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Savory Squash Soup

Savory Squash Soup

When the hot days of summer give way to cooler windy weather, our bodies need food that is warming, grounding, and soothing. Ayurveda tells us warm foods with sweet, sour, or salty tastes calm and rebalance vata the cool, dry, restless energy that tends to become excessive in the fall. Your body knows this intuitively, which is why a steaming bowl of soup and a hunk of crusty sourdough bread is so appealing on a blustery autumn night. Ayurveda also tells us that our digestive fire weakens as the sun sets. This is why many yoga practitioners eat a light supper it improves the quality of sleep and frees the body to cleanse and repair itself.

Because of its smooth texture and rich nutrients, squash makes a particularly good base for soup. One cup of cooked winter squash provides 80 calories, about 25 percent of the daily requirements of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. Squash is also an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which has powerful antioxidant properties and supports bone health, vision, and immunity.

This easy soup can be prepared with any variety of winter squash. Look for Hubbard, acorn, butternut, and buttercup squash at your local farmers’ market. If you find a good source, stock up. These hard-skinned beauties will last for months in a cool, dry place. Serve this soup with bread and cooked greens (their bitter taste will complement the sweetness of the squash) for a grounding supper.

Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
1 small winter squash
(1-1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced
2-3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and brush the flesh with oil. Place in a roasting pan cut-side down and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. As the natural sugars caramelize, the squash will brown, giving it a richer flavor. It’s done when you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Allow the squash to cool for at least 10 minutes before scooping the flesh into a bowl. Mash the cooked squash with the back of a spoon or your hands into a thick paste with an even consistency.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the sliced onion in butter or ghee (clarified butter) until it is soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 30 to 60 seconds.

3. Combine the squash with one cup of water and bring to a slow boil. Thin with more water until it reaches the desired consistency, simmering for 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives, chopped nuts, grated cheese, or roasted garlic.

Variations

For a richer soup, use milk or yogurt instead of water. If you like a little more spice in your life, add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg or curry powder when you cook the onion.

Watch the author make squash soup and an Indian dessert called kheer on our new cooking show at www.yogaplus.org/kitchen.

Jon Janaka has worked in the Himalayan Institute kitchen for the past five years.

Read more: All recipes, Ayurveda, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Soups & Salads, , ,

By Jon Janaka, Yoga+

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Megan, selected from Yoga+ Magazine

Yoga International is an award-winning, independent magazine that contemplates the deeper dimensions of spiritual life--exploring the power of yoga practice and philosophy to not only transform our bodies and minds, but inspire meaningful engagement in our society, environment, and the global community.

47 comments

+ add your own
12:47AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

great article, thank you :)
sounds yummy

11:44AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

definately worth a try

12:05PM PDT on Aug 15, 2010

mmmmmmmmm squash :D

5:35AM PDT on Aug 12, 2010

thanks

9:19PM PDT on Jul 5, 2010

Thanks

8:41PM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

i have made this and substituted a bit of olive oil for the butter and it was great.

5:19PM PDT on Jun 12, 2010

I love squash. It is so nourishing and comforting.

1:47AM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

I tried this recipe and it was delicious.Squash includes acorn, butternut, buttercup, green and blue hubbard, delicious, and banana, providing vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber...
r4 gold

10:51AM PDT on Apr 9, 2010

Can't wait to try this soup! Sounds delicious!

5:56AM PDT on Mar 27, 2010

This sound delicious - thanks for sharing the recipe.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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