Consider this a middle-eastern approach to chili. Harissa stands in for the usual chili powder for heat, color, and flavor. You can find harissa in powder and paste form but our favorite is salsa-like Mina brand. It comes in both mild and spicy so shop according to your heat preference. We pureed some of the chili to create a super rich and silky base but, if you’re ready to upgrade your typical butternut squash soup to one with a little more personality go ahead and puree all of it. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
1 large (3¾ lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 ½-in. pieces (about 8 cups)
2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1½ cups vegetable broth
⅓ cup harissa
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
⅓ cup raw pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas)
½ teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)
Garnishes: labneh or plain Greek yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro leaves
How to Make It
Combine squash, onion, chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, harissa, pepper, paprika, and 2½ teaspoons of the salt in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until squash is tender, about 8 hours. Stir in vinegar. Pour 1½ cups of chili into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender, and place a clean towel over opening in lid to prevent splatters. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add mixture back to unblended chili; stir to combine. Turn off slow cooker; cover to keep warm.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pepitas evenly on a baking sheet, and cook in preheated oven until toasted, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven; toss together in a bowl with oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.
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