peanut coconut curry butternut squash soup

Happy Friday!

Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend!  Spice it up with this creamy, yet vegan butternut squash soup!

We often forget about the health benefits of spices.  Curry powder is a blend of spices typically made from turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cinnamon and ginger.  However, curry powder blends can vary and include additional spices such as cardamon and cayenne.

Here is a quick run-down on the spices commonly used to make curry powder:

Turmeric:  Healing benefits come from curcumin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  Used to treat arthritis and thought to prevent cancer, diabetes, degenerative neurological diseases and heart disease.

Fenugreek:  Believed to alleviate digestive problems, promote heart health, and help with glycemic control.  It is also believed to promote milk flow in breastfeeding women.  However, these claims are not scientifically proven.

Coriander:  Studies show that coriander contains antimicrobial, anti-anxiety and cholesterol-lowering effects.  Coriander lowers cholesterol by stimulating the breakdown of cholesterol to bile acids in the liver.

Cinnamon:  Cinnamon is proven to act as a circulatory stimulant, digestant, diuretic, smooth muscle sedative, antibiotic and anticonvulsant.  Studies also show that it controls glucose levels, lowers triglycerides and cholesterol.

Ginger:  Most commonly used to treat digestive problems such as nausea.  It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

I used organic canned coconut milk for this recipe.  I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing you could use cream as a (non-vegan!substitution.

peanut coconut curry butternut squash soup ~vegan, gluten free, dairy free~

Peanut Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

1 small butternut squash, cubed

1/2 red onion, diced

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

4 cups vegetable broth

2/3 cup canned coconut milk

3 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter

2 teaspoons curry powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

peanut coconut curry butternut squash soup ~vegan, gluten free, dairy free~

-In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until translucent.  Add butternut squash and ginger and saute for an additional 2 minutes.

-Add broth, bring to a boil then simmer until butternut squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Puree in a food processor or vitamix.

-Return to soup pot over low heat, add peanut butter, coconut milk and curry powder.  Whisk together until well blended.

-Serve warm, top with toasted pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of coconut milk and enjoy!


The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

mushroom barley soup

This is my go-to soup.

 It’s so easy to make, comforting and healing.  The garlic and fresh parsley help boost the immune system to keep the flu away (fingers crossed!).

Surprisingly, parsley has a high content of nutrients, including vitamin C, folic acid and iron.  Juicing parsley and oranges together makes an excellent tonic for  preventing iron-deficiency anemia.  This is because, when eaten together, foods high in Vitamin C (ex. oranges) help the body absorb iron (ex. parsley).  Parsley also contains a high level of chlorophyll, which naturally boosts energy.  A few less known components of parsley include myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene, all of which have been shown to be powerful anti-cancer compounds.  (The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods)

Garlic…there isn’t enough time in the day to write about the incredible healing properties of garlic!  Garlic is one of the oldest medicinal foods in the world dating back 5,000 years.  The therapeutic qualities of garlic are thought to come from its sulfur-containing compounds, mainly allicin.  This compound is activated when garlic is chopped or crushed.  Many eat garlic raw to best reap the benefits of allicin.  Not only has garlic been shown to lower cholesterol levels and protect against cancer, it is also a very powerful infection fighter!  Allicin has been shown to protect against the common cold, stomach viruses, candida and the flu.  Eat your garlic today!

As you all know, I am a big fan of prepping food in the beginning of the week to have healthy meals all week-long.  I usually make a big pot of soup once a week, this recipe is one of my favorites.  This soup is great for dinner served with salad and a crusty whole wheat baguette or can be heated for a quick and healthy lunch at work.

mushroom barley soup ~vegan~

Mushroom Barley Soup

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

1/3 cup lentils

1/3 cup barley

1 bay leaf

1 sprig dried oregano (~1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

sea salt and pepper to taste

-In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until translucent.

-Add carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

-Add broth, water, lentils, barley, bay leaf, oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until lentils and barely are tender.

-In the last few minutes of cooking, add the fresh parsley and season with sea salt and pepper as needed.


mushroom barley soup ~vegan~