Winter squash, in their many shapes and sizes, are the quintessential safe starch. They are packed full of micronutrients and their high pre-biotic fiber content provides important support for beneficial gut bacteria. Butternut squash, Cucurbita moshata, is a variety of winter squash with some particularly interesting health benefits.
Butternut Squash: The Health Benefits
Look inside a butternut squash and the fact that it’s full of micronutrients shouldn’t come as a surprise. Its bright orange color is the result of the phytonutrient beta-carotene . β-carotene, along with α-carotene, are plant pigments called carotenoids. Diets rich in carotenoid-containing foods are associated with a reduced risk of numerous chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts .
β-carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin responsible for numerous biological processes. It plays an important roll in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication .
Butternut Squash Soup: A recipe for 3-seasons.
Whether it’s fall, winter, or spring, butternut squash soup is hearty, simple to make, and easy to digest. Winter squash, in general, can be stored for up to 6 months, making them a 3 season staple. Whether paired with a fresh kale salad in spring or roasted veggies on colder days, butternut squash soup is a delicious way to fill up on safe starch.
- Squash seeds are a great source of zinc and a tasty topping for your soup.
- Microwaving reduces theβ-carotene content. Re-heat over the stove to maximize its nutrient status.
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Cut the stem off of each butternut squash and slice in half longways. Scoop out seeds. Optional: reserve seeds to make toasted squash seeds.
Lightly oil flesh side of squash. Place 2 unpeeled garlic cloves in the hollow of each squash where the seeds were.
Place squash hollow-side down onto baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until the skin side turns slightly brown and a fork passes easily through the thickest part of the squash. Set aside to cool.
Roughly chop onion and sauté in a small amount of cooking oil until it starts to turn clear.
Once the roasted squash is cool, scoop the flesh out of skin and reserve. Peel roasted garlic cloves. Discard squash skin and garlic paper.
Place squash, peeled garlic cloves, and sautéed onion in blender. Add water to the level of the squash and puree.
Pour puree into a soup pot. Warm over medium-low heat. Use a lid while warming the soup as it tends to splatter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Time to enjoy!
Serve with roasted squash seeds, fresh parsley, and creme fraiche.