Warm Satisfying Butternut Squash Soup
I am not a fan of 'mainstream dieting' which is being widely promoted in the media at this time of the year. Cold weather, reduced activity and indoor living all take its toll on our bodies.
Cravings for warm, filling, comforting foods increase as our bodies try to adjust to the cold season. Unfortunately we often satisfy these signals with simple sugars and foods rich in processed carbohydrates/fats.
With this in mind I thought of my recipe for butternut squash soup. It has sweet, spicy and savoury undertones and is loaded with essential nutrients which help to prevent cravings for stodgy foods.
Tip: Ditch the cold salad and eat according to the season
Homemade broth is an essential ingredient to this soup. It gives the soup a wonderful savoury flavour and also provides key minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in a form your body easily understands. These minerals have been extracted from the bones by long slow cooking. Look at my broth recipes for how to do it. I used chicken bone broth.
If you are vegetarian, don't worry, a homemade vegetable broth made with a range of vegetables and most importantly seaweed like kelp will also provide these essential minerals.
The protein element of this soup is mainly from the lentils but you could replace them with any other bean, sprouted legumes/seeds/grains or meat/fish. It's up to you.
Here's how I made my soup.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 cup pre-soaked lentils (soak for a minimum 3 hours, helps them to cook faster)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or clarified butter
- 1 onion
- 1 whole garlic bulb
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 3-4 cups homemade chicken broth
- Unprocessed Salt (Himalayan, Celtic Sea Salt etc) - to taste
- Black pepper - to taste
- 1 tsp cumin/coriander ground up
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Peel the onion, garlic and ginger and either chop into medium pieces or blend with a little water. I prefer to blend, it speeds up the cooking process.
- Melt the coconut oil in your pan and then add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or so then add the chicken broth.
- Whilst the broth is heating up chop up the butternut squash, remove the seeds. You may leave the skin on if you want.
- Add the chopped butternut squash to the broth.
- Next, add the lentils to the broth.
- Add seasonings: salt, pepper, ground cumin/coriander and turmeric and adjust to taste if necessary.
- Stir and bring up to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer until everything is tender.
- Blend up the soup to the consistency you prefer. If it is too thick add some more broth or even plain water.
- Garnish with chopped herbs like coriander, parsley etc. I used spring onion.
Great Things About this Soup
The thick texture of this soup is warming, filling and satisfying. It doesn't burden the digestive system, instead it supports digestion and helps to prevent issues like constipation.
By the way it contains so many health-supporting ingredients:
- Ginger is great for the circulation, especially beneficial at this time of the year
- Onions and garlic have antibacterial/antifungal properties. They also help to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Supports growth of gut-friendly bacteria
- Turmeric a powerful antioxidant which supports liver with detoxification and helps to prevent the blood from becoming thick and sticky
- Black pepper is warming to the body, antibacterial and helps to clear mucous
- Cumin contains antioxidants and helps to aid digestion and prevent bloating and spasms
- Coriander acts as a digestive and also helps to prevent bloating/spasms
- Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids which are not stored as fat but used as an energy source. Lauric acid which is a powerful antifungal. if you use clarified butter then this imparts its own unique flavour and it contains fat-soluble vitamin A which helps your body absorb minerals.
- Chicken bone broth contains minerals extracted from the bone which essentially help to strengthen your bones and teeth. If the broth contains gelatine then this helps to build collagen and heals gut inflammation
- Butternut Squash is loaded with antioxidant beta carotene and contains vitamin C. It contains both soluble and insoluble fibre but is particularly rich in soluble fibre which can help lower cholesterol, prevents constipation and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria
- Lentils excellent source of protein and insoluble/soluble fibre which also helps support movement of digesting foods within the digestive system.
Tip: You could replace one meal a day like this. I would probably choose this for my evening meal as digestion slows down towards the end of the day.
Have a go and let me know what you think.