Spiced Roast Squash Soup with Crunchy Chickpea & Pumpkin Seed Croutons

Serves 5

Having been literally dragged kicking and screaming out of summer time, I have now gone into full-on-house-covered-in-pumpkins-autumn-obsessed mode! How could I not when there is such gorgeous seasonal produce around? To me, this gloomy London weather calls for one thing — hunkering down with a warming autumnal soup. One serving provides 159 calories, 32% of my daily fibre requirements and a huge 68% of my Vitamin A; which is great news to keep all of those sniffles and sneezes at bay.

INGREDIENTS

· 500g Winter Squash (I used Red Kuri, but Butternut or Pumpkin would work equally well)

· 4 Garlic Cloves

· 1½ tbsp Olive Oil

· 1 Carrot

· 2 Celery Stalks

· 1 Leek

· 1 White Onion

· 1 tbsp Sage

· 2 tsp Smoked Paprika

· 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes or freshly chopped red chilli (NOTE — this produces a soup with a nice kick, but nothing too spicy. Adjust the amount according to your spiciness tastes!)

· 1½ L Vegetable Stock

METHOD

· Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

· Peel and dice the squash.

· Place it in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper and sprinkle with 1 tsp smoked paprika. Toss well to combine.

· Roast for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.

· Peel the carrots.

· Dice the carrots, onions, leeks and celery.

· Finely chop the garlic and chilli (if using fresh).

· Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions and leeks until soft.

· Add the carrots, celery, garlic and chilli and continue to sweat for another 5 minutes.

· Add 1½ litres of vegetable stock.

· Add the roasted squash.

· Add the sage and a tsp of smoked paprika.

· Simmer on a low-medium heat for 25 minutes.

· Season with salt and pepper to taste.

· Depending on what texture you like your soup, either mash for a chunkier soup or blitz in a blender for a smoother one.

· Serve with some crunchy roasted chickpeas and pumpkin seeds — recipe on my blog from May.

Calories — 159

Fat — 5g

Carbohydrates — 28g

Protein — 3g

Fibre — 8g (32%)

Vitamin A — 68%

Vitamin C — 37&

Calcium — 9%

Iron — 13%

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