One of my all time favorite soups is this butternut squash soup with barley and split peas. I learned how to make this recipe from my friend Lynne when we were in school together. She’d put up a pot of soup, and we’d study until the soup was ready. I have good memories of our camaraderie which made the studying more enjoyable. Having a friend make me this hearty soup felt so nourishing. I love the combination of textures in the soup. The butternut squash gets smooth and creamy whereas the barley/split pea mix is chewy. The vegetables remain chunky (rather than mushy), if you add them incrementally based on the density of the vegetable. The recipe is flexible, and you can add in whatever vegetables you have on hand. The soup is a satisfying meal by itself, or sometimes I serve it with bread or a salad.
I had one problem with my friend’s recipe. She made the soup with a different soup packet that contains MSG and other artificial ingredients that I don’t eat. Well, now I am happy that I found Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix because I can use it to make Lynne’s soup without any preservatives. This mix contains green and yellow split peas, barley, lentils, and semolina wheat pasta.
Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Bob Red Mill’s Vegi Soup Mix
Makes about 12 cups of soup (12 servings)
- 1 medium-sized Butternut Squash, weighing about 3 pounds.
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix
- 1 large Onion, diced small.
- 1 Leek, white and light green part only, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced.
- 1 clove finely minced Garlic
- 7 to 8 cups of Chicken or Vegetable broth (buy 2 boxes of broth– 32 ounces each).
- 2 Carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced fairly thin.
- 1 small Rutabaga, peeled and diced small.
- 1/2 tsp chopped dried Rosemary
- 1/2 tsp chopped dried Thyme
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Yellow Squash, diced small.
- 2 medium sized Zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise and sliced fairly thin.
- Optional: grated Parmesan Cheese for serving
1. Prepare the butternut squash: rinse the outside of the squash, and cut in half lengthwise by using a large, sharp knife and some muscle. Be careful that the squash doesn’t roll as you cut. Scoop out and discard the inner seeds and strings with a spoon or melon baller. Keep the skin on. Place the two pieces of squash skin-side down in a microwave safe baking dish. Add about a 1/4 cup of water and cover well with wax paper. Microwave on full power for about 10 to 12 minutes. Take care because the squash will be hot and steamy. Use a fork to test the squash for doneness; the flesh should be soft. Microwave a couple minutes more if necessary– cooking time depends on the thickness of the squash and the power of the microwave. Let the squash cool slightly. Use a spoon to scoop out all the flesh, and place it in a large soup pot. Discard the skin.
2. While the butternut squash is cooking, slice all the vegetables. Sort and rinse the Vegi Soup Mix.
3. Place the large soup pot with the butternut squash on the stove. Add the Vegi Soup Mix, onion, leek, garlic, and 7 cups of broth. Cover the pot with the lid slightly askew, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the flame so that the soup simmers. Once the broth boils, the total cooking time will be 45 minutes. Set a timer for 15 minutes for the next addition of vegetables.
4. When the timer goes off, stir in the carrots, rutabaga, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Now set the timer for 20 minutes. Continue simmering the soup with the lid mostly covering the pot.
5. When the timer goes off again, add in the yellow squash and zucchini and stir. Set the timer for the final 10 minutes. Check the thickness of the soup. Add up to 1 cup more broth if needed for desired consistency. When the timer goes off, taste the soup for doneness and seasoning. If needed, add a little more salt, pepper or herbs. Turn off flame. Soup will continue cooking a little more in the pot.
6. Optional: let the soup cool a little and blend half of the soup with a stick immersion blender right in the pot. Leave the soup partially chunky. Or alternatively, take half of the soup out in batches to blend in a regular blender; return to the pot to combine with the remaining chunky part of the soup.
7. Serve warm. Optional: sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Dana of FoodieGoesHealthy.com is an experienced home cook on a quest for recipes that are both healthy and tasty. She blogs about recipes that she makes for family dinners and get togethers with friends. She loves cooking with her kids, going on adventures at farmers’ markets, and sharing good food with others. She hopes you’ll stop by her virtual kitchen table to chat and get inspired.