Thursday, October 27, 2011

Healthful Butternut Squash Soup!

A few weeks ago my parents brought me some fresh butternet squash from their garden...and I have been itching to experiment with making soup. When our bible study cancelled due to the "Come to the Well" tour, it provided me an opportunity to do just that.
It's important to know that I am the ONLY one in my family who likes squash. So when my husband and son both say "it's not my favorite, but I would eat it again", I consider that a victory. I even worked turmeric into this as it has so many anti-cancer fighting properties, and decided to extol the benefits of many of the ingredients below.
Overall I thought my soup turned out well, although not as thick as it was when I had it this fall at a little diner. I am not sure what was used to thicken the soup, but do know that the things I used to use to make creamy soups, aka "cream of ___" this or that, are processed cans of unhealthiness and I steer clear of them now. Primarily we now have only broth based type soups at our home. This soup, however, is creamy and delicious.
I will add that when I googled a recipe for butternut squash soup - there are lots of varieties and comments. I tend to read the comments and take note of the things I would like. I also substituted healthier choices in my ingredients...and just for my readers, here it is:

1/2 large onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 T extra virgin olive oil
16 oz organic chicken stock
12 oz almond milk
4 cups cooked butternut squash
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. nutmeg
3/4 c. plain probiotic yogurt (optional)
Grated Parmesan Reggiano (optional)

Chop onoin and pepper fine in food processor, saute in EVOO, with turmeric, until onions are translucent. Set aside.
Add broth to soup pot.
In blender pureee 2 cups cooked squash with 6 oz. almond milk, add to soup kettle. Repeat.
Stir in onions and peppers, as well as spices. Simmer until heated through.
Add 3/4 cup plain yogurt. Stir. Heat through once more.
Serve - garnish with grated cheese or red pepper slice, or a few sprigs of thyme.
Note: Omit dairy if lactose intolerant.

Nutritional Info:
Turmeric and onion
both have anti-cancer nutrients. Onion can help relieve abdominal pain. Studies show that the antioxidants in turmeric kill cultures of cancer cells from the skin, bloodstream, and ovaries (but note that it must be mixed with extra virgin olive oil for the body to untilize those anti-oxidants).
EVOO prrovides beneficial Omega 3s for brain, heart, circulation and joint health.
Almond milk provides an abundance of magnesium (which most Americans tend to be deficient on), calcium, Vit. B12, D, zinc and more (with no cholesterol)
Butternut squash, rich in carotenes, provide a very good source of vitamins B1, B6 and C, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, fiber, and potassium.
Red bell peppers also provide carotenes and much of the same nutritents as the squash, but in addition provide important phytochemicals such as chlorogenic acid, zeaxanthin, and coumeric acid. In addition, red bell peppers have one of the highest concentrations of lycopene which protects against cancer and heart disease, and even cataracts.
Cinnamon helps control insulin
Ginger contains properties to help lower cholesterol levels, and relieve allergies, asthma, arthritis, colds, and nausea. Nutmeg helps relieve or prevent flatulence, and to break up chest congestion
Probiotic live culture yogurt can help aid in digestion.

Hope you have a chance to make this while the squashes are most fresh! I baked my squash, scooped out the good stuff and froze it for soup making this winter as well.

To your health!
Rita S.

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