Four Sisters Butternut Squash Soup

Volume X No. 1: November 2020

Four Sisters Butternut Squash Soup

Nancy, Midwife

Nancy, Midwife

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The three sisters – plants that nourished Native Americans for centuries – are maize (or corn), beans, and squash. Adding leafy greens to the mix completes the nutritional value of a meal. Embrace the time it takes to prepare this truly nourishing soup. Enjoy with warm cornbread and honey.
Yields8 Servings
Yields8 Servings
 1 butternut squash, about 2 lbs
 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
 1 medium onion, diced
 2 celery stalks, diced
 1 bay leaf
 freshly ground black pepper
 1 medium apple, grated
 1 tbsp tomato paste (or 1/2 cup rich tomato purée)
 6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
 1 tbsp lemon juice
 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
 1 red bell pepper
 1 ½ cups frozen corn
 4 cups fresh spinach, kale or chard washed well and chopped into small pieces
 1 clove garlic, minced
 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
 Cotija cheese (omit for dairy free version)
Prepare and bake squash

Preheat the oven to 375°F.


Split the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and innards. Coat baking sheet with olive oil, and place squash cut side down.


Bake until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. When the squash is finished baking, flip it cut side up to cool.

Prepare soup

While squash is baking, in a large soup pot sauté onion in 2 tbsp olive oil until soft and deep golden.


Add the celery, bay leaf and black pepper and continue to sauté until the celery is tender.


Add broth and red lentils to the pot and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are very soft.


Scoop the squash out of its skin and add to the soup, along with the tomato paste and grated apple. Let this mixture simmer, about 30 minutes. All of the components should begin to meld.

Prepare veggies

While the soup is simmering, split the red bell pepper in half, remove the stem and seeds and place it cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Spread the corn on the same baking sheet and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over it.


Preheat the broiler and broil the vegetables until the corn is slightly charred and the skin of the pepper is black and blistered. You may have to remove the corn first. Keep an eye on it. It should take about 5-7 minutes.


Remove the pepper to a small bowl and cover it with a plate. Let it steam there until it’s cool enough to handle, then dice it. Let the corn cool on the pan, then mix it with the red pepper dice. Season the mixture to taste with salt. Set aside.


In a pan, sauté the minced garlic in olive oil, but don’t let it brown.


When the garlic smells fragrant, add the chopped greens and sauté until they are wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with apple cider vinegar and salt to taste. Set aside.

Serve and enjoy!

Remove the bay leaf from the soup pot. Using an immersible blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth. Add extra broth or water, if necessary, to thin it.


Add the lemon juice, lemon rind and salt to taste.


Serve the soup hot in bowls. To each bowl add a spoonful of greens and a spoonful of the corn and pepper mixture, and top with Cotija cheese crumbles. Enjoy with cornbread and honey!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 2 cups

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 270
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g13%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1020mg43%
Potassium 710mg21%
Total Carbohydrate 43g15%
Dietary Fiber 14g57%
Sugars 8g
Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 530%
Vitamin C 80%
Calcium 10%
Iron 20%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin E 20%
Vitamin K 110%
Thiamin 15%
Riboflavin 10%
Niacin 20%
Vitamin B6 20%
Folate 20%
Vitamin B12 15%
Pantothenic Acid 15%
Phosphorus 15%
Magnesium 15%
Zinc 6%
Selenium 10%
Copper 45%
Manganese 25%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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