Serve this comforting, hearty bean soup in squash bowls for a more festive look!
To make squash bowls:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the bottom portion of the butternut squash. Scoop out seeds and loose flesh. Pour 1/2 inch water into a glass baking dish large enough to hold the squash. Place squash cut-side down in the water. Bake until the flesh is tender when gently poked with a knife, about 30 minutes. In a heavy duty fry pan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil. Add squash cut side down and cook until nicely browned.
To make the soup:
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add broth, squash, tomato, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the squash is very soft, about 20 minutes.
Transfer 3 cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in beans and spinach and cook over medium heat until beans are heated through and the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.