For many people, lunch is the toughest meal of all to get right. In between work, family, errands and obligations, all too many people struggle to find the time to eat something nutritious to carry them through the bulk of the day—and that’s if they eat anything at all. It’s crucial for your mood, health and overall wellbeing that you eat something nutritious (and preferably satisfying) at lunch, which is why we recommend trying out this simple, versatile soup. Not only is it incredibly good for you, but it can also be cooked in large batches and frozen, ready to be defrosted and reheated on a whim.
Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
While this vegetarian-friendly recipe does require a food processor, it’s still incredibly straightforward and boasts a number of health benefits. For a perfect lunch, we recommend serving it with rustic bread or a light salad. You could also top it with seeds, croutons or bacon (for the non-veggies out there) to add extra layers of texture of flavour to the dish.
Butternut squash is rich in vitamins C, E and beta carotene; red peppers are loaded with a variety of vitamins including B6, which is proven to help reduce anxiety; and onions offer a healthy dose of C and B vitamins as well as heart-healthy mineral potassium—which not many people are aware of. Plus, like most vegetable-loaded dishes, this soup packs in a huge dose of fibre and a burst of antioxidants (in no small part thanks to the vast array of vitamins).
1.4 litres of vegetable stock
2 tbsp of olive oil (or similar heart-healthy oil)
2 large onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed and diced
1 whole butternut squash, de-seeded and chopped into 1-inch chunks
3 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped
1-2 tbsp of tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sweat down the onions and garlic on a low heat until soft.
2. Add the butternut squash, peppers and tomato puree. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften and colour (approximately 10-15 minutes).
3. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer.
4. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are completely soft.
5. Prepare the food processor and blend the chunky soup mixture (you’ll need to do this in batches, so have a large container on-hand to transfer the blended soup into).
6. Serve with bread or salad and enjoy.
7. Freeze or refrigerate any leftovers for future meals.
This soup is bound to liven up any lunchtime and keep you energised—as well as optimistic—for the day ahead. Fancy it for dinner? Try serving it alongside roasted vegetables and brown rice for a heartier evening meal.