roasted butternut squash soup with almond ricotta and coconut bacon

whoa, book parties are like weddings! everybody is sooooo nice and you get to schmooze until your face feels like it's gonna fall off, and when you you can no longer stand upright in your party shoes or speak clearly because you were singing sia as aggressively as sia herself, you and the other late-night survivors go sit in a booth at your old old standby in korea town to eat kimchi pancakes and bulgogi. and then the next morning even though you're still kind of full from kimchi pancakes all you want is a plate of greasy eggs with cheese and hot sauce and squishy bread, and by gum, it is good.

it's peak amazingness paired with hurty feet and exhaustion, and i wouldn't have had it any other way. 

my book tour has officially begun, but i am home now! for about 72 hours before lift off to boise, and it is so cold here. which is good because for a while last week it was too warm to harvest the beeties. and then it poured, so it was too rainy to harvest... as crazy as this past week was for me in new york, it was even crazier for eggboy because this harvest is one of the most insane it's ever been, apparently. the fields are so wet and eggboy is constantly having to stop to clean mud off of the harvester. oyoyoy. it's a good thing we have a freezer full of soup!

before i left for new york, i made a very large pot of squash soup from ali's new book, inspiralize everything. it is so perfect for this weather right now. it gets a beautiful creaminess from coconut milk (it's vegan!) and has just a bit of spiciness. it's officially one of my very favorite squash soups and i couldn't have discovered it at a better time because our garden is bursting with butternut squash. in ali's book, she adds spiralized apple noodles to this soup, but for this run, another of her squash recipes inspired me--it paired butternut squash noodles with coconut bacon and almond ricotta. ok: coconut bacon is good!!!! my knee-jerk reaction to most fake meat is negative, but i recently bought some coconut bacon and it's so good, sweet, and addictive. it's like smoky candy. i'm so glad i know how to make it from scratch now since when it's store bought it's like a million dollars. so this recipe is a combination of two of ali's recipes and it screams **autumn** in every single way. and it's perfect for sukkot, which is right around the corner! yay!!!! go, ali!!! 

roasted butternut squash soup with almond ricotta and coconut bacon

makes 4 servings

adapted from ali maffucci's inspiralize everything


for the almond ricotta:

in a high-speed blender or food processor, combine the soaked almonds and water. puree until mostly smooth, with some texture but no large chunks remaining. place a fine-mesh strainer or colander over a bowl and line with cheesecloth. add the almond mixture and drain for 8 hours. discard any liquid that collects in the bowl. transfer the ricotta to it and season with salt, pepper, and the herbes de Provence.

for the soup:

preheat the oven to 425ºf. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. put the butternut squash cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle the inside of the squash with the coconut oil. rub it in with your fingertips or a brush. season with salt and pepper. flip over the squash and bake for 45 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. let cool for 5 to 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and transfer it to a bowl, discarding the skin.

while the squash cooks, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. when the oil is shimmering, add the shallot and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

transfer the shallot and garlic to a high-speed blender. add the squash, nutmeg, chili powder, broth, coconut milk, and salt and pepper to taste and pulse until creamy, about 1 minute. taste and adjust seasoning to your preferences.

for the coconut bacon:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

in a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, liquid smoke, and tamari. add the coconut flakes and stir to coat. season with salt, then spread the coconut flakes over a prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. bake for about 10 minutes.

divide the soup among four bowls and top with pepitas, ricotta, coconut bacon, and more pepper.


for the almond ricotta:

2 c raw blanched almonds, soaked in filtered water overnight, rinsed, and drained

1 c filtered water

salt and papper

1/2 tsp herbes de Provence

for the soup:

1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded

1 tb coconut oil, melted

salt and pepper

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (just a pinch)

1 tsp chili powder

2 c low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can lite coconut milk

for the coconut bacon:

1/2 tb maple syrup

1 tb liquid smoke

1 tb tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 c unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded)


for serving

1 tb roasted and salted shelled pepitas