While the days are still short and the temps cold, I know it's time for the slow-roasted goodness of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. The apples add sweetness, and the cayenne provides a touch of heat, while pureeing it in its entirety gives this soup a rich, silky texture.

I could tell you I make this soup entirely for its flavor, but the truth is I equally adore the warmth and aromas that arise from the oven as the vegetables slow roast. Garnish it with roasted pumpkin seeds or enjoy this with a loaf of crusty bread smothered in fresh cream butter.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 medium to large butternut squash, cut in half and seeds left in 
• 3 medium onions, cut in half with skins removed 
• 1 whole head of garlic 
• 2 medium apples, cored and chopped, skins left on 
• 6-8 cups vegetable stock (for a larger squash, use more stock) 
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
• 2 tsp dried thyme 
• 2 tsp sea salt 
• 2 dashes cayenne pepper 
• Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil. Assemble butternut squash, onions and the foil-covered garlic on the baking sheet.

Roast for 1.5 to 2 hours or until everything is soft and lightly browned.

While the vegetables are roasting, simmer the vegetable stock with the apples and spices over low heat.

Once vegetables are fully roasted, discard the butternut seeds and scoop roasted butternut squash out of its shell with a spoon. Place squash and roasted onions into the pot. Cut the top quarter off the roasted garlic, squeeze out all the roasted cloves and also add to pot.

Simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are soft. Then puree completely with an immersion blender or run batches through your regular blender. Top with freshly ground pepper.