Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Salsa and Blue Cheese Cranberry Scones

Disclosure: This #CookWithCranberries post was sponsored by the Cranberry Marketing Committee as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was provided with samples for recipe testing and compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting the brands I love that make this blog possible! 

It may be Halloween, but today I'm here to talk about another holiday, Thanksgiving - or more specifically, Friendsgiving!

Let's be honest. I love you family, but Thanksgiving is stressful. Friendsgiving is fun.

The potluck-style meal means less work for the host, who is only in charge of the main. With the cooking spread out between guests, there's less likely to be a disaster. And even if a dish is a fail, we all know at least one friend who will happily devour it.

At Friendsgiving, there's no threat of sibling to sibling combat.

Inappropriate jokes are highly encouraged.

And no matter how the meal turns out, there's no judgement, only gratitude, because at the end of the day, your friends are just happy to drink wine and eat boxed macaroni and cheese with you.

The other cool thing about Friendsgiving is that it's much more acceptable to experiment and make things outside of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, since everyone will get their fill of turkey, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce in just a few weeks. As long as you incorporate traditional Thanksgiving ingredients, you're good to go!

This recipe uses fresh cranberries in two unique ways - as a fresh, cool garnish over a creamy roasted butternut squash soup, and to add a tart bite in savory blue cheese scones.

I love to use fresh cranberries at Friendsgiving (and Thanksgiving!). They're harvested in the fall, so your fresh cranberries will be packed with the peak amount of nutrients. Pick up an extra bag and freeze them to use throughout the rest of the year. I love to add a handful to my smoothies for a tart twist!

Not that nutrition should be high on your list of concerns when coming up with your Friendsgiving day menu, but you'll be happy to know your cranberry dishes are sneaking in a blast of nutrients into whatever delicious dishes you make with them. Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain the antioxidants resveratrol, piceatannol, and pterostilbene, which may benefit cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation.

If you love cranberries as much as I do and have a delicious cranberry recipe up your sleeve, enter the Friendsgiving Cranberry Contest for a chance to win one of eight $500 prizes! Simply snap a picture of your Friendsgiving cranberry creation and post it to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #FriendsgivingCranberryContest. For more information and the contest rules, go to CranberryFriendsgiving.com.

Connect with the Cranberry Marketing Committee:


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Salsa

Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Serves: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Soup

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 pinches nutmeg

Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 Granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Rub cut side of squash with tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a large baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle, then peel away skin from the flesh and discard the skin.
  2. While squash is roasting, make the salsa. Place cranberries, apple, jalapeno and maple syrup in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Place squash flesh in the pot. Add 4 cups broth. Using an immersion blender, puree until creamy and blended. Add more broth to get to desired consistency. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in maple syrup and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with salsa and a drizzle of olive oil.

Whole Grain Blue Cheese Scones with Fresh Cranberries

Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Serves: Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using your hands, mix in coconut oil, pressing together flour mixture and oil until it's completely incorporated and forms a sandy texture. Slowly pour in buttermilk and mix together until incorporated.
  4. Stir in blue cheese and cranberries. Form dough into a large ball. Turn out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet or baking stone. Press the top to flatten slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut dough in half, then cut each half into 4 triangles. Separate the scones on the baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden.