I love going to the farmers market this time of year. You can really see the full bounty of the season, and usually start seeing some winter squash become available. I found a great recipe that uses squash and sweet potatoes, both of which are used medicinally in Chinese Medicine.
Foods that come from the earth and are yellow in color (like squash and sweet potato) are considered great for strengthening our digestive energy, the Spleen and Stomach. The earth organs of Spleen and Stomach are foundational. Like the foundation of the house, they support the whole of the body. These foods create strong muscles and give you vibrant energy and are great at regulating the digestive symptoms (such as giving you great bowel movements whether you are experiencing constipation or looser stools),
Both winter squash and lentils in particular are said to help clear dampness in the body. Dampness can be related feelings of heaviness, having conditions like candida, or experiencing phlegm or mucus. Dampness can also be linked to ‘fuzzy thinking’, so increasing these foods can help you get clear mental focus!
You are getting the idea- this soup is great for you and super delicious! I made up a batch of it this weekend and packed it up in glass jars to have for lunch during the week.
Thanks to Oh She Glows blog for the recipe!
Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup
For the stew:
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
- 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups (400 g) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (100 g) dried red lentils, rinsed**
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if you like heat
- Fine sea salt, to taste (I use 1 1/2 teaspoons pink salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 teaspoons (15 mL) apple cider vinegar, or to taste
- 1 bunch chard, stemmed and finely chopped***
- Fresh cilantro or parsley, minced
- Cooked rice
- Garlic powder and chili powder
- To a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
- Add the squash and sweet potato and stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt and continue sautéing for a few minutes longer.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with juices), coconut milk, lentils, tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. (If you are spice-shy, feel free to add half the amount to start and increase from there after cooking, to taste.) Stir well to combine.
- Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, stir again, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash and potato are fork-tender. Reduce the heat if necessary.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to taste. Adjust the other seasonings if desired.
- Optional step: Using a handheld immersion blender, blend the stew for only 2 to 3 seconds (any more and you’ll blend too much of the veggies). This thickens the broth.
- Stir in the chard, and cook for another couple minutes until the greens are wilted.
- Scoop some cooked rice onto the bottom of a bowl and then ladle the stew overtop. Garnish with minced cilantro or parsley and a good dusting of garlic and chili powder, if desired.
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and they freeze beautifully too.
* Make sure to dice the squash and potato very small (about the size of almonds), as this will expedite cooking. Also, if you are short on time, you can skip peeling the butternut squash as the skin is edible. (I don’t recommend skipping peeling the potato, though.)
** You can swap the red lentils for 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed).
*** You can swap the chard for 5 ounces of baby spinach or a bunch of kale (stemmed). I recommend chopping the greens into small bite-size pieces for easier eating.
(written by Julie)