Fall is here! Nutritionally speaking this gorgeous & brightly colorful season offers a bounty of different types of hardy winter squash and pumpkins to brighten up your soup pot and at the same time bring you a nourishing anti-oxidant beta-carotene kick. Add some other orange veggies high in carotenoids and phytochemicals such as sweet potatoes and carrots, and you have the anti-carcinogenic power of orange all in one bowl.
In addition, winter squash are very high in complex carbohydrates and fiber (great for keeping your blood sugar in check) and have medicinal properties that benefit the digestive system. They provide vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium, and are a rich source of carotenoids, the pre-cursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the liver, is a potent neutralizer of free radicals. Beta-carotene has been shown to play a role in cell-to-cell communication, helping control cell growth. (AICR). Research has shown that vitamin C can protect a cell’s DNA by trapping free radicals and preventing the formation of carcinogens.
Last week I came home with our share from our CSA farm loaded with winter squash in different shapes and sizes. There was no other option but to haul out a sharp knife and…
- 2-4 winter squash (dep on size). Here I used 1 each of blue hokkaido pumpkin, kabocha squash and turban squash (truthfully, I needed to google their names…)
- 1 sweet potato or yam, cubed
- 1 large carrot, cubed
- 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- ¾ cup of red lentils, rinsed and drained. No need to soak or pre-cook.
- Liquid: either home-made stock, or organic low sodium ready-made broth (e.g. Pacific brand) or dissolve 2 organic vegetable stock cubes (e.g. Rapunzel brand) in 4-5 cups of hot water.
- Spices to taste: celtic sea salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, pinch of cayenne pepper (if you want your kids to eat this soup, be very careful here, cayenne is very potent)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- The delicious key here is to roast the squash first! Cut off the stem of your squash, then half it with a sharp knife and some elbow grease, remove seeds & pulp, place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast at 400 deg F for 45-60 minutes. A knife should easily slide in when done. Scoop out the flesh and put aside.
- In a large pot, sweat the onion on medium-low heat in a little olive oil or coconut oil for about 6-10 minutes, add chopped garlic for another minute, then add the sweet potato and carrot, stirring for about 2-3 minutes, add the lentils, stir another 2-3 minutes, add the liquid (stock or broth) until all ingredients are covered and there is enough room for liquid to boil off. Simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes, add the roasted squash and all the spices to taste. Let cook for another 10 minutes. When done and cooled, puree in a blender or food processor.
A creamy pureed soup often benefits from a dash of cream. As I limit my dairy intake I have adopted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen”.
Cashew Creme Instructions
I throw it all into my blender, it takes a few minutes until a delicate smooth texture develops. It is really yummy! As you would with regular cream, just swirl a dollop into your soup, and enjoy!