Roasted Kabocha Soup with Chicken Sausage and Spiced Pepitas

I just got back from vacaaation! It was so.much.fun. I ran a bucket list marathon and the husband and I stayed in NYC for the rest of the week and explored. We had a blast, but that's a whole other post though!

Before I left for NYC I was going through the taper phase of my marathon training. I call it taper madness. For all my non-runner friends out there, it is a time in training where runners have to...well, taper. Basically slow down and let your muscles repair and rest for the big day. Ugh, its terrible. I had to stop lifting weights, stop doing my strength training, and had to cut back on my mileage. I have a real issue with taper time. All of a sudden there are extra hours in the days and I'm not as tired as I usually am...sounds like a good thing right?! But, after 6 months of training and going non-stop, adapting can be rough. My activities tend to shift from running related to cleaning, organizing and cooking related.

This recipe came from my taper time when I was trying to pack on some carby vegetables in my diet. Plus, it was a great chance for me to try out my new Nutri Ninja!!

I've been trying all sorts of different squashes this season and Kombaca has easily become my favorite. Have you heard or seen one of these before? They are also known as a Japanese Pumpkin. and it was completely foreign to me until I walked into my local Trader Joe's and they were sampling some one day. It was love at first...bite. It is slightly sweeter than butternut squash, but it has less calories per serving and is packed full of vitamins. 

Adding the chicken sausage to this soup is totally optional, but it adds this spicy kick that is slightly addicting. 

I've eaten this soup for all three meals, breakfast with a side of eggs, lunch, and dinner. The pepitas (pumpkin seeds), add a roasty, salty crunch to the end that can't get enough of. 

I have to thank the lovely people of at Ninja letting me try this bad boy out. It is kinda awesome! I was actually on the hunt for a new blending machine when they contacted me about trying their's out. I usually use my Cuisinart PowerBlend Duet™ Blender/Food Processor when making soups, but the blender part isn't high powered enough to get a soup smooth and if I use the food processor part, it spills every where. I had absolutely no problems with the Ninja and its blending. It made the soup smooth in one shot and has several options for which blending power you want to use. The only draw back is that I have another gadget on my counter. The combo Cuisnart was nice, because it was 2 machines in one, now I have to drag out the food processor parts if I want to shred sweet potatoes or something. If the Ninja has a processor blade attachment, I would be all up in that. I plan to write a full review on the blender, but I want to try a few more recipes first! So stay tuned for that - but, so far so good. 

Roasted Kabocha Soup with Chicken Sausage and Spiced Pepitas
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

For soup:
1 (4-lb) kabocha squash, halved and seeded
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 water

1lb ground chicken sausage, such as Iserino's

Roasted spiced pepitas:
1 cup raw pepitas
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Roast squash:
Preheat oven to 400°F

Cut the squash down the middle and scoop the seeds and insides out. Lightly coat the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast squash, cut sides down, on baking sheet until tender, about 45 mins - 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin and set aside.

Make soup:
Add olive oil to a pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, broth, and water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Purée soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Return soup to pot and reheat. If necessary, thin to desired consistency with water.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Make pepitas:
Toss pepitas, oil, and spices in a bowl until the seeds are coated well. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Roast the seeds in your preheated oven 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. You'll hear them pop as they cook. It's normal.

Make sausage:
Brown sausage in a medium non stick skillet over medium heat until cooked through, breaking the meat up as you cook it. Drain excess fat as needed.

Serve one generous cup of soup topped with cooked sausage and pepitas.

Store leftovers in airtight containers for 5 days.

Happy Sunday!



Disclaimer: I received a beautiful Nutri Ninja Blender DUO with Auto-IQ in exchange for an honest review and feature on my blog. Full review to follow and all opinions are my own, as always.

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