Squash the Squash

There is nothing more exciting about Autumn than the arrival of warm, creamy healthy soups. Soups are filling, nutritious and comforting, exactly the kind of meal we need to prepare our body for cool and unpleasant weather. Soups create a temperature buffer that help us cope with changing seasonal conditions. At the same time soups are hydrating and filling- a perfect substitute for all the other starchy foods we normally eat during this time of the year. Last but not least, with the right recipe, a soup delivers extremely well in the flavor category, hence you will not feel like you are making a tasteless choice for the sake of your shape.

The soup that I am featuring today is a wonderful combination of Autumn ingredients, which you can purchase locally, cheaply and organically. The squash especially, needs to be organically sourced because its natural habitat, the soil, can permanently damage and even intoxicate this underground vegetable. Artichokes are seasonal in both Autumn and Spring, hence finding them at your market is an easy task. Preparing them, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky, but once you overcome the mental barrier of preparing an artichoke it is an extremely easy and even enjoyable task (I highly recommend that you invest in disposable plastic gloves because they do tend to release color).

Soup is extremely healing, especially squash and artichoke soup. Both of these vegetables contain complex carbs, meaning that they stabilize the blood sugar level, keeping you full for an extended period of time. Artichoke is rich in fiber, and fiber stimulates digestion. We all know how important healthy digestion is especially during the cooler, less active seasons; if we abandon sports for a while we do need to make sure that we find another way to expel toxins. Squash’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative qualities on the other hand, make a perfect anti-flu potion.

Finally, to make this soup a little bit more exiting, I finish it with a spoonful of yogurt, some freshly ground pepper and, for those of you that crave a touch of picanteness, a clove of garlic pan fried in ghee (clarified butter). For those of you with sensitive digestion I recommend substituting the garlic with a pinch of fennel seeds. For the record, feel free to substitute the squash with sweet potato, that in turn imitates the sweetness and texture while at the same time brings its unique health profile.

Squash and artichoke soup
A recipe from my Ayurveda cook book
Serves two

Ingredients:

2 fresh artichokes
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ghee
A squeeze of lemon
A pinch of flour
1/8 medium squash
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp. yogurt

Method:

 

  1. When preparing the artichokes remove leaves until deep into the heart of the vegetable (keep on peeling until it’s soft). Trim off the edges
  2. Cook the artichokes au blanc: prepare water with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of all purpose flour. Bring water to the boil together with the artichokes and simmer for around 15-20 min.
  3. Slice the garlic and cut the pumpkin into small cubes (the smaller they are, the less time they will cook)
  4. Bring water to the boil, add pumpkin cubes and cook for some 15 min.
  5. Pan fry the garlic in ghee until golden brown.
  6. When ready, add the artichokes, garlic and pumpkin into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blend thoroughly.
  7. Serve and finish of with a spoonful of cold yogurt on top.

Enjoy!

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