Perfecting the weekday desk lunch is no easy feat. But this recipe makes feeding yourself Monday through Friday a little easier and a little more delicious. Reason number one: You no longer have to choose between two quintessential lunch favorites, soup or salad. Why not have both?
The soup portion consists of roast butternut squash and fragrant aromatics like ginger, garlic and cilantro that get puréed with coconut milk, fresh-squeezed lime juice and soy sauce. The sweet richness of the soup is balanced with an herbaceous salad of cilantro, mint, tart apple and sweet pomegranate seeds tossed together in a bright vinaigrette.
This light and colorful dish will help lift your sad desk lunch spirits any day of the week.
Asian Butternut Squash Soup and Salad
Recipe adapted from Botanica, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
For the Soup:
4 cups (1 medium) butternut squash—peeled, cored and chopped
6 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
1½ tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 serrano chile—half deseeded, half not, all minced
2 cups full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
For the Salad:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup mint leaves
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup green onions, thinly sliced on a bias
½ cup Granny Smith apples—cored and thinly sliced, then stored in acidulated water
1. Make the soup: Preheat the oven to 400º. On a parchment-lined sheet pan, toss the butternut squash with ¼ cup of the coconut oil and season with salt. Roast the squash until soft, 30 to 35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sweat the aromatics: In a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, turmeric, cilantro stems, garlic, shallot and chile, and sweat until tender, 7 to 9 minutes.
3. Once the butternut squash is roasted, transfer to a high-speed blender along with the sweated aromatics, coconut milk, cilantro leaves, lime juice and soy sauce, and blend on high until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with a little bit of water. Pour the soup back into the pot and gently warm over low heat.
4. Make the salad: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and ginger; season with salt. In a large bowl, combine the cilantro, mint, pomegranate seeds and green onions. Strain the sliced apples and add to the bowl of greens, toss the salad with the dressing.
5. Pour the soup into bowls, garnish with the salad and serve.