Honestly, this has to be one of fanciest dishes that I’ve ever made. There is just something about that puff pastry top that takes this humble Roasted Butternut Bisque over the top. Under that crispy, flaky “en croute” is a rich, unctuous bisque that rivals any of the seafood-based soups out there in the world. Roasting the squash and lightly toasting the tomato paste really adds a ton of depth to this dish, and don’t get me started on the richness that the coconut milk adds to this decadent vegan bisque.
For how rich and decadent this bisque is, there are surprisingly few, easy-to-find ingredients.
- Butternut or honeynut squash – The first test of this recipe was made using honeynut squash, and the results were incredible. My only complaint was that I needed a whole honeynut squash to make bisque, but I wanted to have a bit of squash leftover to add to the soup before serving. If you have access to honeynut, I would strongly recommend it. If butternut is all you can get, the soup will be just as delicious, plus you’ll have a bit of squash leftover to add a bit of texture to the final dish.
- Celery – I’m not a huge fan of celery in dishes, except for when it’s pureed or completely invisible. Celery does add a great layer of flavor, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can leave it out.
- Onion – Pretty much every savory recipe I cook starts with onion. This dish is no exception. Any type of onion will work in this bisque, so use what you like.
- Garlic – Just like onion, it’s a staple for pretty much any savory dish. The garlic flavor isn’t overpowering in the final dish, but if you’re not a fan, leave it out.
- Olive oil – Normally bisques of this nature use butter and flour to thicken it, but I’ve opted for olive oil instead. Use your favorite olive oil or neutral cooking oil, or use your favorite vegan butter. If you really wanted to make the bisque portion of this soup oil free, you could easily omit it.
- Tomato paste – Much of the richness from the soup comes from the lightly toasted tomato paste. Canned or tubed varieties will work.
- All-purpose flour – This bisque is thickened with a flour and oil roux, and all-purpose flour does the job perfectly. If you wanted to make the bisque position of this soup gluten-free, you could easily use your favorite gluten-free flour instead, but I recommend just mixing it with a bit of the broth before adding it to the soup instead cooking it with the olive oil like you would do with AP flour..
- Cognac or brandy – If you can’t or don’t want to include alcohol in your food, I get it. Even though the alcohol fully cooks out of the dish… However, if you want that distinct and authentic bisque flavor then brandy or Cognac is a MUST.
- Vegetable broth – Any type of vegetable broth will work here, so use your favorite. The salt content of that broth, though, will require you to adjust the seasoning accordingly. I used “Vegetable” flavored Better Than Bouillon when testing and filming this recipe, and for me, it provides the perfect amount of saltiness. Just taste your bisque before serving to make sure that has enough flavor.
- Full-fat coconut milk – When testing this recipe, deciding what to use for the creamy portion of the dish was the most difficult. I considered silken tofu, or cashew cream, or even using Better Than Bouillon with almond milk to make a creamy veggie broth. In the end, I decided on full-fat coconut milk. It provides the perfect texture, but doesn’t actually leave a dominant coconut flavor. You could use one of the other ideas I had if you don’t care for or can’t have coconut milk, but even if you’re not a coconut fan, I promise that you’ll still love this bisque.
- Red pepper flake – I like a bit of kick to my bisques. Not a fan of heat at all, leave it out. Love a lot of heat? Add a bit more.
- Vegan store-bought puff pastry – Who knew that the old faithful, store-bought frozen puff pastry dough was accidentally vegan? I did. But if you didn’t, well, now you do. Check the ingredients if you come across a store brand or something other than the Pepperidge Farm brand I used in the recipe video. Just make sure to plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator before trying to roll it out and cut it into shape.
- Half-size baking sheet – The standard-sized cookie sheet is the perfect size for roasting the squash, onions, and celery. Also, if you’re cooking off more than one bisque “en croute” at a time, it helps to organize them on a baking sheet for easy handling in and out of the oven.
- Blender or immersion blender – You need a way to blend the cooked veggies, so either a standard blender, a Bullet blender, or an immersion blender will work. See the notes in the recipe if you are planning on using anything other than an immersion blender. It helps to blend the veggies with a bit of broth before adding it to the bisque so that you’re not trying to blend a whole pot of hot soup.
- Oven-safe bowls – If you want the full “en croute” presentation, then you need oven-safe bowls. If you don’t have any that you can safely place in the oven at 400 F., then you can just bake discs of puff pastry separately and top your bisques with them before serving.
- Rolling pin – Puff pastry needs to be rolled out slightly just to remove any creases and to just thin it out a little bit. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle or any type of bottle that will get you the same effect.
Easy Vegan Roasted Butternut Bisque “en Croute”
A rich and decadent vegan bisque with a deliciously flaky crust
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut or honeynut squash
- 1 rib celery
- ½ yellow or sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, divided
- Red pepper flake to taste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ package vegan store-bought puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
- ¼ cup reserved coconut milk
- fresh chives
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel and cut squash into ½ inch cubes. Dice the onion and celery. Toss the squash, celery and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and spread evenly on a half-size baking sheet. Bake at 400 F. for 35 to 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Check that the squash is fork tender before removing the tray from the oven. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot on medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste in the oil for 2 minute, or until very fragrant. Add flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Carefully add Cognac or brandy, and stir until fully evaporated. Slowly pour in 2 cups of vegetable broth, stirring continuously, working out any lumps that develop*.
- In a blender, combine ⅔ of the roasted squash (about 1lb) and blend with the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth. Pour the blended squash mixture into the pot with the other ingredients.
- Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and pour in 1 cup of coconut milk.
- Allow the soup to simmer and thicken for about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately, adding a bit of reserved roasted squash to each bowl, or swerve “en Croute”
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Open thawed puff pastry, and roll it out slightly, repairing any splits at the folds. Cut circles that are slightly larger than your oven-safe bowls**. Add about ¼ cup of reserved roasted squash to the bottom of each bowl. Fill bowls with hot Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque, leaving at least ½ inch from the top. Brush a bit of coconut milk on top of the circles, and around the rim of your bowls. Cut a small slit into the center of the puff pastry circles before placing them on top of the bowls, coconut milk side up.
- Bake at 400 degrees F. until the puff pastry has risen and is a beautiful golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven. Garnish with fresh chives. Serve immediately.
*If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to remove any remaining lumps before serving.
**If your bowls are not oven safe, cook the coconut milk coated puff pastry disks on a baking sheet in a 400 F degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.