By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Versatile and vibrantly colored, winter squashes like butternut, acorn, and pumpkin have, for centuries, kept us tided over with veggie nutrition through cold weather scarcities. Harvested in the summer and fall, these stalwart winter squashes simply keep so well that they’re available for most of the year.
Besides being hearty and reliable, winter squashes are also super nutritious – rich with orange and yellow pigments, acorn, butternut and other winter squashes are full of antioxidant carotenoids – plant pigments that help protect our bodies from free radical stress.
Full of heart-healthy fiber, winter squashes are also great sources of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, and minerals like copper, manganese, and potassium. To make sure you absorb as many of the squash antioxidants as possible, make sure to prepare it with some fat, preferably a healthy monounsaturated fat like olive oil.
Here are two of my new favorite squash recipes using some of my crushed flavored olive oils – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe with Crushed Jalapeño-Garlic Olive Oil
- 6 to 8 cups of chicken broth, preferably organic or free range
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut in half
- ½ to 1 cup chopped onion
- Olive oil (to sauté) – EVOO or spicy olive oil
- Spicy olive oil (as a finish)- Jalapeño, Jalapeño-Garlic, OR Habanero flavored
- 3 to 5 Tsp Mexican Spice Blend
- Salt Blend and Pepper Blend
- Optional: ½ to ¾ cup coconut milk
- Optional (for garnish): Pea shoots, other microgreens or chopped, fresh parsley
In a large soup pan, sauté the onions in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over low heat until they start to soften and are translucent. You can use EVOO or a spicy olive oil, though I wouldn’t sauté in the habanero oil unless you want a very hot and spicy soup (it’s THAT hot!).
While the onions are cooking, peel the squash, cut it in half and scoop all the seeds out. Slice into 1” pieces, and add to the soup pot and stir. Add the chicken broth, and bring to a light boil, then simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes. Turn off the stove, and allow the soup to cool enough to blend it up using an immersion blender or countertop blender. Blend the soup in batches, then add Mexican Spice Blend, Salt and Pepper to taste.
If you like a creamier soup, add a little coconut milk. Serve in individual bowls, then drizzle with a spicy olive oil of your choice. Remember, the habanero is super hot and spicy, so initially go with just a few drops, then taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If you’re using the Jalapeño or Jalapeño-Garlic olive oils, you can be more generous with your drizzle; they’re much milder than the habanero oil. Garnish each bowl with a few grinds of pepper and optional greenery.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Crushed Rosemary Olive Oil
- 1 acorn squash
- Olive oils – EVOO and/or Crushed Rosemary Olive Oil
- Red onion – 1 small or ½ large, sliced into rounds
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- ½ to 1 cup slivered almonds
- Salt Blend and Pepper Blend
- Fresh parsley for garnish
To make: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush a baking sheet or pan with olive oil (EVOO or rosemary). Wash the acorn squash, then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into smaller slices, then spread over the surface of the pan. Add sliced onion and sprinkle garlic slices in, then grind fresh pepper and salt blend over the veggies. Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil, and lightly toss the mixture. Bake for about 40 to 50 min, or until tender. Remove from the oven, then serve with a drizzle of rosemary olive oil, garnished with slivered almonds and parsley.
From my heart to yours,
Sinatra ST. Phytochemicals: Carotenoids and Flavonoids. Heartmdinstitute.com, last accessed April 1, 2019.
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Squash, Winter. Last accessed April 1, 2019.
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