Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Abundance Diet: Cozy Roasted Butternut Soup

Another new vegan "diet" book has arrived– The Abundance Diet by Somer McCowen.


I've made a number of these recipes, and so far, they are all pretty good. Some of them take a lot of time to prepare, but if you can do all your cooking in one or two days for the week, you'll have plenty of great food to munch on. One caveat–most of her recipes are rather high in calories. I found that if I followed her 28-day meal plan (which you have to find online at her website since the publisher forgot to put them in the book!), I was eating too much food and gaining weight. For me, personally, I think I need to restrict calories in order to lose weight, but if you are a very active person, this might not be a problem for you. Also, I think she assumes that people turning to this diet eat badly to begin with, and yes, this food is healthy and "whole" vs. processed and junk.

This morning I made her Cozy Roasted Butternut Soup found on page 128. Great name! It makes you want to cuddle up next to a fire and eat it slowly!

I've always been a little afraid of squashes. Not in the sense of I'm scared of creepy Jack-O'Lanterns, but in that I just didn't grow up eating much squash other than zucchini. I don't remember my mom bringing home all sorts of colors and shapes of squash, showing me how to cut them open and baking them. So, they remain a bit of a mystery to me! I know some are so hard it takes the anger and strength of The Hulk to get them open, and that's just too much work for me! And they often have a different color flesh than their skin, so it's a surprise what color food you are going to end up with! But now and then I've ventured into the scary, mysterious world of the squash.

I've had butternut squash soup at a local restaurant (The Guayaki Mate Cafe in Sebastopol), and I loved it. Their version was made with coconut cream, so of course it was rich and creamy and very flavorful. I've made some similar soups at home with pumpkin.

While I was at Andy's Market the other day, I decided to "woman-up" and buy a butternut squash. I got lucky last night when the first book I picked up (The Abundance Diet) had a recipe for butternut squash soup. I followed her directions carefully and even roasted the squash, onions and garlic in the oven, knowing I could let them cool overnight and make the soup this morning. One difference was that I put a little dab of olive oil on the all the cut sides. Maybe my oven was too hot (or I'll reduce it next time) but everything did get a little burned on one side. I peeled off most of this and left a little in for the roasted flavor.


My opinion? It's a very tasty soup, and I'd make it again. She uses cashews for the creaminess (optional if you want/need to reduce calories) and I didn't use the Sherry (also optional) since I didn't have any. Her main spice is thyme, which I found to be a little different, but I like it. I could see this going in any direction with almost any herb or spice (curry, rosemary, basil, etc). It would be nice with a dollop of vegan sour cream (which she has a recipe for), as well as the croutons I show here.

It's vegan and gluten-free (my croutons are not GF, but you could make some).