What do you consider to be ‘happy foods’?
By this, I suppose I mean which foods do you reach for or rustle up in the kitchen when your spirits need lifting a little? Your personal comfort foods, in other words?
Now I’m going to resist answering my own question with ‘chocolate’, because let’s just take it for granted that chocolate is firmly on most people’s ‘happy foods’ list! Instead, I’ll agree with Mr. Scrummy who remarked last night how much he likes colourful dishes. As he was putting the finishing touches to the beautiful chicken dish he was cooking for me, I might add. And yes, I know, I’m a lucky girl being cooked for on a fine Saturday evening!
But in a roundabout way I told you that I liked colourful foods in my last post, didn’t I? I called this blood orange and roasted fennel & radish salad a ‘Happiness Salad’ because of all the lovely colours of the rainbow that popped out at me with every mouthful.
So you’re probably wondering what this has got to do with this roasted butternut squash & tomato soup. Well, as I was thinking about what I would write about it, I happened to see a little fact-file in February’s edition of the UK Delicious magazine called ‘The top five comfort foods’. The list was based on a study that measured how filling and warming dishes were, as well as how much they triggered happy childhood memories. And lo and behold, there proudly positioned in spot number 3 was tomato soup!
To me, this is not at all surprising, really. I always got excited about being given a brimming bowl of jolly bright red tomato soup. Albeit of the almost radioactive shade of red that canned soup tended to have! Well, it was the 80s … . With cheese on toast to dip in it. Yummy yum! Incidentally, I happened to have a can of soup of this same brand (mentioning no names!) fairly recently and it honestly tasted like tomato ketchup. I have nothing against ketchup of course, but not in a big bowl with a spoon! No, not so yummy yum! My tastes have definitely changed since the 80s, thank goodness!
And while we’re talking about ketchup (sort of), check out this video of the talented comedian Jim Gaffigan talking about ketchup. It’s hilarious!
But anyway, enough of the waffling about tinned soup memories (and ketchup – my, where did that come from?) and back onto this wonderful homemade soup which for me ticks a lot of boxes. Its bright orangey-red colour firmly makes it a ‘happiness food’. It’s filling and warming in a suitable-for-early-spring-up-and-down-temperatures kind of way. It’s tomato soup (with a few additions), so it must be good. But also of course it’s wholesome without being at all complicated to make, like most homemade soups, really!
So all you have to do to make this beautifully happy soup is to cut your butternut squash in half and roast it cut side down with a clove of garlic tucked under the hollow of each. You then soften a chopped onion, stir in some health-boosting turmeric and fresh ginger, then add the scooped-out flesh of the squash, the garlic, a can of good quality tomatoes and some chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes to let all the lovely flavours infuse in, blend, and you’re done!
Just like this …
All that’s left to do is to pop some pieces of bread topped with parmesan cheese – or any cheese of your choice really – under the grill (that’s the broiler to you North Americans, I gather!) and you have a lovely warming bowl of cheer. No real reason to buy pre-packaged tomato soup again! Apart from the fact they don’t have it in the supermarkets over here in Greece. Ahem … OK, so I admit that probably provides a little extra ‘impetus’ for me to make my own!
Now I know you NEED to know what else was on that top comfort foods list, don’t you? Or you won’t be able to sleep tonight. I know, I know. OK, so the list went like this: 1. Beans on toast; 2. Sausage and mash; 3 Tomato soup; 4 Chicken and mushroom pie; 5 Macaroni cheese. A very British list, of course, but nonetheless interesting, I hope!
Roasted butternut squash & tomato soup
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 1 butternut squash halved lengthwise & with the seeds scooped out
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a little olive oil for roasting
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated root ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces of good quality tomatoes 1 can in their juice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth
- black pepper
- small pieces of crusty bread and a little grated parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
- a little chopped parsley to serve (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Brush a baking sheet with oil, then place the squash cut-side down on the sheet. Place a clove of garlic under the hollow of each half. Roast for 45 minutes or until the squash is tender. Then leave it to cool for a short while before scooping out the flesh and putting it to one side along with the roasted garlic.
- Heat a good drizzle of oil in a large skillet/saucepan or heavy-based pot and fry the chopped onion for a few minutes until it softens. Then add the ginger, turmeric and salt and stir for about a minute longer.
- Add the squash, garlic, tomatoes and stock/broth to the pan and stir together. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Blend the soup in batches. Then, put back in the pan with a little more water if you like to thin the soup out slightly (I added about another 1½ cups as I remember, but it's up to you). Reheat the soup a little on a low heat. Add black pepper and a little more salt if you like to taste.
- Meanwhile, prepare your parmesan toasts, if making. Top small pieces of sliced crusty bread with the grated parmesan and grill/broil until bubbling and browned! Serve the soup with the toasts and chopped parsley on top (if you like).
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This was fantastic, and the best part is that it’s _so easy!_ I used leftover roasted butternut from earlier this week and had this ready in less than 15 minutes. Thank you!
Hi Kat – so glad you made this and enjoyed it. You’ve reminded me to make it again soon!
Emma @ PovoChef says
This looks so delicious!! And roasting the veggies first definitely makes a difference, rather than just boiling them!
