start with a quick batch of Old Fashioned Applesauce! Then there’s apple bread. And apple crisp, apple muffins, oh, and baked apples…

Butternut Squash, Apple, and Ginger Soup

Because the squash is so sweet, you’ll want a tart apple in this dish. I used Jonathans, but any tart apple would do, such as Granny Smith. If you don’t have leeks, substitute yellow onion. Adjust the cayenne to your own preference, or leave it out.

This soup is creamy but non-dairy until you put the sour cream or yoghurt on top. I think the flavors are brighter without the addition of the extra fat from cream, or even light coconut milk which I often use in creamed soups.

If you don’t have cider, increase the water, or you could use vegetable stock for more flavor, although plain old water works just fine. I add the ginger in two stages, one during the cooking and the other at the end. Whatever you add at the end of a recipe usually shines, and I wanted the ginger to be present.

close up

Makes 12 cups, plenty for freezing for another day.

2 tbsp. Olive oil

2 large leeks, chopped, about a quart

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2- inch piece of ginger, finely minced, divided

1 large butternut squash, chopped, about 8 cups

3 tart apples, chopped, about 2 cups 

Greens of fresh ginger, if available

2 large bay leaves

2 star anise

2 cups apple cider

4 cups water

Salt and pepper

1 lemon

Sour cream or soy yoghurt

Prepare the vegetables.  Remove only the toughest, dark green leaves from the leeks, wash them well, and chop. Chop the squash and the apples.

the ingredients

If your ginger is new,  you don’t have to peel it, just mince it finely. Chop the ginger greens in halves or thirds and tie with food-safe twine. Reserve this for later.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat and sauté until softened.

Add the garlic, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir until the garlic is fragrant, just a minute or two, and add half the ginger, followed immediately by the squash, apples, ginger greens bundle, bay, and anise. Give everything a good stir.

Add the cider and water, and season with salt and pepper to your taste. I like a lot of pepper in this. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for about a half hour.

in the pot

Remove the ginger greens bundle, bay leaves, and star anise. You will want to puree the soup at this point and you can use whatever means you want: food processor, blender, immersion blender, food mill, or potato masher. I prefer the immersion blender for ease of cleanup. If you want the soup really smooth, put it through the food mill.

Add the juice of the lemon the rest of the ginger and taste. You will probably need more salt and pepper.

You can stop here and enjoy this as is, but I think it benefits greatly from a dollop of sour cream or soy yoghurt for a creamy vegan topping if you are dairy free.

To add a crunch, top with anything you like from crispy croutons to pomegranate seeds or fried shallots. You can also toast the butternut squash seeds!

Make it your own. Always taste, taste, and taste again, and adjust to what you like. Don’t car for ginger? You can use your favorite curry blend in this instead, or add Moroccan seasonings for a different take on the dish. This soup is even good with just a little cumin!

Crispy Shallots

Slice two or three shallots very thinly. Put a saucepan over medium high heat and add a cup of canola oil and the shallots. Cook for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them. When to the color you wish, drain on a paper towel.

Bonus Shallot Oil. Don’t throw out the oil! It will be flavored deliciously by the shallots.

    © Copyright 2019 – or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen.

The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting butternut squash soup recipe! I’ve never combined turmeric and ginger with western herbs such as bay leaves anise and apples – I will try this recipe. Thank you for sharig.

    1. When I’m REALLY lucky, we find some local turmeric as well!


    1. I hope you enjoy it China!

  3. I love Autumn. 🍁🍂🌾

    1. So do I! Once that humidity breaks and the air becomes crisp, I’m in my element!

  4. A combination of beautiful Fall flavors!

    1. Thanks, you are so kind!

  5. Hettie D. says:

    just what I was looking for!

    1. Great Hettie! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know.

  6. Hali says:

    What a lovely dish for Fall! Love all the different spices 🙂

    1. When the weather starts to turn, I dig into the warm spices even more! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. chef mimi says:

    You live in Vermont? Lucky!!! I would love to go pick apples. I’ve made squash soups with apples or cider, but never both. I’m sure it was delicious. I like how you flavored your cooking broth.

    1. Thank you so much! It was well received and I am hoarding the last little serving for my lunch today!

  8. Ally Bean says:

    This has everything I like in it and it’s a soup which is a type of food I like very much. Locally-grown ginger sounds exotic to me. You’re lucky to have that available.

    1. Believe me Ally, I know how fortunate we are here in Vermont to have farmers who keep pushing the envelope in offering “local” delights!

  9. How perfect for fall! That ginger is so unique looking. I live in Southern New Hampshire and definitely plan on going apple picking soon so I will try this out 🙂

    1. The ginger really is unique, very fragrant and the skin is extremely thin, no need to peel. Let me know how it turns out for you, and thanks for stopping by neighbor!

  10. An amazing recioe. I must try!!❤

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.

  11. Sounds quite flavourful. Well, I never knew that ginger greens could be used in cooking, I had planted ginger in a pot and had lots of greens but they were wasted!

    1. I know! I would have probably put them in the compost, but I asked the farmer and she said they were delicious! We learn something every day!

  12. eponine3 says:

    Not only does the soup look wonderful (you had me at fried shallots!) but your presentation is also very well done. Bravo! The fact that you are in Vermont is a huge bonus for me, having lived there more than 20 years. There’s always a warm place in my heart for things and people from Vermont 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind remarks! I think it is important to present food in a way that allows the diner to pause for a moment and know they have been fussed over a little. We need more little pauses that put us right in the now!

      1. eponine3 says:

        More little pauses — what a marvelous idea!! Also I appreciate what you say about giving people the idea they have been fussed over. Often they have no idea what is involved, but someday they will figure it out, and know the love and care and time that you put into making it special (for them!). Thank you.

      2. You are very welcome! I was thinking about a meal I made the other night for my teenage grandkids and some of their friends. I presented this huge platter of pasta with stir friend veggies, all arranged around the platter in little groups, and the topping was colorful cherry tomatoes and olives. The kids came into the dining room, noses in cell phones, and chatting up a storm They all immediately stopped, one kids said “Wow!” and they all just stood there for a moment looking at the food. They knew they were bing pampered, and not one complained about my “no electronics at the table” house rule!

  13. eponine3 says:

    You show ’em how it’s done, Dorothy! 🙂 (And good rule!)

  14. Looks taste, definitely copying this down for later. Even better, I have a whole squash and a frozen ginger root. So I’ll try to find a green apple and give this a shot.

    The mushrooms in the photo look really tasty too. Did you cook them for a while?

    1. The shallots cooked fairly quickly, just 10 minutes. You can cook them to whatever stage of brown you like, I like them nice and crispy. Good luck on your soup, it’s a beautiful fall day here so I wish you one as well!

Leave a Reply to Dorothy's New Vintage KitchenCancel reply