The black bean-garlic sauce (a staple Chinese stir-fry ingredient) gives it a rich, fermented, salty element that tames the squash’s sweetness, while the puffed rice cereal adds an everso light crunch.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups squash or pumpkin purée
1 medium potato, diced (1/2 cup)
¾ cup diced tomatoes (1/2 can)
pinch cayenne pepper
bay leaf, thyme sprig
4 cups water
black bean-garlic sauce, puffed rice cereal, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and sauté 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the garnishes. Cover, and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

Place 1 tsp.  black bean-garlic sauce in a small bowl, and stir in 1 tsp. hot water. Drizzle the mixture over each serving of soup, and sprinkle with puffed rice.