Ayurvedic Autumn: The Best Homemade Butternut Squash Soup
Story and health inspiration behind the recipe:
Who doesn’t love a warm cozy fall recipe to curl up on the couch with this time of year while watching a holiday classic? Cooking will get your creative juices flowing while simultaneously helping you to feel relaxed. Summer buzzes with high energy, so naturally we feel a downshift in the fall and winter. Your instinct to seek comfort this time of year is the correct one, and it aligns with the ancient system of holistic healing derived from India known as Ayurveda. “Ayur” meaning life and “veda” meaning knowledge.
Ayurveda uses nature as medicine. Anything from food, spices, herbal therapies, bodywork, and lifestyle changes to help achieve optimal health. My yogi friend/reiki master Alexa is who first introduced Ayurveda to me. Holistic health is intriguing to me, so I knew I wanted to learn more. I purchased the book “The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook” by Sarah Kucera and dove headfirst into the world of Ayurveda.
This recipe down to the spices is almost completely vata inspired. Vata is the dosha (Ayurvedic constitution) that trends toward fall and early winter. Autumn represents vata for its crisp, cool days. Therefore, we yearn to warm up. We are in seek of balance.
In this delicious recipe you will find warm savory flavors from the butternut squash, carrot, and thyme. Maybe we throw a little turmeric in. This to align with fall’s suggested Ayurvedic menu, why the hell not? If you’re like me and you don’t particularly love the way turmeric tastes, not to worry. You’ll never notice under the hints of the woody rosemary and peppery onions.
More on the book“The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook” by Sarah Kucera, and the Ayurvedic lifestyle:
The book is enlightening yet easy to digest. I will attach a link below for purchasing. Upon reading you will be able to figure out your “doshas”, or constitutions. There are three total: vata, kapha, and pitta. This is basically figuring out how nature is represented in you. These are so specific, literally down to the time of day that your dosha needs to eat, thrive, work, workout, meditate, or rest. The book will offer insightful advice on how to align your day to live how nature and Ayurveda deem best.
For years people believed that Ayurveda was solely spiritual or religion based, but now people are seeing that Ayurveda is the art and science of longevity. Foreword by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar in the book “The Ayurvedic Self-Care Handbook”:
“We are at a crossroads in medicine where we need to regain our understanding of true meaning of prevention, which means we must participate in our own health and make responsible choices. All the ancient cultures understood the importance of self-care rituals that were perfectly aligned with the phases of moon, changing seasons, festivals, and community living. Healthy living was a way of life, and social well-being was based upon sustainable living.
The latest science of chronobiology supports this ancient wisdom, clearly revealing that this is embedded in our genes. The timing of eating, sleeping, and exercising are all very important to how we digest the world around us (not just food), which translates into our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. This emerging Western research is exciting, but it also validates the ancient Ayurvedic principles of daily, nightly, and seasonal routines for people in various phases of life, which I’ve explored throughout my work and writings.”
For this recipe you’ll need:
· 1 large butternut squash
· 1 whole white onion
· 1lb of carrots (this is about 6 full size carrots)
· Rosemary (I did fresh)
· 2 carts of vegetable broth
· Coconut milk
· Salt & pepper
· Chili flakes
· Extra virgin olive oil
1. First you are going to preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and place on your baking sheet.
3. Wash the carrots place on your baking sheet.
4. Chop your onion in half and set the other half aside for now. We’ll come back to it later. Now chop the remaining half, in half again making two quarters, and set them on the baking sheet.
5. Oil all your vegetables with the extra virgin olive oil and add salt and pepper. Put the rosemary on the bottom and flip your butternut squash upside down so it is resting on top of the rosemary. The rosemary will infuse up inside of your squash. My sister Camryn taught me this. This will look different than what you are seeing in the photos.
6. Let the veggies roast for 45 minutes
7. Grab a large soup pot and add one cart of vegetable broth and one can of coconut milk. Bring to a simmer on or below medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric.
8. Dice the remaining half of the onion that isn’t roasting and toss it in the soup simmering on the stove. They can be chopped to your preference, big or small.
9. Pull your roasted vegetables out of the oven and let cool until you can handle peeling the squash. I’m impatient and I also love this recipe so sometimes I suffer through some of the warmth on my hands to get the job done.
10. Add your roasted carrots, squash, and onion to the blender. Add rosemary, paprika, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth to the blender as well. This will be your remaining vegetable broth cart, so use all of it if you wish for the soup to be creamier. Use about half if you want it thicker. I like it thicker personally.
11. Once your ingredients come to a purée in the blender you may add them to the pot of soup.
12. Add your chili flakes. You can also add more paprika and pepper to this step, I usually do.
13. Continue mixing everything together while you simmer a bit longer to really marry all the flavors/aromas.
You are done! Eat up buttercup ;)
I hope that you love this cozy fall recipe, and know that as you enjoy this delicious soup your body is aligning with nature through the ancient practice of Ayurveda. You are amazing. Thanks for stoping by!
Ayurveda, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/ayurveda, Ayurveda | Johns Hopkins Medicine, December 02, 2019