Ayurvedic Corner ~ Butternut Squash Soup

For October I highlight the beautiful wonder that is butternut squash.  This winter squash is astringent and sweet, with a heating virya and pungent vipak,  Its gunas or attributes include dry, sharp, and heavy.  High in fiber, potassium, iron,zinc, vitamin C and vitamin B6, this orange vegetable is the yummiest indicator that Fall is upon us in my opinion.  Enjoy this recipe from the Seven Centers Ayurvedic cookbook.  Namaste!
The Ingredients and Recipe:
2 tsp garam masala
½ tsp nutmeg
pinch cayenne
½ turmeric powder
½ Tbspn ginger root (peeled, grated, and diced)
1 small to medium sized butternut squash (peeled and cubed)**
2 yams (chopped into bite sized cubes)
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tspn salt
2 tspn succanut
½ cup pumpkin seeds
**You can use other varieties such as kabocha, red kuri, etc.
Cover the bottom of the pot with ghee and warm until melted.  Add garam masala, nutmeg, cayenne, fresh ginger, and turmeric.  Warm until fragrant.  (Be careful as these spices can burn with high heat.)  Add the cubed squash and yams.  Stir until cooked with ghee and spice mixture.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer until the vegetables are soft.  Meanwhile, place the pumpkins seeds in a a pan and heat until they become golden and puffed out.  They will make popping sounds like popcorn.  Then set aside in a bowl.  Carefully blend the cooked butternut squash and spices with a hand blender.  Serve hot and garnish with the roasted pumpkin seeds.
Melissa’s Variations
I love using this recipe as a base or spring board for other fall veggie soup creations.  You can add diced zucchini, rainbow chard, and purple or green kale to it easily.  If you add zucchini, I do suggest doing so at the very end after sauteing it  in ghee, cumin, coriander, fennel, and pepper first.  (Zucchini can sometimes be heavy, so we are using the added spices here to help make it easier to digest.)  Or you can add organic pees and corn also at the end of the cooking, as these vegetables cook in a fairly quick amount of time.  Whatever you choose to do, feel free to be creative.  This soup is sure to be a fall favorite!
Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please click here.
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