At the farm stand this week they had a few winter squash left over so I grabbed a butternut squash to make a easy Ayurvedic squash soup. Squash soup always sounds like a light meal. But i have discovered a few tasty tricks that make it a filling and nourishing meal all winter long. With the season quickly shifting from winter to spring I am starting to crave more fresh produce and I am excited for more spring greens to start sprouting.
It is very convenient to have access to fresh produce all year long. It is a luxury you don’t see in most places, especially here in Colorado. I am grateful for the place I call home. Fort Collins is a community that really cares about small businesses, living more sustainably and where their food comes from. It is a rare community of likeminded folks like me that care about creating a more accessible and localized food system. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of.
In the spring time it is best to start eating lighter meals and herbs that move the liver and lymphatic system. Ayurvedic cooking is meant to be a simple and seasonal way of eating that teaches you about restoring balance to stay healthy. The ancient science of Ayurveda finds easy ways to make holistic healing a lifestyle and teaches us how to look at food as medicine. There are a few cook books I reference often if I am feeling off balance The Kosmic Kitchen and The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook.
Spring Diet According to Ayurveda
In the spring time you want light, dry, sharp, clear, and mobile qualities in your food. Clear foods include watery vegetables, vegetable broth, and herbal teas. Mobile foods are spicy, raw, like juice. Dry foods are corn, beans, grains, and lentils. Sharp foods include vinegar, peppers, and ginger. The season we are in has a big effect on our health and how we eat. Knowing what you need to balance seasonal changes can help ease and cure ailments so we feel more balanced.
The cool and damp environment of spring comes from the thawing snow and rain that comes. Our bodies no longer need the thick mucus as protection so doing what is necessary to clear the stagnation in the lymphatic system in the spring time will help prevent sinus and chest congestion, loss of appetite, sluggish digestion, lethargy, and sadness. Foods that are pungent, bitter, and astringent are best in spring. Pungent foods warm and melt. Bitter foods reduce excess moisture. Reducing heavy foods, only eating when hungry and exercising regularly are also good habits to form for optimal health. This butternut squash soup recipe is a perfect way to kick off spring on the right track.
Health benefits of This Squash Soup
When it comes to creating a Ayurvedic meal it is helpful to learn how opposites balance each other out. The red lentils in this soup are quick and easy to cook and are considered light, drying, and slightly heating. I like adding lentils to squash soup to make a more complete and filling meal. Then adding oily coconut milk balances the dry qualities of the lentils and the astringency of the squash. The cooling qualities of the squash then get balanced out by the warming herbs. This healthy combination of foods help tone the gut, ignite the digestive fire, and balance acidity. Pro tip*** roasting the herbal seeds for a few minutes will transform the flavor of the soup to the next level.
The Ayurvedic Squash Soup Recipe
1 butternut squash or any squash
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup of Lentils
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
Ayurvedic Spice Blend Recipe
1 tsp of turmeric
1 in or so of fresh grated ginger
1 tsp of black pepper
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fennel seed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp of fresh sage