Something really satisfying to me is preparing a meal or dish that I know is 100% good for you, that is rich with color, and that tastes like it was prepared by a gourmet chef. Tonight was one of those experiences and as I was cleaning the kitchen I thought it would be good to post the recipe on the blog. I well remember the early days of our diet changes when it seemed there was nothing to eat because it was all so bad. Something tells me that there are a few of you out there who are feeling the same way. Well here is a totally healthy recipe that is extremely easy to make, and my husband gave it RAVE reviews tonight!
I’ll post the recipe and then add a few comments at the end … Now don’t turn up your nose…
Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon minced gingerroot
1 Tablespoon curry powder or paste
4 cups water (or chicken broth – it will taste better and be healthier)
7 to 8 cups diced butternut squash (this is a large one, about 3 lbs, but mine was about 5lbs … to prepare the squash, peel it, then cut the bulb end off, cut that part in half, scoop out and discard the pulp and seeds and dice; then slice the long end in half and dice; you’ll need a good cutting board and a big sharp knife)
2 teaspoons sugar (this little bit won’t hurt anyone)
1 ¼ teaspoons salt (remember to use real sea salt)
1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I omitted this entirely)
Warm oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Stir in onions, garlic, gingerroot and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle on curry powder and cook 1 minute, tossing continuously.
Pour in water (chicken stock) and bring to a boil. Mix in squash, sugar, salt, and lower heat to a lively simmer. Cook 30 minutes, or until squash is very tender. Pour in coconut milk and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice (I left this out).
Puree soup in batches in a blender and return to a smaller pot, if desired. Reheat before serving if necessary.
This is a rich, creamy, colorful and very flavorful soup. But what makes it so healthy? Several things … For one, butternut squash is in season right now. Eating seasonal vegetables means that it is probably a better price, it has not come a long distance, and therefore it has not lost any nutrients. However, its thick skin does make it keep its nutrients longer. Butternut Squash is a winter squash. One cup has more than 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene which is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B1 and B6, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B3, and pantothenic acids. All of this means that winter squash can help prevent heart disease, osteoarthritis, cancers, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and many other conditions.
Another healthy ingredient in this soup is the ginger. Ginger is so much more than flavorful (which it definitely has a lot of!). Ginger is a very powerful healing herb and is used and respected world-wide for its powerful healing properties. It can help motion sickness, upset stomachs, headaches, congestion, and can even help lower fevers. It helps stimulate circulation, aids metabolism, can reduce spasms and cramps, cleanse your colon, and is also an aphrodisiac and helps with stress relief. Ginger is loaded with powerful antioxidants. It also helps fight off colds, flu, and infections. I have successfully used it to lower fevers, fight nausea, and lessen the severity of colds.
Garlic is yet another powerful healing herb. It is an antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, antispasmodic … Garlic has been successfully used to treat high blood pressure, bacterial infections, gastrointestinal infections, sinus infections, eye/nose/ear infections, and much more. Garlic is truly nature’s antibiotic. But garlic is also directly effective against viruses! I have personally successfully used garlic to treat colds, viruses, and ear infections.
There is no way I could begin to tell you all the great things about coconut products, one of which is the coconut milk that is used in this recipe. Lauric acid is the principle fatty acid in coconut milk. It has potent antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. It supports your metabolism and is excellent for your thyroid. Contrary to what you may have heard, coconut products can help you lose weight! There is definitely not room here to tell you everything about coconut!
Finally, this soup is great for you because its base is chicken stock. Chicken stock, and all meat stock, is a basic element for a healthy diet as long as it is homemade. The store bought stuff in a can is loaded with chemicals that will damage your health. When meat stocks are properly prepared they will be loaded with minerals, namely calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The gelatin that comes from the stock bones is helpful in fighting and preventing cancer, bone disorders, arthritis, and other similar ailments. And it isn’t just a folk tale that chicken stock is a cure for the flu. It is good for flu, colds, asthma, and many other health problems when consumed frequently. And one of the most important aspects of meat stocks is that it aids in your digestion. If your body is not digesting well, then it can’t get all these great nutrients from your food. I plan to post about making healthful chicken stock soon.
Well, now you can understand why I was so jazzed about tonight’s soup. Isn’t it so cool that just one dish can do so much? And if you listened to typical, conventional diet advice you would have missed out. Maybe you will try this recipe too. It really is a good thing.