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This post is by contributing writer Bethany Wright.
Without a doubt, fall is my most favorite season. I love it all: the cooler weather, the splash of color on the leaves, the coziness of being wrapped in sweaters, and the warmth from a bowl of delicious soup.
The first time I ate Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup, I’m pretty sure I died and went to heaven. The taste was equal parts savory and sweet; the texture was creamy and rich. Because I knew that Panera’s ingredients weren’t all that great (albeit, they have made a real effort in recent years), I knew that I absolutely had to start making this soup at home.
Several years went by before I attempted to make this soup on my own. And once I tried it, my response was immediate: this was even better than I remembered!
Before I tried making my own version, I found many recipes that were heavy into dairy and/or involved too many steps: peeling squash, dicing squash, roasting squash, and THEN combining and cooking into soup.
I needed a dairy free, lazy-chef version!
I love that this recipe – which used to literally take hours – can now be ready in a matter of minutes.
The first major time-saver I came up with was to use pre-peeled, pre-cubed butternut squash from the grocery store. Granted, it does cost a little more per pound to buy your squash pre-prepared.
But once you find yourself frustratingly hacking the peel off of three butternut squash on a cooking day, I promise you’ll agree this little convenience is worth it!
The second major time saver was to make this soup in the Instant Pot. If you don’t have an electrical programmable pressure cooker, no worries. You can still make this soup on the stove, boiling until the squash is tender – about 45 minutes. But if you make it in the Instant Pot – it will be ready in 10 minutes. BAM.