Winter squash is popular this time of year. These squashes are not just tasty, they also pack a nutritional punch as a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. From acorn to butternut to spaghetti, these squashes’ orange or yellow flesh is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that prevents the cell damage that comes with aging and environmental pollutants. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. What’s more, studies show a beta-carotene-rich diet—from food, not supplements—may also help protect against cancer and heart disease, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Because beta-carotene is fat-soluble, you should add some fat, like a drizzle of olive oil, to ensure the body absorbs it.
Looking for a new recipe celebrating this popular fruit? Try this one for Pumpkin Squash Soup, which highlights both seasonal produce and spices.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes | Servings: 8-10 portions
- -1 butternut squash
- -1 tsp. date sugar (optional substitution: 1 tbsp. butter + 1 tsp. brown sugar)
- -2 tbsp. pumpkin spice (blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, lemon peel, cardamom)
- -½ large cauliflower crown
- -1/4 cup tahini
- -1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- -1 tbsp. curry
- -1 tbsp. turmeric
- -1 tbsp. ground ginger
- -½ purple onion, diced
- -5 garlic cloves, minced
- -1 tbsp. coconut oil
- -1 tsp. oregano
- -Salt and lemon pepper to taste
- -32 oz. carton vegetable broth
- -15 oz. can pumpkin puree, unsweetened
- -Sprouted pumpkin seeds to garnish
- -Cinnamon to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash lengthwise in half, then remove and discard center and seeds. Place round edge of squash on baking sheet, then sprinkle date sugar and 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice on the center. Roast squash at 400 degrees for one hour.
While squash is in oven, cut cauliflower into bite-size segments and set aside in medium-size bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk tahini with apple cider vinegar, then pour liquid over cauliflower in medium bowl. Add 1 tsp. of each pumpkin spice, curry, turmeric, and ginger, and then toss until cauliflower is lightly covered. Remove any excess liquid from cauliflower, and then pour onto baking sheet. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until slightly tender.
While vegetables are in oven, in a large sauté pan or soup pot sauté onion and garlic in coconut oil for about 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent and garlic is lightly browned. When sautéing, add oregano, salt, and lemon pepper to taste. Once cooked, add vegetable broth, and then slowly mix in pumpkin puree until fully dispersed. Add remaining curry, turmeric, pumpkin spice, and ginger.
When squash is fully cooked and tender, remove from oven and let cool to touch, for about 5-10 minutes. With a large spoon, scrape out squash meat into blender and blend until liquid and creamy in texture. Pour liquid into soup base, mixing with a spoon until uniform in texture. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
To serve, pour hot soup in bowl, add slices of cauliflower, and sprinkle pumpkin seeds and cinnamon to garnish. Enjoy!
Guest contributor Kate Moran, RD, LDN, lives in Naples and is the sports dietitian for the Minnesota Twins, based out of the Twins Academy in Fort Myers, and owner of The Educated Plate LLC. Follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter and find her blog here.