From the menu of: MetroFresh

MetroFresh’s Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (Styling by Mitchell Anderson / Contributed by Adrienne Harris)

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MetroFresh’s Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (Styling by Mitchell Anderson / Contributed by Adrienne Harris)


MetroFresh

931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta.

404-724-0151; www.metrofreshatl.com

Q: When my friend, who is a fantastic cook, and I go to the Midtown theaters, we slide into MetroFresh for soup and a side. They had a terrific butternut squash soup that we'd like the recipe for if they will give it up. Thank you. — Janet Fried, Atlanta

A: Mitchell Anderson has just published his cookbook, "Food and Thought," a collection of recipes from the MetroFresh menu and excerpts from his daily blog which he began writing when the restaurant opened in 2005. It just happens that this recipe is in the cookbook, along with the recipe for a butternut squash soup made with apple cider.

"Food and Thought" was released last Sunday and is available in the restaurant and at www.metrofreshatl.com. He notes that the book includes recipes for healthy and comforting breakfast entrees, soups of all kinds, seasonal salad creations and easy, beautiful dinner entrees.

As for this soup, Mitchell notes that it’s vegan and gluten-free. “Butternut squash is one of nature’s wonders. Its naturally creamy, earthy taste can be enjoyed without any guilt whatsoever. We make squash soup all the time — winter and summer and it’s always a best-seller. This version is my favorite for its bright, light ginger/citrus flavor. You’ll sweeten it up with a dash of maple syrup but other than that there is nothing ‘bad’ in it.”

He also notes that peeled, diced butternut squash is now available at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores, making this soup a quick and easy dish to make.

MetroFresh’s Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

4 cups diced butternut squash

1/4 cup minced ginger

4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup fresh orange juice, with pulp

Real maple syrup and salt, to taste

Orange zest and thinly slivered basil, for garnish

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add squash, ginger and vegetable stock. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add orange juice and using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully puree soup in the jar of a blender. Taste for seasoning and add maple syrup and salt to taste. Garnish with orange zest and basil. Makes: 6 cups

Per 1-cup serving: 221 calories (percent of calories from fat, 28), 6 grams protein, 36 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 596 milligrams sodium.