Few things feel more quintessentially fall than a blended winter squash soup, wouldn’t you agree? The color mimics that of the foliage outside the door, the warming flavors seem just right when coming in from the cold, the silky smooth consistency feels wonderfully comforting. Butternut squash is our go-to soup squash, and rightfully so – it makes for a creamy soup without adding any cream, the flavor is sweet and nutty AND it’s very versatile when it comes to toppings. Combinations are endless!
From a sports nutrition standpoint, soups usually have a hard time making the cut – they’re often lacking sufficient energy, they’re sometimes heavy on the fat (cream soups) but low on protein and they tend to fill you up faster than desired, simply because of all the water. Needless to say, not exactly an athlete’s cup of tea. We love soups too much to stay away from them though, and have made it a challenge to make athlete friendly ones – because there’s simply nothing better than a warming soup during the colder months of the year (especially not when coming in from a long, rainy run). And in addition to that – it’s cheap, it’s easy to adapt based on seasonal produce and it makes for great leftovers. These are all things we value A LOT.
Now, this won’t be the best food choice on a heavy training day, or the night before a hard and long session – those situations call for more energy dense alternatives – but it totally works on lighter days. If we just take a moment to look at the nitty gritty stuff: the soup (including the chickpeas for topping) comes out to roughly 15 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates per serving. With a slice of nutrient dense bread on the side, maybe with some whole grain flours and nuts in there, you’ll be getting around 20 grams of protein, which is the benchmark per meal for athletes, and around 60-70 grams of carbohydrates.
For those of you out there who need not to think about the above – here’s a wonderfully flavorful and warming soup that comes together easy, fills you up nicely and stores very well (both in fridge and freezer). Happy soup Thursday!
För recept på svenska, klicka här: Butternutsoppa med krispiga kikärtor
460 g (1 lb) cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 medium butternut squash, 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs), peeled and cubed
1 large onion, 215 g, diced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 liter (4 1/4 cups) water
3 sage leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon
2 1/2 dl (1 cup) white beans, cooked
2 1/2 dl (1 cup) oat milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Set the oven to 175°C (350°F). In a large oven dish, place the chickpeas, olive oil and salt and toss to coat. In another large oven dish, place the squash cubes and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and toss to coat. Place both dishes in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, tossing the chickpeas halfway through. In the meantime, sauté onion in remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat, approx. 5 minutes. Add sage and garlic and continue sautéing for another 10 minutes. Add the water and bouillon and bring to a simmer.
In a bowl, place the white beans and oat milk and, using a stick blender, whizz until smooth. Set aside. When the squash and chickpeas are done, remove them from the oven. Mix the chickpeas with the spices and set aside. Tip the butternut squash into the pot. Add the bean-oat milk. Using the stick blender again, turn the soup into a completely smooth, silky consistency. Stir in the syrup and spices, and season to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle a generous amount of crispy chickpeas on top. Serve with bread on the side.