Monday, February 27, 2012

butternut squash soup & spaghetti bread


When Nic and I were in Chicago a few weekends ago, we stopped at Karyn's on Green for an early lunch before we made the trek back to Iowa.

As we stepped in to the restaurant, I immediately knew we were in for a treat, despite there only being three other parties dining at the time (it was about 11:00 on a Sunday morning, I thought for sure there would be a wait for brunch).

Nestled into Greektown, Karyn's on Green is a stylish vegan bar and restaurant that Nic and I will for sure be visiting again on our next trip to Chicago. With the tag line making vegan sexy, you should give it a try too.

As we sat at our table sipping coffee, I was torn between ordering breakfast or lunch. With the recommendation of our server, I decided to go with breakfast, meaning I wasn't going to be ordering the butternut squash soup that I had my eye on. And although the chilaquiles I ordered were amazing, the thought of that soup never escaped my mind.

Lo and behold, not a week later, I received my latest order from Barnes and Noble which included Thrive Foods, Brendan Brazier's latest book of 200 plant based recipes. In this book, Brazier mentions Karyn's on Green as one of his favorite restaurants to visit while in Chicago, and, to my delight, included the recipe for the butternut squash soup that I had been eyeing!

I was finally able to make the soup on Friday night, and served with a big wedge of "spaghetti bread," it was a dinner that lived up to every expectation.

Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash soup is good enough to warrant a trip to Chicago just to enjoy a bowl at Karyn's on Green, but simple enough to make at home. And although you won't be savoring each spoonful in the chic, stylish restaurant, you can still make vegan sexy and wow your family with this easy two-ingredient soup.


Slightly adapted from Thrive Foods, via Karyn's On Green

In the mix::

  • 3.25 pounds butternut squash (2 medium squash)
  • 1-15 ounce can coconut milk (full-fat)

To prepare::

Cut the cap and bottom off each squash. Cut in half lengthwise, and then half again. Roast in a 400* oven for 30 minutes-45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool.

When cooled, scoop the flesh out of the squash and spoon into a blender. Add coconut milk. Use a towel to cover the blender (instead of the lid) and blend until spoon.

Pour soup into a medium sauce pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and heat through.

Serve with a wedge of spaghetti bread.


Spaghetti Bread {herb parmesan bread}
This bread is a favorite with my family. The recipe is from and old, very worn, recipe book with tattered pages, and a creased spine that falls open to this recipe the moment you set it on the table. Most likely the only recipe that is used in the book, it very well might be the most treasured recipe in the entire house. The bread screams comfort, and is quickly whipped up whenever kids make the long trek (from Iowa, Texas or Sweden) to Mom's house.


Slightly adapted from our family cookbook, originally from that one cookbook in my Mom's bookshelf
Makes one round loaf.

In the mix::

  • 2 cups warm water (105* - 115*)
  • 4.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar per original recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or butter per original recipe)
  • 1/4 cup + 3 T nutritional yeast (or 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese per original recipe)
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 4.25 cups flour
  • freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sea salt

To prepare::

Pour water into a bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Allow to set a few minutes, or until yeast becomes frothy. 

Add honey, salt, olive oil, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, oregano and three cups of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix on slow until blended, and then mix at medium speed for two minutes, or until smooth.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, switch to hook attachment, and gradually add in the remaining flour. The dough will be sticky.

Cover with saran wrap and a towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until light and bubbly and more than double in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 375*. 

Lightly grease a 1.5 or 2 quart casserole.

Using a wooden spoon, stir down batter and beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Turn batter into casserole, brush with olive oil, sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and oregano.

Bake 55 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn out onto a wire rack. Cool and cut into wedges.


  1. you are correct. this is the only recipe I've ever made from this cookbook. I didn't want to be disappointed with any of the other recipes since this one was so satisfying!

  2. The butternut squash soup looks and sounds delicious! I visited Karyn's on Green a couple of years ago, and I was really impressed. It was one of my favorite vegan meals ever. Chicago is so blessed with phenomenal restaurants, especially now that Native Foods has come to the area.