Squash. This too wasn’t something that I regularly ate. I think the closest I ever came to eating something in the same family as squash was pumpkin, probably like you have–in a slice of pumpkin bread or a bar delicately frosted with buttercream frosting.
Well, I suppose I’ll be honest–I never really had it before a few weeks ago. Maybe in a mix of roasted vegetables, but never had I even purchased butternut squash before. But now…this soup has made its way into our dinner menu about 3 times in the last month or so.
Squash, squash, squash. Say that quickly 3 times. I think its a funny word, don’t you?
Funny word or not, winter squash (different than summer squash, like zucchini) is on the American Institute for Cancer Research‘s list of Foods that Fight Cancer. The winter squash has thicker skins in comparison to the summer squash. You are most likely familiar with butternut, spaghetti, hubbard, and acorn squash that can be found more regularly in grocery stores.
This family of winter squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is not only important for eye health, but also our immune health and maintaining healthy cells. They are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. (Foods That Fight Cancer, n.d.)
Have you heard of carotenoids before? Carotenoids are the yellow, red, and orange colors that are created by plants (Carotenoids, 2009).Winter squash contains the carotenoids beta-carotene and alpha-carotene which can act as antioxidants. Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the yellow pigments in winter squash, help protect the lens and retina within our eyes. (Foods That Fight Cancer, n.d.)
One thing to know, which I did not, is that winter squash can last for 2-3 months at room temperature, or even slightly cooler. However, you do not want to refrigerate your whole squash as it can actually spoil quicker. (Foods That Fight Cancer, n.d.)
Do I need to list more reasons for you to start incorporating this soup into your menu too?
We pair ours with the Cranberry Kale Salad and tops it with some soup crackers. This is a hearty meal that is sure to warm and fill you up–with fewer calories!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 clover garlic, chopped
- 2" piece ginger root, grated
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 6 cups diced roasted butternut squash*
- 2 small apples, diced with peel
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup 2% milk
- Ground pepper, salt, and/or hot sauce to taste
- Garnish with fresh or dried parsley
- In a large pot, saute onion, celery, and garlic. Add dry spices and ginger. Cook on medium low-heat for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables are softened.
- Add the stock, apple, and roasted squash. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Once the vegetables are all softened, puree the soup with a food processor or immersion blender. Add milk and cook on low for a few moments, allowing the milk to heat but not boil.
- Season to taste. Add parsley as garnish. Enjoy!
- *To roast squash, check out this video: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442481233
Carotenoids. (2009, June). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/