One-Pot Meal: Warming Soup With Butternut Squash & Chard

This delicious soup is a nutritious temptation for a cold day. Two of my favorite winter market vegetables are there: orange butternut squash and pale fennel.

The soup’s rich earthiness comes from dark green chard leaves, brightened by the sharpness of lemon, and aromatic dukkah paste.

Fall Market Soup With Dukkah

Serves 8 to 10


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced
  • 6 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups water (see Ann’s Tips)
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (see Ann’s Tips)
  • 3 cups Swiss chard leaves, torn into bite-size pieces (see Ann’s Tips)
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Ingredients for dukkah

  • 3 sprigs mint, leaves stripped
  • 1 sprig tarragon, leaves stripped (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil


1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. When hot, add the onion, fennel, squash, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the lemon zest and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and stir to mix. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently cook the vegetables for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, or until the onion and fennel are soft and the squash is beginning to soften.

2. Add the water and bring the soup to a low boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the squash is just tender but not falling apart.

3. While the soup is cooking, make the dukkah paste: Roughly chop the mint and tarragon, if using, then add the cumin and salt. Chop everything together. When roughly blended, very gradually add the oil and chop into a paste on the cutting board. Set aside in a small bowl.

4. Add the red beans to the soup. If they are homemade, add the cooking broth, too. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chard leaves in two to three batches, adding another as each batch wilts into the soup. When all the chard has been added, cook for 5 minutes, or until completely soft. Stir in the lemon juice and the dukkah paste. Cook for 2 minutes more. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Ann’s Tips

The red kidney beans in this soup are the deep dark red variety used in Italian cooking and not Spanish red kidney beans, also called coloradas, that are, in fact, pink.

When freezing, add the lemon juice and dukkah to the soup once it’s thawed. If that’s a hassle, freeze the soup with everything added, and cut a little wedge of lemon to squeeze over your bowl just before eating.

This recipe was excerpted from Cook for Your Life: Delicious, Nourishing Recipes for Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment.

Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Ann Ogden Gaffney, 2015.

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