Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Chickpea Croutons

I don't know what the forecast for your area is looking like for this weekend, but we're supposed to [finally, actually] have seasonal weather here with lows in the low 20s at night! I, for one, am thrilled. I loooove seasonal weather. That means that I love the warming up in the spring, the heat of summer, the cooling down of fall, and the cold of winter. The weather is probably one of the hardest parts of living in the South for me; I want a real winter, and that's something that we just don't have around here. But, I'll take what I can, and sometimes that means turning a blind eye to the fact that the days are likely going to warm up to the 60s while rejoicing over the nightly lows.

There are a lot of reasons why I love cold weather, and one of those reasons is SOUP! The second I turn my calendar over to fall I start dreaming of all my favorite soups. This recipe I'm sharing with you today is one that I've worked on for a couple of years now; I really think that I've perfected it, and it's a household favorite. I hope you'll love it, too!!

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Chickpea Croutons

For the Croutons (idea inspired by Oh She Glows)-- You'll Need:

1 15oz can of chickpeas

2 TBSP coconut oil

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, ground

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp pink sea salt (or whatever salt you prefer)

What You Do:

Rinse chickpeas and pat dry. Mix with the oil and spices, and bake at 400F in a single layer for 10 minutes. Shake the pan and then bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy on the outside. Set aside.

For The Soup-- You'll Need:

1 medium-large butternut squash

3 TBSP butter

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups whole milk

2 tsp chili powder

1 TBSP fresh thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, ground

2 tsp paprika

What You Do:

Cut the squash in half. Melt butter and pour over the squash. Place the squash in a 9x13 cut side down and roast at 400F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender (note: if you time things right you can back the chickpea croutons while roasting the squash). Let sit 10-15 minutes and then peel and de-seed the squash. Put the squash and all other soup ingredients in a pot and blend with an immersion blender (or put everything in a regular blender), and blend until smooth. Heat until bubbling. Top with goat cheese or Parmesan, bacon crumbles, and the chickpea croutons.