Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer

J Michael Winward

Butternut Coconut Celery Root Soup

As I have mentioned before, I became a vegetarian when I was ten years old and discovered that Lisa Simpson was becoming a vegetarian, herself. Paul and Linda McCartney made an instructive appearance on that episode, dispelling the argument Lisa's family had posed against the idea: "You don't win friends with sa-lad!" (chanted to a conga rhythm). Looking back on it, being a ten year-old turning vegetarian all on his own was clearly a tactic for getting attention. "I'm a vegetarian now," I would have said, and would have backed up my reasoning with all the talking points I had just gotten from Lisa and Apu, Paul and Linda. This was the strategy of a dedicated performer. That I am still a vegetarian twenty-one years later speaks more to the power of habit than anything else. That said, the attempts I make at vegan cooking are always purely accidental. It usually occurs to me that what I'm making is vegan about halfway through making it. Such was the case with this soup, inspired by a butternut squash that had been staring at me from the shelf, a can of coconut milk I had forgotten that I bought, and the fact that the unseasonable warmth we had been experiencing in Boston finally gave way to that old familiar feeling of having my face frozen solid. Great time to make a soup. Oh and by the way, it's vegan.




Butternut squash

Celery root

Onion (2 small, or 1 large)

Garlic (2 cloves)

Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)

Coconut milk (about 12 ounces)

Allspice (1 1/2 teaspoons)

Salt (to taste)




Peel and chop the squash. I find it easiest to separate the long part from the fat part, and proceed from there.




Like this.




Peel the celery root, which looks completely bizarre on the outside.




But not so bad on the inside.




Caramelize chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil.




Add chopped butternut and celery root. The pieces can be fairly large, since the soup will be blended in the end. I managed to use all the celery root, but had twice as much squash as I needed.




So I froze the other half.



Cover the vegetables with water and stir in the allspice. Let the soup heat through on a medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.




Blend with an immersion blender (as always, immerse the blender before pressing the button).




Stir in coconut milk and heat through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.




This soup is great on its own...




Or served with Truffle & Herb Croutons (which, as it turns out, are also vegan). Enjoy!

RecipesJ Michael Winward