Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
It’s pouring sideways rain here in Bellingham, the perfect weather for a light pumpkin soup. I have been yearning for the Fall and all the bits of cozy that comes with it. Although I love salads, soups are a wonderful way to eat your veggies while also supporting digestion. Raw veggies are one of the hardest foods to digest, especially if you are not taking the time to chew them well. Therefore, soups can be an excellent meal for anyone struggling to optimally digest their foods. Soups are much easier for the stomach to breakdown because the ingredients are soft and tender. This is especially true if you make a pureed soup like this pumpkin soup. Usually, the stomach churns our food with stomach acid to make a liquidy soup called chyme. However, when the food is already pureed, the stomach has little work to do. Therefore, soups are a wonderful meal for anyone who has increased healing needs or has digestive concerns because the nutrients are much easier absorbed.
For this recipe I used a pie pumpkin (or otherwise known as sugar pie pumpkin), but you can choose whatever winter squash you have on hand. I also used homemade bone broth, rich in flavor and nutrition. I do not skim the fat because the fat provides flavor and increases the absorption of the beta-carotene in the pumpkin flesh. If you are using store bought bone broth (Bonafide is a great option) it is fat free, and therefore I would suggest adding organic heavy cream or full fat coconut milk to your liking.
Bone broth is an excellent choice to increase the protein content of otherwise a low protein meal. Rich in collagen, bone broth helps support the healing and repair of connective tissues (think, gut lining, bone, tendons, hair, skin, nails). Along with ample amounts of prebiotic fiber rich onions and garlic this pureed soup also supports the growth of good gut bacteria. If you want, you can even roast the pumpkin seeds for little salty and nutritious snack. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rinse the seeds under water to remove excess pumpkin fibers, and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Voila, now you have a nourishing soup and a tasty snack!
Simple Gingered Pumpkin Soup
1 small pie pumpkin (got mine at TJs)
1 large yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 inches ginger root
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups homemade bone broth (see note above if using store bought)
2-3 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust as needed)
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch chili flakes
Quarter the pumpkin, scoop out seeds (roast if desired), and place into a pot filled with some water and a steamer basket. Steam, covered, over medium heat for about 15-20min or until tender.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. In a soup pot add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped veggies over medium low until glassy and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the steamed pumpkin flesh (leave skin behind), and add the bone broth. Cover and cook over medium low for another 10 minutes.
Once ready, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your liking. Season with honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
Note: If you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth (may need to adjust salt down because most store bought vegetable broths are pre-salted), and add coconut milk or heavy cream for creaminess and flavor.
Raw Cranberry Chutney
Today I am going to share with you a healthy alternative to your traditional, highly sweetened, cranberry sauce. The first difference is that it is raw—allowing all the powerful phytonutrients and enzymes in cranberries, which have been touted with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, to stay intact and work together synergistically. When heated, processed, and mixed with a lot of pro-inflammatory sugar, the health benefits of cranberries decreases. Keeping the cranberries raw, allows you to benefit from all their health promoting compounds! Secondly, I only use maple syrup as a sweetener, and only ¼ cup, reducing the typical sugar amounts by ¾ or more! And thirdly, I add freshly squeezed orange juice, zest, and optional spice to the mix, creating a zesty and bright raw cranberry chutney. The trick to this recipe is time. The longer it marinates in its' own juices, the more developed the flavors become. I recommend making this recipe in advance and storing it in your refrigerator at least a day before you using it. Make sure to choose organic cranberries and oranges to reduce pesticide content.
Makes about 2 cups
Time: ~ 10 minutes or less
12 oz fresh organic cranberries
1 organic orange, juice and zest
1/4 cup maple syrup (or more to taste - see note)
1/8th teaspoon sea salt
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (can replace with a little deseeded jalapeño)
Rinse cranberries and strain. Pour onto a clean kitchen towel and pick out any soft cranberries. Add the fresh cranberries into a food processor. Process until finely minced. Be careful not to process it too much, because then it will become too soggy. Pulse in the orange juice, zest, and maple syrup. If you want to add heat, do so now. Season with a pinch or two of sea salt. Transfer into a glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to one week.
Note: Most cooked cranberry sauce recipes call for 1-1 1/2 cups of sugar! Adjust sweetener to your liking. However, this chutney gets more flavorful with time. Therefore, taste it the following morning to see if you really need to add more sweetener. Tastes great tossed in salads, in wraps, sandwiches, or along with your Thanksgiving turkey. A little goes along way!
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145. Accessed November 24, 2019.
Crustless Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie
I only make pumpkin pie from scratch. No cans, the real deal. It’s super easy and the flavor and texture is just so much better (in my opinion). This time around instead of using a sugar pie pumpkin, I used Red Kuri Squash because you can eat the skin and all, providing you with more nutrients, fiber, and color for less work (no peeling required). AND, if you skip the crust, you have less work and less calories, but you still have all the flavor. Plus, its naturally gluten and grain free and also Low FODMAP! Yes, I use sugar, but only a small amount. I prefer the clean sweetness of sugar over maple syrup in pumpkin pie. Plus, it doesn’t add extra liquid. During the fall months I enjoy this “pie” as a snack or as a treat, always with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Unfortunately, the Kuri Squash seeds have a much thicker hull and therefore are not as enjoyable roasted like the pumpkin seeds. But for the pie, the Kuri squash is delicious!
Makes 6 Servings
Time: ~80 minutes (including baking time)
1 lb Red Kuri Squash, seeds removed
3 pasture-raised eggs
4 tablespoons unrefined sugar (or more per taste preference)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole milk (or coconut milk)
For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup grass-fed heavy whipping cream + 1 tablespoon sugar/maple syrup
Garnish (optional): chopped roasted pecans
Place a steamer basket into a medium pot and fill with water to just under the basket. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the Kuri Squash in half with a large sharp knife and scrape out the seeds using a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Weigh out 1lb of pumpkin on a kitchen scale. Place this into the steamer basket and steam over medium until tender when pierced with a fork ~ 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle. In the meantime, measure out your spices and place into a small dish and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Once the squash is cool enough to handle, place the 1lb of squash meat into a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree the meat as smooth as possible (small chunks are okay). Then add the egg, sugar, and spices. Use the immersion blender to blend until smooth. Finally add the milk, and blend until cohesive. Taste and adjust the spices/sugar if desired.
Butter or oil a baking dish (or individual ramekins) and pour in the squash mixture. Place into the oven and reduce the bake temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate halfway, and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until set. In the meantime, pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl, add the tablespoon sugar/maple syrup, and optional teaspoon vanilla extract or pinch cinnamon if desired. I personally, like it plain best. Whip with beater on high until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, place all the ingredients into a quart sized jar, top with lid, and shake vigorously for ~ 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
Remove the pumpkin pie from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Allow the pumpkin pie to cool completely in refrigerator before serving. Top with whipped cream and chopped roasted pecans for added crunch if desired.
Nutrition (per serving w/out whip): 110kcal, 17g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 3g fat, 4g protein.
Nutrition (per serving w/whip): 250kcal, 20g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 17g fat, 5g protein.
Compare to Traditional Pumpkin Pie with Crust:
1/8th of pie w/out whip: ~350kcal, 35g carbs, 14g fat, 5g protein.
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.