Rising to the Challenge with Bakery-Soft Butternut-Spinach Rolls


This is my second entry in the Everyday Cooking Challenge from Pacific Foods. Challenge #2 required using a creamy soup from Pacific Foods and spinach. I had an extra “challenge” since my options were limited. Pacific offer a wide range of creamy soups, but only four are dairy-free, so from this selection I went with Butternut Squash Soup as I find it would lend itself well to recipes. I really wanted to try something different and innovative to really transform the soup. So into Butternut-Spinach Rolls the soup went.

The recipe turned out so much more incredible than I could have expected. They’re so soft and tender. Like in smoothies, the spinach imparts a light green hue and some nutrition, but it doesn’t affect the flavor. The butternut soup has a mild sweetness and a nice rich texture that actually works beautifully as both the liquid in this recipe and as a subtle flavor enhancer.

These rolls can be shaped and made free form to use as buns, or you can do like I did and go for pull-apart style. We used them as breakfast rolls (with a little Earth Balance and jam for my husband), sandwich buns (they are gently sweet, not over the top), and dinner rolls. Those of you with allergies, an unstocked fridge, or who are vegan, will appreciate the spot on texture of these rolls sans eggs!

Oh, and did I mention how wonderfully tender these are? Think you can’t make bakery-soft buns? Think again…

Special Diet Notes: Bakery-Soft Butternut-Spinach Rolls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.


Butternut-Spinach Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 1-1/2 cups Pacific Foods creamy butternut squash soup (can use homemade if you prefer)
  • 3 ounces spinach leaves (1 cup somewhat packed)
  • ¼ cup coconut Oil, palm oil, or shortening (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2-1/4 Teaspoons (1-1/4-Ounce Package) for higher altitude
  • ¼ cup sugar (can sub evaporated cane juice / sucanat or coconut sugar for an unrefined option)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
  1. Warm the soup a bit (you want it to be pretty warm to activate the yeast, but not too hot, which could kill the yeast). Place it in your blender and blend with the spinach until smooth.
  2. Place the soup mixture, oil or shortening, yeast, sugar, salt, and wheat flour in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Gradually add in the bread or all-purpose flour until the dough reaches a nice soft, pliable consistency that you can handle. As it gets thick, you will want to knead it with your hands. I used just over 2-3/4 cup flour.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to lightly coat it with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour. I actually use a pyrex bowl that has a lid - it works great!
  4. If making pull-apart rolls, lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Divide the dough into 12 or 18 equal pieces and form each piece into rounds. Place the rounds in your prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise again, until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. If the air in your kitchen is too cool, preheat your oven to warm, turn it off, place the dish with your dough in the oven, and leave the oven door propped slightly open.
  5. When the dough is almost done rising, preheat your oven to 400º F (205º C).
  6. Bake the rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tops take on a golden hue.


About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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