I’m up at my 160 acre ranch near Vernon, BC, Canada, working on a new book, and the sunshine on the snowscape is just so inspiring I came in after chores to make this nourishing, yet fresh, winter sunshine soup!

Ranch Vernon, BC

I’m going to give you instructions for 2 versions; depending on whether you like some chew to your soup, or if you like a smooth puree. And I’ll also give you some suggestions if you want to add some extra protein to these delicious veggies and gut-soothing broth.

But before we start, I want to tell you a couple of my recent favorite hacks:

1. I make a ton of gravy every time I make a roast chicken dinner. Then I freeze the leftover in a ziplock bag and can easily cut off chunks (see photo below) to flavor soups like this, or for noodle stir-fries.

2. I’ve been doing the same thing with pesto. I buy a fresh basil pesto from my organic grocer, then I freeze it in a ziplock bag after a few days of use (before it goes off). Then I can easily slice off chunks to mix with my homemade mayo – and voila – a wonderful pesto mayonnaise for chicken strips, scrambled eggs, sandwiches etc.

You’re welcome! Now let’s get to our soup…

Winter Sunshine Soup

1 small butternut squash
1 small – medium head of cauliflower
4 sticks celery
1 yellow onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp chicken gravy (if you don’t have any, then use chicken bouillon with a bit of water to dissolve, and add extra dried herbs like thyme, basil, cilantro, paprika)
5-6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth works too)
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 heaped tsp cardamom powder
Juice of 1/4 lemon (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350F

2. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds (discard). Place squash cut-side down on a baking tray. Then add cauliflower to the tray and drizzle cauliflower with olive oil. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

3. While squash and cauliflower are baking, dice up 1 onion and 4 sticks of celery. Fry together in a large saucepan, with your choice of healthy fat (I used olive oil + ghee). Coconut oil, butter, or pasture-raised lard would work well too.

Winter Sunshine Soup

4. After onion has softened, add 4 tbsp chicken gravy (or bouillon), 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and cook until the onions are starting to brown. Then add 3 tbsp fresh sage leaves.

Winter Sunshine Soup

5. Add chicken broth to your saucepan and stir well.

6. Now your squash and cauliflower are cooked. Peel squash (mine peeled easily with a knife, lifting the skin off, while still hot) and chop together with cauliflower. Add both to your saucepan of soup.

Winter Sunshine Soup

7. Simmer all ingredients together for 10 minutes.

CHUNKY? If you like your soup with chunks to chew, then add the cinnamon, cardamom, and lemon juice – and you’re done! Of course you can also add any diced meat (chicken, lamb or venison would work well) or chopped roasted cashews or almonds for extra protein.

Winter Sunshine Soup

SMOOTH? If you want to puree the soup, then simmer another 10 minutes. Transfer contents to your Vitamix, or use a hand held blender to puree in the saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice – you can also add 1/4 cup roasted cashews or almonds if you want some protein, and blend until smooth. If soup is too thick for your liking, just add more broth, or water, to dilute.

8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy as is, or with crackers, toast points, croutons, or chopped roasted cashews. This is also a great soup to accompany a sandwich or open-face melt. I think you’ll find the flavoring (with fresh sage, cinnamon and cardamom) unique but super yummy 🙂

Sunrise Vernon, BC