We all know that pumpkin spice, that ubiquitous fall flavoring for everything from doughnuts to high-calorie lattes, has no pumpkin in, right? It’s just a collection of spices that we associate with the foods we eat in chilly weather: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

Combine them with deep orange winter squashes – from pumpkin to butternut – and you’ve got a delicious and satisfying soup that packs a nutritional wallop. And this recipe is low in calories, no fat (unless you load it up with butter), high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Even better: Orange-colored fruits and vegetables are naturally high in beta- and alpha-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, giving a boost to your immune system just as we start staying inside more, exposing ourselves to colds and the flu.

This creamy winter soup combines the best of both worlds. It mixes pumpkin spice into a puree of butternut, carrot and apple, making a fall soup with that pumpkin spice flavor so many of us love. It’s fitting, actually: Some brands of canned pumpkin actually are made from other winter squashes, including butternut.

A word on working with butternut squash: You can find squash that’s already peeled and diced in many produce departments. But it’s not that hard (and usually cheaper) to peel your own. To tackle the tough skin, prick the squash all over with a fork, then microwave for 5 minutes. It won’t cook the squash, but it will soften the skin. Or cut the squash into large sections, then scoop out the seeds and remove the skin with a serrated-edge vegetable peeler, which is made for tackling tough jobs.

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Pumpkin spice butternut squash soup

Adapted from EatingWell magazine.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion (about half of a medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 to 8 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 2 medium squash)
  • 2/3 cup apple, cored and chopped (leave the peel on)
  • 1/2 cup carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar (or a sugar substitute, such as Splenda brown sugar blend)
  • 5 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 5 tablespoons roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

In a 4- to 6-quart pot with a lid, warm oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook a minute longer, until fragrant.

Stir the squash, apple, carrot, salt, pumpkin pie spice and black pepper. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook about 25 minutes, until squash and carrot are tender and easy to pierce with the tip of a knife.

Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk and brown sugar.

Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, blend until smooth, adding a little water if needed to reach desired consistency.

Serve soup warm, topped with yogurt, pepitas and a little more pumpkin pie spice.

Per 2/3 cup serving: 131 calories; 16g total carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber; 5g sugar; 4g protein; 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol; 133mg sodium. (If you use a brown sugar substitute, it will cut the calories to 129 and the sugar to 4g.)

Note: To make your own pumpkin spice, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. This will make more than you need in the soup, leaving extra for the rest of your fall cooking and baking.