Fall is officially here and there are still vegetables and fruits, fresh from the farm, available for us to enjoy. One rare treat is Northern Spy apples. I don’t know why these apples are so hard to find most of the year but they are available now. 

They are the best apples for pie but this isn’t a pie story – it’s a soup story. My brother made this soup as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. The Spy apples give a special flavour to the pumpkin because they are very tart. A sweet apple wouldn’t be the same. Granny Smith apples would also work well in this recipe.

The more tart the apple – the higher the phytonutrient content. 

What I would like you to consider is what you can do with a soup like this. The ingredients in the soup, as is, provide good food for the gut plus lots of nutrients for the body. But you can add more good ingredients, as seen in the picture above, and turn it into a meal. Below are suggestions to add to the soup that provide a richness of nutrients. And this is how we should always eat. There is no suffering here – this is soup is delicious.

PS: I did not peel the apples – the skin has the highest amount of pectin which helps feed the good bacteria. It is also where most of the phytonutrients are.

Serves 3-4

1/2 cup chopped white onions
1 1/2 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 cups broth (bone, chicken or vegetable)
1 Northern Spy apple or 2 small Granny Smith* apples, cored but not peeled
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can (14oz or 398ml) cooked pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
Sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp aged raw milk cheddar (grated) or sauerkraut or full-fat yogurt for each bowl of soup

Melt the butter or olive oil in a medium-size soup pot on the stove with medium heat. Add the onions and start to sauté. Cut the apple into 2-inch chunks and add to the pot with the thyme. Stir until the onions are somewhat translucent. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook until apples are soft. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and maple syrup. Stir. Transfer to a blender and blend. Transfer back to the pot and season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese or sauerkraut or yogurt. Serve.

*Northern Spy are large apples and are often hard to find but they’re in season in the fall. Granny Smith are the next best option but their size can vary. If you can not find small Granny Smith’s, then use 1 1/2 normal-size apples. The key is to choose a tart apple which delivers the right flavour.

To make it a meal and add to the diversity to feed the gut:

1. Add vegetables like zucchini, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower – any vegetable that cooks fairly quickly. Add to the soup after it has been blended and retuned to the soup pot and seasoned. Bring to a boil again and simmer for five minutes or until vegetables are cooked.

2. Add 1 can (2 cups) cooked beans such as pinto or adzuki, drained and rinsed. Add just at the end to heat through – or add 2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa or serve with sourdough toast.

3. If you are looking for an animal protein option: Bake a chicken or turkey sausage. Cut it into pieces and add it to the soup when serving.

Tip: Be careful when reheating. The longer the soup simmers, the thicker it gets. It may stick on the bottom and burn so be sure to stir and do not simmer more than 5-7 minutes.