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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: I love winter squash. And there’s no better way to enjoy this cold-weather vegetable than to make a delicious soup—or two. This month I offer you several versions of this Kripalu guest favorite, including one that incorporates the beautifully red pomegranate seed. Make a pot for someone special this Valentine’s Day and sprinkle it with love. I highly recommend you use organic squash for these recipes. Besides being great for our bodies and our planet, they just taste more delicious. Enjoy!

Creamy Vegan Ginger Squash Soup

Serves six.

1 whole butternut or buttercup squash
1 yellow onion, sliced on the grain
1 carrot, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 or more tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
Sea salt to taste

Begin by peeling, deseeding, and cutting the squash into large pieces. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Add the carrots, celery, and squash pieces and stir until all the vegetables begin to sweat. Add a pinch of salt and the ginger, and cover with water or stock. Allow to simmer until squash is soft. Using an immersion blender (if you have one) or a regular blender, blend the vegetables into a puree. Adjust seasoning as needed, adding more ginger and/or salt.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Ginger to Cool Inflammation

Ginger has been used by many cultures to fight inflammation for thousands of years. The active compound in ginger, 6-gingerol, blocks the activity of an enzyme that produces inflammatory hormones. One tablespoon of fresh ginger or one teaspoon of dried ginger will each offer significant potential at helping cool the inflammatory fires within. It should be noted that while dried ginger is more concentrated, it has lost some of its antimicrobial ability.

Variation: With Pomegranate for Love

Deb Morgan: For a little flavor and flair, consider adding pomegranate seeds to top off the recipe above. To prepare the pomegranate seeds for eating, first cut the pomegranate in half. Then place the pomegranate halves in a bowl of cold water. With a spoon, scrap the red seeds away from the skin and white membrane. The seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Discard the skin and strain off the membrane. Then, after tasting some of these scrumptious seeds, sprinkle them on top of your blended squash soup. I love the combination of sweet squash with the tart and sweet seeds. Plus, it looks beautiful!

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: The Power of the Pomegranate

Quite possibly the single most antioxidant-rich food discovered yet, pomegranates (Punica granatum) are, medicinally, an incredibly potent fruit. They are also a rich source of a group of polyphenolic substances known as ellagitannins. While polyphenols in general are widely distributed throughout the plant world (tea, berries, spinach, etc), ellagic acid and these ellagitannins are harder to find—and valuable because they have been shown to stop tumor growth in a wide variety of cancers (in animal studies), lower blood pressure, help shrink enlarged prostate glands, and reverse arterial plaque development. Pomegranates also prevent damaging oxidative stress from occurring, protecting us from the development of numerous diseases related to free radicals.

Squash Bisque

A more decadent version of the squash soup.
Serves six.

1 butternut or buttercup squash
1 onion
2 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter
1 cup heavy cream or ¼ cup maple syrup
3 cups water or stock
½ tablespoon salt or to taste
Pinch nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Place squash face down on a baking tray (put a little oil on the tray). Bake at 350 degrees for a half-hour or until squash is soft. Meanwhile sauté the onion in the Earth Balance (or butter) in a soup pot and set aside. When squash is soft, remove it from the oven and carefully scoop out the sweet insides from the skin. Place squash (minus skin) in the pot with the onions, add cream or maple syrup, plus the water (or stock) and spices, and use an immersion blender to blend. (You could also do this with a regular blender in batches.) Add salt to taste and simmer until heated through.

Recipe source: Deb Morgan, Executive Chef, Kripalu Kitchen.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.