Filled with the colors of autumn, my savory butternut squash soup has shredded chicken, bits of crispy bacon, creamy white beans, and spinach. Delectably velvety yet scrumptiously hearty, this comforting soup makes for a complete meal with some croutons or a bit of warm, rustic bread on the side!
Butternut Squash Soup Brimming with Savory Flavor
One of the best things about autumn is seeing the produce bins in the markets begin to fill up with all sorts of glorious squash coming in from the local farms, my favorite being butternut.
Butternut squash has vibrant orange flesh that quickly cooks to tender and mildly sweet perfection. That makes it a terrific contender for use in a mash, in casseroles, and in one of my most beloved meals, butternut squash soup!
Often times, when I taste butternut squash soup prepared at a restaurant or cafe, I find it to be a little too much on the sweet side for my taste, and even sometimes lacking a bit in fullness of flavor, that “umami”, an unmistakeable hint of something savory.
Because I happen to actually prefer a butternut squash soup recipe that leans a touch more towards the savory side of the spectrum, my hearty and delicious recipe has the additions of shredded chicken, a touch of crispy bacon, some creamy navy beans, and some vibrant baby spinach.
Cozy and comforting with both a velvety yet hearty texture, this version of butternut squash soup is most certainly unlike any you've tasted, and definitely a must-try during the autumn season!
How to Make Butternut Squash Soup
One of the things I really love about the ever-so-abundant butternut squash is it often comes already pre-cut, in either a little bag or a small container, and that's super convenient!
The truth is, I've never been a fan of peeling, seeding and cubing a whole butternut squash, because it can be quite hard, which makes prepping these beauties for a recipe a tad, shall we say, cumbersome...
But since they're readily available peeled and pre-cubed, going that route certainly streamlines this soup recipe and makes it quite simple to prepare. I highly recommend it, but if you prefer to peel, seed and cube your own, go for it!
The other ingredients are meant to add in lots of layers of various flavors, which really rounds out this recipe.
Here's a peek at my butternut squash soup recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- Building the flavors right from the get-go is really important in soup making in general, especially with butternut squash soup, because the squash itself isn't innately super flavorful. So first thing I do is start with the bacon; once crisped, I remove it from the pot, reserving the drippings as they have lots of flavor!
- Next, I add in the onion and other aromatic ingredients, followed by the cubed butternut squash and chicken broth or stock. I simmer the soup just until the squash is tender, only about 15-20 minutes.
- Using a hand-held immersion blender (my absolute favorite kitchen tool for soup, by the way!), I puree the soup until silky smooth.
- I finish the recipe by adding in some cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie if perfect for this), the drained and rinsed navy beans, the baby spinach, the parsley, and a tiny squeeze of lemon.
- To serve, I ladle up and sprinkle over some of the crispy bacon as a smoky and savory garnish, then serve with croutons or crusty bread on the side.
Butternut Squash Soup
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 377 calories
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- Olive oil
- 6 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Black pepper
- 2 pounds peeled and diced (or cubed) butternut squash (I buy pre-cut butternut squash in the prepared foods section for convenience)
- 3 ½ cups warm chicken stock/broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can organic navy beans, drained and well-rinsed
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (you can use rotisserie chicken for convenience)
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Squeeze lemon (about 1 teaspoon worth)
- Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the bacon and cook until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towel; reserve the bacon for your garnish.
- Into the bacon drippings (you can add a little more oil if there isn't much fat rendered), add the diced onion, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened and translucent, and slightly golden; add in the pressed garlic, and stir.
- Once the garlic is aromatic, add in a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the Italian seasoning, and stir to combine; add in the butternut squash and the chicken stock/broth, and stir.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil; then, reduce the heat, and allow the soup to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
- Remove from heat and, using either a hand-held immersion blender or regular blender, puree the soup. (If using a regular blender, take care to do it in smaller batches as to not spatter hot soup on yourself and your kitchen!)
- Once the soup is pureed, stir into it the drained and rinsed navy beans, the cooked chicken, the baby spinach, the chopped parsley, and the squeeze of lemon, and stir to combine, allowing the spinach to wilt in.
- Check your seasoning and add a pinch of two of extra salt and pepper, if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with some of the crispy bacon, and serve with some croutons or crusty bread on the side.
Tips & Tidbits for my Butternut Squash Soup:
- Choose pre-cut or pre-cubed butternut squash for convenience: If you prefer to peel, seed, and cut your own butternut squash, please feel free; but to save time, and for less mess, simply use pre-cubed butternut squash, which is already peeled, seeded, and ready to use!
- Good quality rotisserie chicken as a short-cut: When making a soup that calls for pre-cooked chicken, I'll often save myself some time and purchase an organic rotisserie chicken, then remove the skin and shred the meat, ideal for this particular recipe. But if you happen to have two, skin-on and bone-in breasts, you can simply roast those at 400° for about 45 minutes, then shred the meat and add it in at the end.
- Creamy navy beans, or other small white beans: I love the smaller white navy beans or even great northern beans for this soup, because they're pearl-like and a bit more tender. If you only have cannelini beans on hand, those will work in a pinch, but they are a bit bigger and less delicate in flavor.
- Vegetarian butternut squash soup: This recipe is very easy to prepare completely vegetarian, and it's still absolutely scrumptious! Just leave out the bacon (or perhaps sub a good vegetarian “bacon”), leave out the chicken, and use vegetable broth or stock. Viola!
- Make ahead for an easy butternut squash soup: You can prepare this soup a couple of days ahead of when you'd like to serve it for convenience, and it'll only get tastier. This allows the flavors in the soup to really “marry” and meld together, deepening the savory taste.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!