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Soup Exchange: Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

It’s starting to get cold here in Toronto, Ontario! Today, it’s decidedly feeling more like home in Saskatchewan: a bright, sunny day – no clouds and.. it feels quite cold. It’s a perfect season for a nice comforting bowl of soup!

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For awhile, I contemplated putting a soup recipe that contained bacon on the blog. I thought to myself "should a naturopathic student be blogging about bacon?!?”. In the end, I decided that it was a good idea because I believe that it’s important that we choose healthy, unprocessed food most of the time and try to include as many colourful fruits and vegetables as possible into our diets. This soup has a lot of great nutritional ingredients and I thought it was worth sharing.

I’ve made this soup both with meat and without and it’s delicious either way. It is a great way to add some veggie power into your day. It makes a lot – which is great for a student, professional, or a busy family. And it was easy to throw together. Plus, it certainly does not lack flavour. Another bonus – it contains a lot of great nutrition and let’s highlight some of that now.

Vitamin A Butternut squash has over the daily recommended amount of vitamin A in 1 cup cubed serving at 1143 mcg. This power veg is full of beta carotene (also found in carrots) which gives it it’s beautiful orange colour. Vitamin A is important for eye health, but also the health of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.


Butternut squash is very high in potassium which is an important electrolyte and great for water regulation in the body.


Great for the gut – butternut squash has 6.6grams of fiber per cup which adds to the total 25g per day for women, and 38g per day for men.


Nutmeg is a great warming spice. In traditional chinese medicine, it nourishes the spleen: which helps the body transport and transform the nutritive Qi from food throughout the body.


A great antimicrobial herb with an affinity for treating infections of the genitals, and urinary tract. This is great to add to your diet for the upcoming flu season.

At school, a few friends and I decided to create an impromptu soup exchange one chilly morning. Four of us decided that we wanted to make soups and share with the rest of the group. So far, we have tasted a delicious seafood chowder, and my contribution, this smoky butternut squash soup. I am awaiting a Thai coconut soup (yum!), and a mystery soup made by my friend Arlie. What I’ve enjoyed the most so far is coming to school and having someone bring a delicious lunch for me – All I have to do is pack a spoon!

All of my friends really enjoyed my soup: it’s rich, flavourful, and warming. Perfect for a fall or winter day. Our Asian Medicine professor last year liked to joke that for naturopathic students “spelt-flaxseed-cacao nib-cookies” are a treat: he was poking fun at our eclectic tastes. However, I’m convinced that you will love this soup, vegan or not, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

If you do like it, please comment below.

Do you have any fall traditions you take part in? I’d love to hear from you!

In health,



Smoky Butternut Squash Soup Gluten Free – Grain Free – Dairy Free – Vegan (Optional)

Serves 6


1 butternut squash

2 medium onions

6 cloves of garlic

1 apple

4 slices of good quality, natural, smoked bacon - divided (omit in vegan version)

6 sage leaves

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt (if needed)

½ tsp black pepper

12 cups homemade chicken or veggie stock


  1. Sauté the bacon in a stock pot over medium high heat. When browned, remove from pot and set aside. For vegan skip this step.

  2. Chop the onions and add to the drippings, followed by the squash. Cook 10-15 minutes on medium. If making a vegan version – use 1-2 TBSPs of coconut or avocado oil to sauté the veggies.

  3. Add the smoked paprika, black pepper, and nutmeg and cook for 1 more minute.

  4. Add chicken or veggie stock to the pot. I like to transfer mine straight from the slow cooker to the stock pot so it’s already nice and warm. Add enough broth to almost cover the veggies ( about 10 cups – add up to 12 for a thinner soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Chop apple and add to the pot, simmer until everything is cooked through and soft, about 5- 10 minutes.

  6. When vegetables and apple are soft, add half of the bacon back to the pot and carefully transfer the soup to the blender in batches.

  7. Blend on medium to medium high for 45 seconds.

  8. Taste the soup, and add salt to taste.

  9. Serve with remaining bacon crumbles.

  10. This soup can be made vegan, vegetarian, or cleanse friendly by omitting the bacon. Instead increase the smoked paprika to 1 tsp, and sautéing the vegetables in coconut oil, or avocado oil.

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