How sweet it is! Why butterNUT, you shouldn’t have? Why you treat me so good? This fall / winter squash glows of orange magic, loaded with carotenoids (read Vitamin A) and antioxidant rich Vitamin C. So, we are supporting your bodies ability to fight against breast cancer from the beta-carotene (potentially awesome) and the high antioxidant content allows this squash to be considered in the anti-inflammatory category, allowing your body to maintain healthy neutral balance. You can eat it cubed and roasted, steamed and mashed, roasted whole, pureed into creamy goodness, really any way you slice it, it’s fabulous. Oh, and about the slicing, you get a little arm workout and improved knife skills when you peel it and cut into it. Add a couple squats or lunges to the mix while its roasting and now I have fed your body nutrient dense food, fighting against disease, increasing your immune function, PLUS given you a workout. What?!!
Read here for some more health benefits (taken from wholeliving.com)
Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.
Squash’s tangerine hue, however, indicates butternut’s most noteworthy health perk. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What’s more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
As if this weren’t enough, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content. Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
Butternut squash soup is a fast, easy way to enjoy this fabulous little gourd. It will warm you from inside out (who doesn’t need that kind of love right now?) and is quite satisfying. The warm spice blend kicks it up a notch and adds that ethnic feel, so your need for cultural expression can be fulfilled as well, two for one… I’m just sayin.
Butternut Squash Soup
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 Granny Smith apples, cubed
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
Condiments for serving:
Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally
Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven (stock pot). Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and butternut squash cubes, stirring to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes just until the outside of the squash gets a little soft, then add the apples. Let the mixture cook for just a minute or two. Add the curry, cumin and paprika and cook for about a minute to let the spices bloom. Pour the chicken stock in the pot and bring it to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Check to see the squash is fork tender and then transfer the mixture to a blender to puree until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the soup. I often add some coconut milk at the very end to give it a little more creaminess. Ladle into bowls and top with an additional toppings. Enjoy!
Thanks for joining me on Foodie Friday! Food is a constant journey that takes you to new places… & I love being part of your journey.