Butternut squash soup with chicken is a one-pot recipe packed with lean protein, savory Italian sausage, tender butternut squash, kale, and white beans for a healthy meal.
Butternut squash soup is a comforting fall recipe. The balance of protein from lean chicken and sausage, with tender squash, fiber rich beans and plenty of leafy green kale makes this a complete meal.
I started making this hearty soup a few years ago after my son James was born. I was in need of an easy to prepare and nourishing meal after long nights with our newborn and the grueling days back at the office. To maximize my time, a big pot of chicken butternut squash soup was the answer. This recipe makes plenty of leftovers for the next day too.
How to cook butternut squash soup
When fall and winter vegetables are in season, butternut squash is a perfect addition to the soup. In California we have squash available year round, so the opportunity to make this recipe is not limited. Here are some key tips for preparing butternut squash soup:
- Preparing: Butternut squash is from the species C. moschata. It has a thick hard outer skin, with vitamin and mineral rich orange flesh and seeds. The most challenging thing about cooking with this pear shaped vegetable is peeling and cutting the butternut squash. I start with cutting off both ends. Then cut off the skinny part of the neck, followed by a cut through the center of the widest part to reveal the seeds. Many people roast the seeds and eat them. Once the seeds are removed, a vegetable peeler or chef’s knife is used to remove the tough skin. From there just chop into smaller cubes.
- Cooking: The squash can be steamed, roasted, sautéed or simmered. For this recipe, the squash is sautéed first to promote new flavor and colors through the Maillard browning reaction, and then submerged and simmered in broth to tenderize the vegetables.
Tender and moist pieces of poached shredded chicken add extra protein to the soup. A generous amount of chopped kale adds nutrients and fiber. The firm leafy texture becomes softens when simmered in the soup. A few pieces of Italian sausage add a nice savory and spiced flavor to the soup base, making each bowl even more enticing.
For a creamier soup, I take a portion of the cannelloni beans and butternut squash then purée them together in my Vitamix blender. This additional step thickens the soup, so it feels more filling.
Butternut squash soup with chicken and veggies makes for a comforting meal after a long day. It soothes you from the inside like a hug, making you feel all warm and cozy. The soup tastes even better the next day. I’ll be packing some for lunch! If you are looking for more quick and healthy butternut squash recipes, try my maple roasted butternut squash tacos or rustic Italian butternut squash soup.
What is the Poaching method for cooking chicken?
Poaching is a very gentle wet cooking method that slowly cooks a protein like chicken at low temperatures (170 to 180°F). The chicken is submerged with at least 1-inch of water, heated to barely a simmer, and cook until the center of the breast reaches 160°F. Poaching allows the chicken to be cooked through while still keeping the meat moist and tender. This method works well for leaner and more tender cuts of meat or fish that do not have a tougher connective tissue. The cooking liquid can be flavored with stock, herbs, and seasoning if desired to infuse more flavors.