Recipe for Healthy Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Quinoa
Fall is here, which means it is time for cozy sweaters and warm soup. Autumn is also the season for pumpkins and winter squashes, like butternut squash. I like to use this particular vegetable to make one of my seasonal favorites, which I’m going to share with you today. So here’s an easy-to-make butternut squash recipe – soup with ginger and quinoa!
To be clear, I love this recipe because it is hearty and delicious (and simple). However, it also is a great immunity booster and can even be used to help control body weight, among other health benefits. Think I’m crazy? Check this out…
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is fat-free, and is a great source of Vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium and fiber. It is also full of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Your body converts these to more Vitamin A, which greatly supports your immune system. The lutein and zeaxanthin in the squash help protect your eyes from UV rays. This squash is low on the glycemic index, which means its carbs are slowly digested, reducing blood sugar spikes. Additionally, the dietary fiber in butternut squash can also help keep blood sugar levels stable. On top of this, the fiber can also help keep your weight in balance and help lower cancer risk.
Because of all the above, butternut squash soup is included in the ProLon Fasting-Mimicking Diet. Dr. Longo and his research team determined that this vegetable soup delivers vital nutrients, but can also be made to support calorie-restricted eating. I am not ashamed to admit that my butternut squash soup is a ProLon-inspired recipe. The nutrition delivered in this recipe is very comparable to the ProLon butternut squash and quinoa soup information below. And as you can see, one serving is low in calories, but high in fiber. And in fact, my recipe includes even less salt.
Health Benefits of Ginger and garlic
Ginger’s spicy kick comes from its main bioactive compound: gingerol. This oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and is also known to help reduce nausea and improve digestion. This is note-worthy, because a healthy digestive system is vital to a healthy immune system. Moreover, gingerol is shown to inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria, which means it can help you fight bacterial infections.
Garlic contains sulfur-based active ingredients such as alliin. Your body converts this to the compound allicin, which is shown to boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells. Active white blood cells more quickly attack pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, thus better protect you from the common cold or flu. Studies have also shown that other active compounds in garlic can help lower blood pressure, as well as the risk of heart disease. Additionally, garlic is packed with antioxidants which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, so may reduce the risk of common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Sometimes people like to think that eating healthy has to be boring. But I can assure you that this soup tastes great, too. The above ingredients provide lots of flavor in addition to a healthy dose of immune-boosting benefits. So let’s get to it, because the sooner we cook, the sooner we can enjoy this butternut squash soup!
Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Quinoa
Butternut Squash – approx. 6 cups, diced
Garlic – 3-5 cloves, minced
Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Ginger – 1 “thumb” (about 1-1/2 tbsp), minced
Quinoa, cooked – 1-1/2 cup
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F
- Cook the quinoa by adding 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and return to heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, put the cover back on and set aside. **This step can be done ahead of time.
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Set the halves on a baking sheet, open face up, and put into the hot oven. Bake for 1 hour, until butternut squash is fork tender. **This step can be done ahead of time.
- Dice your onion. Sauté in olive oil on medium heat until translucent; about 5 minutes.
- Mince your garlic, and add this to the onion. Sauté a few minutes more.
- Mince your ginger and set aside.
- Separate the flesh of the butternut squash from its skin. If the squash is soft enough, you’ll be able to scoop it out with a spoon. Otherwise, simply peel or cut the skin off.
- Dice the cooked squash. Add the squash and ginger to the cooked onions and garlic, and add enough water to cover the vegetables.
- Simmer on low-med heat until the butternut squash is very soft and starting to fall apart.
- Add quinoa and season to taste.
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