Roasted Butternut squash/sweet potato soup (Paleo and Vegan options):
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 large sweet potato (I like Jewell sweet potatoes personally)
- 1 apple, sliced and cored
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 can (13.5 oz.) of full-fat or light coconut milk (I like Native Forest brand, it’s organic and BPA free).
- 2 cups bone broth (or vegetable stock if vegan/vegetarian)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- Sea salt to taste (I like Himalayan sea salt or Redman brand ‘Real Salt’)
- 4-5 sage leaves, chopped
Before getting into how to prepare this delicious roasted butternut squash soup, I wanted to share which micronutrients it is highest in, along with some of their functions:
Vitamin A: helps maintain the integrity of mucous membranes (including gut lining), is important for protein synthesis, cell differentiation, vision, supports reproduction and growth as well as aids in skin health. Vitamin A also protects from vitamin D toxicity.
If a person were to stop eating vitamin A-containing foods, deficiency symptoms would not appear until after stores were depleted, which would be about one to two years for a healthy adult but much sooner for a child. At this stage, the consequences would be profound and severe. (1)
The bioavailability of beta-carotene (the plant-form of vitamin A found in vegetables with orange and/or yellow pigment) depends in part on fat accompanying the meal. (2) Remember, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it needs fat to be properly absorbed!
Copper: Copper is involved in hemoglobin synthesis, and also works with zinc to defend against free radicals, helps manufacture collagen, inactivates histamine and degrades serotonin. There is some evidence suggesting that copper may be involved in the prevention of heart disease as well:
In a trial where copper was reduced from 1.38 milligrams per day to 1 milligram per day, four of the twenty-three participants experienced heart trouble-including one heart attack. (3)
This is fairly disturbing considering that according to the National Human Exposure Assessment Survey in Maryland, the median American copper intake is only about 0.759 milligrams per day. (4) If 1 milligram per day correlated with increase instances in heart issues, perhaps it would be wise to consume more foods rich in this trace mineral.
Iron: Enzymes involved in making amino acids, collagen, hormones, neurotransmitters, and ATP (our body’s main source of energy) all require iron. Iron helps accept, carry and release oxygen.
Some dietary factors bind with nonheme iron (the iron found in plant foods), and inhibit iron absorption. These include phytates found in legumes and grains, the vegetable proteins in soybeans, nuts, the calcium in milk and dairy products as well as the polyphenols (such as tannins) found in tea and coffee. The most absorbable form of iron is through heme iron sources such as clams, beef or lamb liver, or ground beef. According to the National Institutes of Health, vegetarians need to consume 1.8 times more iron to make up for the low bioavailability of iron from plant foods. (5) Good vegetarian/vegan sources of iron include parsley, mushrooms, dried fruit and blackstrap molasses.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Plays an important role in ATP production (energy metabolism) as well as converting homocysteine (pro-inflammatory) to methionine.
There also appears to be accumulating evidence regarding riboflavin’s efficacy in treating migraines. (6), (7)
OK so now, back to the soup…
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the butternut squash in half, and remove the seeds and stringy pulp.
- Sprinkle some salt on the squash, and place them facing up on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until soft).
- While the squash is in the oven, bring a standard cooking pot filled with water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, peel the sweet potato.
- Boil the sweet potato for 30-45 minutes or until you can penetrate it with a fork effortlessly.
- Once the squash is finished, remove the oven and then place the onions and apple on the same baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
- In a crockpot, heat the bone broth (or vegetable broth), spices, and roasted vegetables/apple/sweet potato on HIGH for 30-45 minutes.
- Working in batches; use a ladle to scoop the soup and solid veggie mixture into a blender. Puree in the blender and return to the crockpot. Be sure to feel around with your ladle and make sure you got all of the veggie chunks in the crockpot pureed in your blender!
- Once your veggies and spice puree is back in the crockpot, stir in the coconut milk and some sea salt and switch the heat to LOW. Feel free to top this soup with some baked prosciutto chips or some chopped bacon strips.
What I really like about the thicker soups such as this is that you can make a more satiating quick meal with the leftovers by throwing the soup on a bed of greens and white rice. Yes, you read the correctly: white rice. I am actually a fan of white rice over brown rice for a couple reasons:
For one thing, lead and other toxic metals have been found in the bran of brown rice (the bran is removed during the processing of white rice). To make matters worse, brown rice contains phytates, which as mentioned above, is an anti-nutrient that actually prevents the absorption of key minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, etc. (8) Brown rice also contains lectins and prolamine proteins that can be pro-inflammatory and damage the lining of the gut. (9) These proteins may also possibly wreak havoc on those suffering from autoimmune disorders.
White rice, on the other hand, is essentially just glucose and soluble fiber- which both are fantastic pre-biotics (feeds probiotic bacteria). Brown rice is an insoluble fiber which helps add bulk to your stool and gets your bowels moving (although there are other methods of doing this that don’t involve insoluble grain fibers).
What are your favorite winter time soups? Leave your answer in the comments!