Thanks, Emma! This was indeed really delicious. I’ve just arrived in Perth right at the start of your winter, of course, so I’m glad you’ve reminded me of this one. Thanks for paying me a visit! 🙂
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says
What a fun post! It really got me thinking about what my “happy foods” are! Gosh – I have so many!! I think mostly they come back to foods that link to fun times – recipes shared at family potluck parties, or with my little family on a casual summer evening. Foods that are easy – so I don’t stress out making them, yet also healthy and delicious, so that everyone enjoys eating them and feels great about them. And speaking of enjoying and feeling great – I think those are two ways to describe how I’ll feel after eating this gorgeous soup! I actually wish I could have it right now for breakfast (totally not kidding!). Pinning for sure! 😀
Thank you, Shelley! (for the pin and for the thoughtful comment) I totally agree with you that the best food is easy to make, healthy and delicious. I think I could eat some of this for breakfast, too! I’ve always wished we had the same tradition as the Asians who eat ‘dinner’ foods for breakfast. That would suit me much better! 😉
Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods says
Colorful foods always cheer me up. Plus, I think beautifully natural colored foods taste better. This soup looks delicious and I love the combination of flavors. I have a butternut squash just waiting to be transformed into this!
Ooh, how exciting! Let me know how it turns out if you do make it, Cindy! 🙂
Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner says
Soups are definitely on the top of my “comford food” list and this one looks delicious. Plus, it’s got a wonderful bright color, which I love!
Mac and cheese has been one of my favorite comfort foods. I could eat that stuff 365 days a year. 🙂
Hi, Tina! Yes, I’d say the same … that any soup is a comfort food, really, not just tomato. I love mac and cheese, too, but never really think to make it, strangely! Have a great weekend!
I love the idea of combining sweet butternut squash with tomatoes! Wonderful soup!!!
Thank you, Liz! 🙂
Allie | Baking a Moment says
Girl, you made my whole morning with that Jim Gaffigan routine! He is so funny, love him! Have you seen his “hot pockets” routine? Or the bacon one? So hilarious.
Love your tomato soup with the roasted squash! I’m sure it is so comforting and full of flavor! Pinning 😉
So glad you like the soup, Allie, and thanks for pinning! Isn’t he just the funniest?! I’ve seen the bacon one but not the hot pockets one. I’ll definitely check that out! I’m always up for a good laugh! Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Sarah & Arkadi says
great soup Helen! love those little bread pieces with cheese!
Thank you, Sarah! 🙂
Mary Frances says
Helen, these photos are beautiful! I’ve never had squash in soup, but it looks so good! I’d call this a happy food for sure 🙂
Hey, thanks, Mary Frances! The squash and tomato really do go well together. So glad you like it!
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says
Love. This. Soup! Brilliant idea to add tomatoes to the roasted butternut squash. I’m smitten! Helen, I have a huge butternut squash sitting on “Julia”. (My kitchen cart with a butcher block top named after Julia Child, LOL. Not my doing, my husband’s. After he added the butcher block, he said, “She’ll always be by your side in the kitchen.” I shall keep him.) Now I know what I am making with it! I even have the ginger and turmeric on hand (they’re helping my blood clot situation). Thank you, thank you! My favorite comfort food from childhood? Chicken Paprikash with my great grandmother’s Authentic Hungarian Dumplings. Nom! xo P.S. How much is “1 tin of tomatoes”? Are we talking a 14 to 15 ounce can or 28 can in the U.S.?
Hi, Stacy! What a wonderful encouragement that you’re going to make my soup! I so hope you like it … I think you will! Do you have your grandmother’s chicken recipe on your blog? It sounds fabulous! Oh, and the ‘tin of tomatoes’ I listed in my ingredients for this recipe is a 400 gram or just over 14 ounce can. Thanks for pointing that out! (I’ll clarify it in the recipe in just a moment in case others have the same question) I had absolutely no idea that you had more than 1 size of can in the USA as in the UK a tin of tomatoes is just a tin of tomatoes – pretty much always the same size! 🙂 (P.S. Julia sounds very useful!!)
Oh, and I actually replied already re. the tomatoes via email, just in case you read that first! (I’m weird like that!)
i went temporarily crazy and bought a pumpkin instead of butternut squash! am going to try again tomorrow to buy a squash so I can give this a try. x
Cool! Actually, I think this soup would be just fine made with pumpkin instead of butternut squash! Give it a go, Trisha!
Aimee / WallflowerGirl.co.uk says
butternut squash makes me happy. so does soup. and everything else in this soup for that matter!
Aw, that’s brilliant, Aimee! So glad I could make you happy!! 🙂
Hmmm I feel like my happy foods change by season : ) But pretty consistently I’d say sweet potatoes and vanilla bean baked goods – so good! And this soup looks amazing – I love butternut squash!!
Yeah, mine probably change a bit with the seasons too, I’d say … but chocolate is always high up there on the list! Love sweet potatoes too … they taste decadent but aren’t!
Consuelo @ Honey & Figs says
My happy food is cheesecake, but I admit that I’d never say no to this gorgeous soup. I bet it is lovely paired with some grilled cheese : )
Ohh yes, cheesecake is definitely a happy food! And you’re right – ditch the parmesan toasts with this soup and just serve with a nice big grilled cheese sandwich!
Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! says
I seriously adore tomato soup – it’s my all-time favorite comfort food! I can’t even tell you how excited I am that you added butternut squash. Can’t wait to try that – I am sure it tastes amazing!
Thanks so much for passing by, Kathi! And so glad that you like the idea of the soup. Let me know if you do try it!
This sounds amazing Helen! Love the photos- so beautiful! Tomato soup has to be my all time favourite soup flavour- and the addition of butternut squash I’m sure brings a lovely sweetness! 🙂
Thanks, Jessica! Yes, the butternut squash does give the soup an extra sweetness and depth but not to the point where it becomes NOT tomato soup, if that makes sense. So glad you like it!
Helen F says
Very tasty & easy to make. As a vegetarian I used veg stock instead of chicken & used powdered turmeric & ginger as that’s all I had, but it still tastes amazing!
Hello Helen! Thank you so much for the feedback – I’m so glad this went down well! 🙂