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Spiced Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Butternut squash is high in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants like beta-carotene (aka pro-vitamin A). Did you know that 1 cup of diced butternut squash has more potassium than a banana and provides 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C? 

Lentils are tasty, versatile, and cost-effective. They are high in dietary fiber, potassium, prebiotic carbohydrates and beneficial phytonutrients that help to maintain health. Consuming the delicious, nutrient-dense foods in this recipe may lower cholesterol levels, improve immune function, help maintain a healthy weight, and regulate blood glucose levels.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), foods are often categorized based on their energetic properties, tastes, and effects on the body. Let’s explore the potential benefits of butternut squash and red lentils from a TCM perspective:

Butternut Squash:

  • Energetic Properties: Butternut squash is considered to have a neutral nature in TCM. Neutral foods are believed to have a balancing effect on the body.
  • Sweet Flavor: The sweet flavor of butternut squash is associated with the Earth element. Sweet flavors are believed to nourish the Spleen and Stomach.
  • Spleen and Stomach Nourishment: Butternut squash is thought to tonify the Spleen and Stomach. In TCM, the Spleen and Stomach are responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Qi Tonification: With its nutrient density, butternut squash may contribute to Qi tonification. Adequate Qi is crucial for overall vitality and proper organ function.
  • Dampness Dispelling: TCM often considers foods that help dispel dampness from the body. Butternut squash, with its high fiber content, may support the body in managing damp conditions.
  • Harmonizing the Middle Jiao: The Middle Jiao, which includes the Spleen and Stomach, is considered the center of digestion in TCM. Butternut squash’s nourishing properties may contribute to the harmonious functioning of the Middle Jiao.
  • Supporting the Earth Element: The sweet flavor associated with the Earth element is believed to be grounding and supportive. Consuming foods like butternut squash may help balance Earth energy in the body.

Red Lentils:

  • Energetic Properties: Red lentils are generally considered to have a neutral to warm nature, making them suitable for a variety of constitutions.
  • Sweet Flavor: Similar to butternut squash, red lentils have a sweet flavor, contributing to their ability to nourish the Spleen and Stomach.
  • Qi and Blood Tonification: Lentils, including red lentils, are a good source of plant-based protein and iron. In TCM, foods that tonify both Qi and Blood are considered beneficial for overall health.
  • Spleen and Stomach Support: The sweet flavor and warming nature of red lentils may offer support to the Spleen and Stomach, aiding in digestion and nutrient assimilation.
  • Promoting Circulation: Lentils contain iron, which is essential for blood production. Adequate iron supports healthy blood circulation, and in TCM, good blood circulation is crucial for overall well-being.
  • Balancing Yin and Yang: Lentils are believed to have a balancing effect on Yin and Yang energies. This balance is fundamental to maintaining the body’s overall equilibrium.

This recipe is so easy to make and satisfies even the pickiest eaters… promise! If you need to dash, put the ingredients (hold the lemon and additional seasonings) into a slow cooker, and simmer at a low setting until you are ready to resume chef status. Perfect for a nutritious, hearty meal, and scrumptious leftovers.

Spiced Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 medium onion (peeled and diced)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 15 ounces can coconut milk
  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade if possible) *You can use vegetable stock instead if preferred.
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium butternut squash (peeled, cubed and roasted until tender ~30 minutes)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients except the lemon and additional seasonings in a large, deep saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer until everything is tender, about 20 minutes. The squash should start to ‘melt’ into the soup.
  3. Add the lemon and extra seasonings as desired.
  4. Enjoy immediately or save in the refrigerator or freezer for future meals.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes 4 servings.

Calories: 512.9 kcal

Fat: 23 g

Carbohydrates: 62.1 g

Fiber: 11.1 g

Sugar 11.7 g

Protein: 20.9 g

Recipe by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald

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