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One of my favorite winter solstice meals incorporates the nutty and subtle flavors of butternut squash, and the sweet and crisp flavors of red and/or green apples. Tied together with seasonal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, this soup is sure to tickle the fancy of anyone who tries it.
In addition to tasting delightful, each ingredient in this velvety, sweet, yet savory Butternut Squash and Apple Soup has at least one of these properties that makes ingesting this soup optimal for your health:
- Antioxidant – cardamom, onion, ginger, carrot, apple, butternut squash
- Antibacterial – garlic
- Antimicrobial – cinnamon
- Antiviral – onion, garlic
- Anti-inflammatory – turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, onion, ginger, butternut squash
- Antibiotic – onion
- Anti-cancer – onion, carrot
If you take a look at the recipe, you can see that there are a number of seasonal spices used in this soup. Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves are blended to create an intricate and very festive array of tastes on your palate. Coincidentally, all four spices act as anti-inflammatories, limiting pain and swelling in those who ingest them. Cinnamon is unique in that it acts also as an anti-microbial/anti-fungal, and contains properties that specifically limit growth of yeasts such as Candida.
Antioxidants are found in almost every ingredient used in this recipe. Like the spice cardamom, butternut squash, apples, carrots, ginger and onion all contain flavonoids that have been proven to have cardiovascular benefits and immune-system enhancing properties. Carrots and onions also have a “direct antitumor effect,” according to The World’s Healthiest Foods.
Garlic is most well-known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, controlling infection of both bacteria and viruses; specifically yeasts, fungi, and even worms. Lastly, containing a whopping five anti-somethings, onions have the most advantageous properties out of all of the ingredients listed thus far (antioxidants, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-cancer), making it arguably the most super of the super soup ingredients.
As you can see, this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is no joke, and with the combination of all the ingredients creating an array seven anti-somethings, you can be rest assured that you and your family will be healthy and strong for the holidays.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tbsp)*
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cardamom
- Dash of ground cloves
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 tart apples, peeled, quartered, and chopped (1 gala, 1 granny smith)**
- Butternut squash, chopped (about 4 cups)
- Chives, the more the better
- Sour cream, dollop
- Coarsely ground salt and pepper
*If you store your ginger root in the freezer, it makes it significantly easier to slice and grate.
**If you prefer, using two different red apples (ie. Gala and Braeburn), it would have a sweeter flavor rather than having a tangy bite.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 – 8 minutes.
- Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add carrots, apple, butternut squash, and 3 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Let cool slightly, and working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender.
- Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Garnish with sour cream and chives, and add ground salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot!