Butternut Pumpkin Soup

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BUTTERNUT SMOOTHNESS | A silky textured soup bursting with vibrant colours and nutrition to brighten up your day or evening – all without the extra addition of cream or butter. 

Okay, so this was my first time making butternut pumpkin soup and boy was it delicious (not to mention the extreme ease at which it was achieved thanks to my hefty investment in my first Vitamix blender).

For those who tend to get confused between butternut squash and pumpkin, here are the facts: all pumpkins are squash, but not all squash are pumpkin. Squash is a botanic term, while pumpkin is a culinary term. The name ‘pumpkin’ is a derivative of the French ‘pampion,’ meaning sun-baked squash, from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning large melon. The English modified ‘pampion’ to ‘pompkin,’ which was changed to ‘pumpkin’ by the American colonists.

Pumpkins are one of the most nutritious of vegetables, being very high in fiber, vitamins A (over 2,500 units), B and C, beta-carotene, and minerals phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron. Smaller “pie pumpkins” are of smoother texture.

So seeing it was my dear friend’s birthday I decided to whip out a healthy birthday lunch for him and some of his close friends (after all, we are all trying to lose weight). I have always wanted to experiment making soup with my new Vitamix so here I was experimenting first time with whipping out a dairy-free pumpkin soup (saving the calories from the much un-needed cream and butter).

To brighten the orange color, I added a carrot or two which gave the soup more vibrancy (plus an extra dosage of Vitamin A and beta-carotene). Simply chuck all the ingredients into your Vitamix and turn the setting on the ‘soup’ function. I was simply amazed that within 5 minutes, all the ingredients have combined together miraculously to produce a soup that was steaming hot (due to the fast friction of the blades churning).

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Butternut Pumpkin Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g butternut pumpkin peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • pinch of cinnamon, to taste
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste

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METHOD:

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.Butternut Squash Soup (5 of 14).jpg

2. Select soup function if using a Pro 750 model. Otherwise select variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase to variable 10.Butternut Squash Soup (7 of 14).jpg

3. Blend for 6 minutes, or until hot. Serve immediately. Garnish with mint sprigs or croutons if desired.

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Grandma’s maple spiced baby pumpkin wedges

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Pumpkin me, pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is one of the most nutrient-rich foods out there that can erase years off your face and defend against diseases.

It contains alpha hydroxy acids, a natural fruit acid that helps lift away old skin cells to reveal a radiant, more luminous complexion, plus vitamin A, which helps increase the rate of cell renewal to unveil younger-looking, softer skin. Rich in essential fatty acids, pumpkin is also an effective way to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, according to skin care experts. It’s loaded with vitamin C (which has been proven to spur collagen production and prevent the breakdown of elastin) and sodium hyaluronate to help hydrate and plump skin.

Loaded with a combination of carotenoids, pumpkin is packed with disease-fighters. The National Cancer Institute estimates that up to 30 percent of all cancers can be prevented by eating the right foods, such as those rich in carotene. So make sure you get your regularly dosage of pumpkin!  (NB: just a 1/2 cup serving satisfies twice the recommended intake of alpha-carotene and 100 percent that of beta-carotene).

So tonight I decided my dinner would comprise of just one roasted baby pumpkin cut into wedges. I simply spiced it with a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and coated it with maple syrup and olive oil for extra sweetness. Super easy and super nutritious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small baby pumpkin cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

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METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Then wash pumpkin and cut into 1 inch wedges, removing the seeds.

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2) Grind the cloves in mortar and pestle, grate the nutmeg, and stir in the cinnamon powder. Here is your spice mixture.

3) Transfer cut pumpkin wedges into a bowl and add the maple syrup, olive oil, and spice mixture. Mix thoroughly to coat all the wedges as evenly as possible.

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4) Layer the pumpkin wedges in roasting tray lined with parchment paper and roast in oven for 20 minutes.

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5) Once done, take tray out, transfer to a bowl and serve as a side (in my case tonight it was my ‘main’).

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