Adapted from Eating Well; makes 8 servings. Ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes, but only 40 minutes is active time
1 tablespoon butter (use canola oil for vegetarian cooking)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 pounds winter squash, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)
1 plum tomato, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or 1 thai chili pepper, smashed with the side of the knife)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 15-ounce cans pinto or other brown beans, rinsed
10 ounces spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
Melt butter (or oil) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrots, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add broth and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add squash, tomato, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is very soft and almost breaking apart, about 20 minutes.
Transfer 3 cups of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Or, use an immersion blender and pulse until about 25% of soup is broken down. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the pureed soup to the pot if using a blender. Stir in beans and spinach and cook over medium heat until the beans are heated through and the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.