Roasted Tomato, Squash & Coconut Milk Bisque

I’m suffering from a major case of autumn envy.

On Facebook friends who don’t live in Los Angeles talk about brisk, sunny days and post photos of themselves wearing adorable trench coats and boots while I sit, sweating, in a limp tank top and stupid shorts. It’s October. It was 96°F today.

So in rebellion, I made soup.

I’ll admit there is something nice about the overlap between summer’s bursting produce and the comforting vegetables of fall. Dark red summer tomatoes are cheaper at the farmers market now, as vendors try to sell off the last of the season, and winter squash has started popping up, with names straight out of J. Crew’s fall collection. Butternut. Ambercup. Acorn.

This summer-fall hybrid time seemed like the perfect moment to try a recipe I pinned ages ago, a vegan tomato-squash bisque made with coconut milk instead of cream from the lovely blog Honest Fare. The tomatoes and squash are roasted first to concentrate their flavors, then simmered in coconut milk and vegetable stock before being whizzed into a smooth puree.

To play off the coconut, I added fresh grated ginger to the mixture and skipped the basil called for in the original recipe. I also used light coconut instead of full-fat, which I think lets the flavors of the vegetables come to the forefront: the bright tomatoes, the sweet squash. It’s a cross between a Thanksgiving-ready creamy butternut soup and a fresh summer tomato soup and I like it so much I’ve made it twice, even during this endless Indian summer.

Roasted Tomato, Squash & Coconut Milk Bisque

Yield: 2 quarts

{ Ingredients }

10-12 roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 cups winter squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
Vegetable oil
Lemon (optional)

{ Directions }

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over both sides of the tomatoes. Place the squash on another baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over all sides of the squash. Roast the tomatoes and squash for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through. The tomatoes should be shriveling but not bursting and the squash should look nicely browned.

Chop the onion, mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When the tomatoes and squash are almost done, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, squash, coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash is very soft. Taste and add salt if needed.

Let soup cool slightly and puree until very smooth with a stick blender or in batches with a countertop blender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a squeeze of lemon if soup needs a little brightness. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze for up to 3 months.

• For a pretty garnish, reserve a couple tablespoons of coconut milk to drizzle over the soup before serving.

• I've made this soup with butternut squash and ambercup squash (the cut squash pictured above), but any type of firm, orange-fleshed winter squash would be tasty.

Adapted from Honest Fare.