Kelly’s Butternut Squash Soup with Cashew Pesto Drizzle and Arugula Flowers


  • 1 butternut squash, medium to large
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Water
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Arugula flowers
  • Pesto drizzle

Pesto Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup arugula
  • ½ cup raw or roasted cashews
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ of 1 lemon, squeezed
  • ½ cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Optional: If you like spice, throw in a little cayenne pepper


  1. Cut butternut squash in half, seed and peel. Cube the butternut squash and steam for about 7 to 10 minutes or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.
  2. Put the butternut squash in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Add ½ cup water to steam the butternut squash and blend.
  3. Salt to taste and add 2 tablespoons of butter. If needed add more water and blend once again.
  4. Drizzle the pesto on top of your butternut soup. The pesto adds flavor and a spike of color.
  5. Garnish with the peppery arugula flowers.

Pesto Sauce Directions

  1. Put your garlic, cashews, arugula, basil, and lemon in a high-powered blender or a food processor (depending how you like the texture) and blend.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend again.
  3. Lastly, add the Parmesan cheese and salt to taste.
  4. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want to spice it up and blend.

Makes: 6 servings Total Time: 30 minutes

recipe_kellyAbout the Chef

Name of Chef: Kelly Emberg the Model Gardener
Family: Mother – Kay Emberg,
Father – Ron Emberg, Father’s Wife – Susan Emberg,
Husband – Michael Padilla, Daughter – Ruby Stewart,
Sons –Tyler Jenkel and Cole Brodin
Community: Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks South Side
Hobbies/Interests: Growing my own food, inspiring people to take a closer look at what they are eating, and empowering them to take their health into their own hands through their diet. I enjoy taking pictures of nature and the things I grow. I love to workout at the gym when my schedule permits, and I enjoy family gatherings on Sundays.
Favorite Local Activity: My family and I love the Del Mar Fairgrounds and take advantage of concerts in the summer, horse-racing and, of course, the “Scream Zone.” I like visiting farmers markets, the beach, and hiking Torrey Pines Reserve at sunset because it reminds me about how lucky I am to live in this beautiful city. My weekends are spent watching my sons play lacrosse at Torrey Pines and the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, spending time at home gardening, harvesting, entertaining, cooking, and enjoying family and friends.
About the Recipe: I love simple recipes that are easy to cook and are beautiful to look at. This recipe couldn’t be simpler! The vibrant color of the butternut squash is a perfect backdrop for the pesto drizzle. The peppery, edible arugula flowers give this dish that extra something. I grow a lot of butternut squash in the summer. It lasts all winter long, so I serve this to anyone who shows up for lunch or dinner during the holidays and the winter months.
About the Chef: I have had many chapters of my life and they have all helped me become the person I am today. Being an athlete growing up taught me about fitness. Modeling in New York City in the ‘70s and ‘80s opened my eyes to fashion and design. Becoming a mother of my three beautiful children taught me patience and filled me with a love I had never known before. Going back to college at age 30 to follow my dream to become an interior designer taught me that I could reinvent myself and that anything is possible and your surroundings do make a difference. Today, I live in my favorite place so far, San Diego, with my loving husband Mike, two boys, two dogs, a few fish, and a screaming Goffin cockatoo. Since moving here, I have learned how to grow my own veggies, which has changed my diet and the way I treat the planet. Now I have my own radio show called Food Made Simple on iHeartRadio, airing for over a year. My goal is to get people curious about the food they eat, read labels, and support their local farmers. More today than ever people are confused about what is in their food and what it all means. I was too, that’s why I created my show!


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