An easy butternut squash soup recipe is a fan favorite for the fall and winter months. It consists of delicious velvety butternut squash turned into a healthy soup and seasoned with delicious aromatics. It is a comforting soup that is perfect for cold days, and also an easy recipe to put together.
While butternut squash soup is undeniably delicious, is butternut squash soup healthy?
Butternut squash soup is a very healthy dish given that it predominantly consists of squash, which is packed with vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants and low in calories. A serving of soup is 294 calories with 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 62 grams of carbs. The key to making the dish low calorie is to make key ingredient swaps that will keep the soup low calorie and delicious.
📋 What’s In The Soup
You only need a few simple ingredients to make the butternut squash soup. Let's take a look at the following ingredients and how we might be able to find a healthier choice if possible.
Fresh Butternut Squash – The star ingredient in the soup. It is an orange-colored fruit with nutty and sweet flavors. It’s packed with nutrients, vitamins, and fiber.
Butter or olive oil – To help saute the aromatics and give it a nice flavor. Butter is a very high-calorie ingredient, with 1 tablespoon at 120 calories.
Aromatics – Garlic cloves and chopped onion pair well with the butternut squash and gives the soup a great flavor.
Spices – Cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, salt, and black pepper are popular spices to add to the soup. They’re a great way to bring a depth of flavor without adding calories. You can also use cayenne pepper if you want an extra kick.
Sweetener – Adding a sweetener is a great way to balance out the dish. Skip the maple syrup or honey, as these are highly calorie dense, and opt for a portioned amount of granulated sugar or apple instead. The tartness of the apple also brings a great layer of flavor.
Broth – Chicken stock or vegetable stock is often used to add a more liquid-like consistency and give another layer of flavor to the dish.
Dairy – Often has a touch of dairy added. Some have heavy cream or creamy coconut milk, which is high in calories due to fats. For purposes of keeping calories low, I’d recommend using lower fat options, such as light coconut milk or low-fat milk.
Garnishes – The soup is often garnished with pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, and nuts.
🍏 How To Make It Healthy
To make a healthy butternut squash soup, I used key ingredient swaps to make this a more macro-friendly and calorie-conscious dish. Here are some key tweaks I made:
- Skip the heavy cream and/or sour cream. Instead, opt for light coconut milk or low-fat milk.
- Omit the butter and use cooking spray to sauté the aromatics
- Omit maple syrup. Use an apple, such as a granny smith apple for a healthier source of sugar
- Garnished with herbs and seeds. Omit the nuts, which can be higher in calories from fats.
The squash can be cut up and the squash pieces can either be roasted on a baking sheet or cooked to high pressure in an instant pot for 8 minutes.
You will need an immersion blender, food processor, or a regular blender to blend everything to make the right consistency. Doing so will result in a creamy soup without needing the usage of cream.
It’s worth noting that while this soup is low in calories, it also has little to no protein content. To make a satiating meal, be sure that the rest of your meal is packed with protein.
Here are some good options:
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🍎 Calories and Nutrition
Given the usage of high-fat ingredients, butternut squash soup can easily be made into a high-fat and high-calorie soup that can easily lead to weight gain. But there are ways to make a healthier version of it.
Let’s take a look at the typical Butternut Squash soup calorie breakdown using the typical ingredients:
|Butternut Squash Soup (Original)||Ingredient||Quantity||Calories||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carbs (g)|
|Butternut Squash||3 cups||189||4.2||0.3||48|
|Heavy Cream||4 tbsp||200||0||24||0|
|Chicken Stock||1 cup||10||1||0||1|
|Maple Syrup||0.25 cup||200||0||0||54|
As you can see, the soup contains a whopping 849 calories with 7 grams of protein, 47 grams of fat, and 115 grams of carbs. This is a super high-calorie meal predominantly from its high fat and carb content.
Now let’s take a look at the calorie breakdown using the ingredient swaps we outlined above:
|Butternut Squash Soup (Light)||Ingredient||Quantity||Calories||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carbs (g)|
|Butternut Squash||3 cup||189||4.2||0.3||48|
|Light Coconut Milk||0.33 cup||45||0||5||1|
|Chicken Stock||1 cup||10||1||0||1|
With the ingredient swaps and omissions of taking out the high-fat ingredients, we were able to cut down the calorie content to 342 calories with 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of fats, and 74 grams of carbs, making the dish much more manageable for a healthy diet.
Most of the carbs will come from the butternut squash, which is to be expected as fruits are largely made of carbs. But most of the unnecessary fat has been cut out, which has reduced the calorie content by over 60%.
Great for Weight Loss– Given the high fiber and nutrient content at a very low-calorie density, squash is a great weight loss food. The fiber makes you feel full more easily while the nutrients will help power your body.
Nutrient Dense and Low Calorie – Squash packs a ton of nutrients and vitamins for a very low-calorie density, including but not limited to vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin e, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Check out this article from Healthline to learn more about all of the nutrients in butternut squash.
Helps with high blood pressure – Contains potassium, which helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
Conducive to Eye Health – Butternut squash contains beta-carotene and Vitamin A, which are vital nutrients for eye health.
High Fiber Helps with Satiation – Dietary fiber is necessary for a healthy digestive system. 1 cup of butternut squash has about 7 grams of fiber, which is a sizeable amount of the 21-30 grams of fiber recommended by MayoClinic.
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