Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

DSC_6067

It’s that time of the year again! As the thermometer plunges, I start to crave and make all different types of soups. And this creamy, velvelty-smooth roasted butternut squash soup with all the warming spices is one of my favourite comforting bowls! Roasting the squash with balsamic vinegar brings out a more intense and caramelized flavour in this recipe.

Ingredients

1 Large (or 2 Small) Butternut Squash
1 Large Carrot
2 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar (use a high quality vinegar as the flavour comes through)
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil or Butter
3-4 Shallots
4 cups Homemade Chicken or Vegetable Broth (plus more as needed)
1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp. Ground Clove
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400°F . Wash, peel and cut squash and carrots into 1-2 inch chunks.  Toss squash and carrot with avocado oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and arrange on a large baking sheet covered with unbleached parchment paper. Roast until squash and carrot are well browned (about 45 minutes). When the vegetables are caramelized take out of the oven and set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter over medium-high heat and add the thinly sliced shallots. Lower the heat and cook until the shallots are soft and lightly golden. Add all the spices and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

3. Add the roasted squash/carrot with 4 cups of broth to the pot, stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes till all veggies are very soft.

4. Turn off the heat and blend the soup in a high-speed blender in batches (you can also use an immersion blender if you have one!) until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot over medium heat and thin out the soup with additional broth until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of high quality balsamic vinegar and some roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Spiced Chickpea and Spelt Couscous Salad

This is a simple yet very flavourful salad. It can be served as a substantial vegan meal or as a side dish in smaller portions. It also makes a lovely potluck dish. I make this with fresh colourful cherry tomatoes and aromatic herbs from the farmers’ market while still in season.

IMG_20170114_170606

Ingredients

For the Couscous:

  • 1 Cup Spelt Couscous
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander Seed
  • 1/2  Tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Salt

Rest of Salad:

  • 1  1/2 Cup Cooked Chickpeas
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Flakes
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed ; optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1-2 Limes (to taste)
  • more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method
1. Add the couscous and water to a small saucepan and bring into a boil over high heat and let it boil for a couple of minutes.
2. After 2-3 minutes, turn down the heat and add all the spices, salt and 2 Tbsp of EVOO to the pot and stir well. Now turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and let the couscous absorb all the water and flavours.
3. Add all the other salad ingredients except for the almond flakes into a large bowl and mix.
4. Once the couscous is soft (about 5-10 minutes), fluff it with a fork and add it to the salad ingredients while it’s still hot. Toss everything together until thoroughly mixed.
5. Add the almond flakes and more salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this salad when it’s warm but I’d prefer to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or even better overnight, so that all the flavours come together, then let the salad come into room temperature before serving.

 

Banana Berry Baked Oatmeal Cups

These healthy baked oatmeal cups are my go-to workday breakfast. I usually bake a batch (12 cups) on weekends, freeze the cooled cups on a tray in a single layer, and store them in  a large freezer bag. Then on week days before I go to bed I take 3 cups ( 1.5 per person) out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight in the fridge. In the morning I warm up the cups in 225F oven for 20 minutes, by the time we are done with our morning routines our breakfast is ready! 😀  I usually serve these cups with a small portion of cheese and some fresh fruit.

Ingredients

Dry
1  Cup Quick Oats (Certified Gluten Free if needed)
2 Cups Rolled Oats (Certified Gluten Free if needed)
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1-2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Baking Powder

Wet
1 Cup Milk or yogurt (I use Sheep Milk or buffalo yogurt, you can also use rice/almond/coconut milk for dairy free option)
1/2 Cup sugar-free applesauce
1 Large Very Ripe Banana (mashed)
2 Large Egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

Add-in
1 – 1/2 Cup Mixed Berries (I usually use a mix of wild-blueberry and raspberry)
Note: If you use frozen berries like me, let the berries thaw for an hour before you start.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with unbleached paper liners.
2. Whisk all the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
4. Add the “dry” mix to the “wet” and mix until everything is well combined.
5. Fold in the berries and mix well.
6. Let the oatmeal mixture sit for half an hour to let the oatmeal soak some of the moisture.
7. Fill the lined muffin cups using an ice-cream scoop.
8. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Take out of the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy 🙂

Makes a dozen oatmeal cups.

%d bloggers like this: