Happy New Year!
This year, our school district’s break from work was a wonderful three weeks. I spent my time relaxing, reading, studying (yuck…who does that?!?), knitting, and cooking. I tried out a lot of different recipes, and I even cooked my family a full English tea and then a 5 course dinner in celebration of my birthday and the Downton Abbey Season 4 premier! When you have a large block of time on your hands, an element of laziness always sets in. This, mixed with the fact that I wasn’t creating any of my own recipes, I chose not to post many of my recipes.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on my health a little more than usual. I’ve always tried to cook in a healthy manner when I’m able to. Truthfully, I do believe that you can eat anything in moderation, and that’s why you’ll see recipes like fried potato pancakes on my blog. I don’t believe in fad foods or diets. I don’t like rules when it comes to my food. What I do like is clean tastes and the feeling that comes from eating a well-balanced, healthy diet.
I’ve been thinking about my daily diet recently, and I’ve come to realize that as a flexitarian, I’m not getting as much protein as I should be. Ironically enough, I often times rely on TOO much on fruits and veggies. I love them. I love them dearly. But when my dinner consists of a green salad and vegetable soup…there’s something missing. So, these last few weeks I’ve been trying to remain consistent with increasing my protein intake. I’ve been adding tuna to the top of my salad at lunch. When I snack on an apple in between classes, I add in a piece of low-fat cheese. If any of you have any suggestions for great high-protein, relatively low-fat snacks, please let me know!
This soup recipe originated from the idea that protein can be integrated in a lot of ways. The silken tofu in this butternut squash soup provides a decent dose of protein and fiber (11 g. of protein and 5 g. of fiber per 2 cup serving) while limiting the fat that’s added to the recipe. When the soup is pureed prior to serving, the tofu also adds a thick, velvety feel to the texture and helps add fullness to the soup, if you know what I mean.
Creamy, But Healthy, Butternut Squash Soup
(makes 3 entree or 6 appetizer portions)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. butternut squash, cubed (about one medium squash)
16 oz. silken tofu
4 c. vegetable broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 5-7 minutes, careful not to brown them. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the butternut squash and tofu. Pour in the vegetable broth. It should be enough to just cover the ingredients in the pot. Add more broth if you need to. Add the cumin and coriander.
Bring the soup to a boil. Turn down the heat until the contents simmer. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully puree batches in a traditional blender. Taste your soup and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve garnished with parsley or a little greek yogurt. Enjoy!