Autumn is my favourite season, and squash, my favourite vegetable. It only seems reasonable to share with you a ‘change of season soup’ that honours the joy I feel through these elements.
But first, about my love for this time of year. Autumn is a time of year to embrace the contractive process of inner workings such as personal reflection and meditation. The light energy of summer days transforms into new observations to be curious of. The crisp air questions your thought patterns, colours re-align your path of vision, and the sounds around you soften. Outward dimness challenges the inward letting go of old patterns that no longer serve you in exchange for positive presence. Autumn brings to light your authentic gifts and it inspires you to share them. The leaves that are your exterior no longer need to hold on — they fall gracefully, giving priority to harvesting your sources of root nourishment and the honouring of your magnificent core. This is a season of entering into being in lieu of doing.
Soup making may seem like a ‘doing’ process, but it is so much more than that. Cooking to me is a form of meditation — the time flies by as I get lost in using all of my senses and I use this information intentionally to make delicious, nutrient dense creations.
A version of the following recipe is actually one of the first pureed soups I have ever made, amongst 100’s of experimental and note-worthy batches. Did I ever tell you that I was once studying to become a chef? My first job as a cook apprentice was to make two daily soups for a catering company I worked for — one cream or pureed soup and one that was broth and chopped vegetable based.
My chef assured me that soups are magical — a kitchen sink, stone soup kind of thing. She told me to be creative and to incorporate these four foundational steps, which she taught me prior: Number one, learn how to make a solid stock (be it animal or vegetable), number two — learn how to make a ‘roux’ (a mixture of fat and flour to thicken the soup), number three — don’t forget your mirepoix (a mixture of flavourful vegetables, most commonly carrot, onion, and celery), and number four — most importantly, after adding ingredients and seasoning, taste and adjust!
Needless to say my taste buds went to work. I tasted A LOT of delicious and disgusting, ahem, interesting roux-gone-wrong soups. During my apprenticeship my most memorable soups included a roasted vegetable herbs de provence soup, barley beef and mushroom soup, cream of vegetable soup, and a tomato bacon and rice. I think I only got yelled at once!
What I learned beyond those four steps over the years are refined elements of what my apprenticeship experience taught me. Stock is essential yet you can get by with substituting its flavour with a sautéed mirepoix of onion, garlic, carrot, celery — depending on what colour you want your soup to be. For extra flavour you can add a good amount of coconut aminos, ginger, butter (or ghee), herbs, spices, and sea salt. Roasted veggies and meat drippings are perfect for stews, and a splash of vinegar along with fresh herbs at the end of cooking adds something special to its finishing touch. As for thickening your soup — you don’t need flour! Add extra vegetables (whether pureed or whole) to thicken it, reduce it by cooking the liquid for longer, and if tolerated add some cashew cream, full fat coconut milk, and/or white rice. For my final tips. . . pay attention to colour, practice the preparation, practice the mise en place, and practice the soup making magic.
Benefits of Winter Squash:
Winter squash includes butternut, kabocha, delicata varieties, acorn, spaghetti, hubbard, and more! They vary in taste and colour, from mildly sweet and less dense (spaghetti squash), to sweet and most dense (acorn and delicata).
Squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and C, and it contains a spectrum of complementary whole foods vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, B vitamins, E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, along with essential fatty acids.
Spaghetti squash is particularly low in FODMAPS (per 1 cup serving). The remaining varieties contain moderate amount of FODMAPS — sensitivity depends on individual sensitivity of the short chain carbohydrates oligosaccharide and polyols, and serving size.
Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin and is commonly incorporated into a healing SIBO dietary protocol.
Winter squash is moderate in salicylates, excellent for those who are on low thiol diets, and is a soothing ingredient to add to low-histamine protocols.
Traditionally, squash is a healing food for all body systems since it is easy to digest, hypoallergenic, and nutrient-dense.
Energetically winter squash is warming and sweet. It enters the lung, large intestine, spleen, and stomach meridians. Beneficially it tonifies qi and it regulates blood circulation, cold, damp, and phlegm.
Squash soups are creamy and sweet, nutrient dense, and perfect to refrigerate or freeze in portions for future meals ahead. Be creative with additions and toppings. I used to blend the following recipe with roasted red pepper, and sometimes I’ll add a drizzle of coconut milk to serve. Top with roasted cauliflower, kale chips, and protein of choice. Take gratitude in the harvesting of you energy through mastering the art of soup and stew magic — the winter season ahead will thank you.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Yields: 5 – 8 servings, 8 cups
1 large kabocha or butternut squash, 4 cups cooked flesh
1 – 2 shallots, chopped and pan-fried
1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 – 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 can full fat coconut milk (I use guar gum and xanthum gum free), approximately 1 3/4 cups
1 orange or lime, fresh squeezed juice
3 – 4 cups water or bone broth, to desired consistency
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. sea salt
Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half. If you’re using the butternut squash — cut off the ends, stand the squash on its end, and slice lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon.
Place the squash halves on a baking sheet. Lightly grease its flesh with coconut oil or ghee. Place on the middle rack in your oven and bake for 40 minutes or so, or until it looks golden brown.
Meanwhile, pan-fry the shallot and garlic in coconut oil or ghee over medium low heat.
Measure four cups of cooked squash and transfer to your blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Drizzle with cashew cream or full-fat coconut milk and serve with non-starchy vegetables of choice and protein.
Coconut-free Variation: Blend 2 cups of cooked butternut squash with 1 medium red onion (steamed or oven roasted), 2 (+) cups of water, a nub of fresh minced ginger root, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. This makes a yummy sauce for vegetables as well! Yields 4 – 5 cups.
If you’re interested in nutrition and acupuncture I’d be happy to guide you along. Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online or call 250-590-4341. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
Wishing you love & vitality,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC