This warming soup features buttery-sweet butternut squash and alluring chai flavors. A garnish of maple-infused cream elevates each spoonful.
5 chai tea bags
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or oil of choice
1 yellow onion, diced
½ fennel bulb, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 pound peeled, diced butternut squash, about 5 cups
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Bring 4 cups water to boil. Place chai tea bags in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiled water over tea bags and let steep 15 minutes. Discard tea bags and reserve liquid.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add fennel, celery, garlic and ginger and cook 2 minutes. Place squash, chai liquid, apple cider, thyme and salt in the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Puree mixture, in batches if necessary, in a blender or food processor until smooth.
4. To make Maple Cream, place sunflower seeds in a bowl. Cover seeds with water and soak about 2 hours. Drain seeds and place them in a blender container, along with ⅓ cup water, maple syrup and nutmeg. Process until very smooth.
5. Serve soup hot, garnished with Maple Cream.
Each serving contains 166 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 108mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 10g sugars, 3g protein, 9Est GL.