Butternut squash is a hard winter squash that grows on a vine. It is sometimes referred to as the butternut pumpkin or gramma in Australia and New Zealand. It has a sweet nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin and it becomes increasingly sweeter and richer as it ages.. Butternut squash is a good source of fiber, manganese, magnesium, potassium and Vits A,C and E.
Chickpeas sauted and seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper added a different dimension to this rather plain Butternut Squash soup. I tried coconut oil instead of the usual EVOO I use in most of my western/italian/mediterranean dishes. Coconut Oil is so under rated, don't you think? Not many of us know that coconut oil is made up of nearly 50% lauric acid which is known to help speed up metabolism, to burn belly fat and improve cellular function. I met the husband of my friend Sherin last night who advised me to take a tbsp of coconut oil twice a day on an empty stomach to help with any inflammation in your digestive system. Key is to look for virgin coconut oil so as to ensure it is not adulterated.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 tbsp coconut oil (2 tbsp for the squash soup and 1 tbsp for the chickpeas)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1 qt vegetable broth
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 can chickpeas
2 tbsp lime juice
Salt & pepper
1) Heat a saucepan and warm up 2 tbsp coconut oil. Fry the diced yellow onions and minced garlic.
2) Add in all the spice powders and salt and saute further.
3) This will be followed by the butternut squash and veg stock. Cover and let it cook for 5-10 mins.
4) In the meantime, saute the chickpeas in another tbsp of coconut oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This will give a peppery tangy taste to the chickpeas. After 2-3 mins on medium heat, set aside.
5) After 10 mins, the squash would have softened.
6) Blend this mix and pour it back into the pot. Check and adjust for seasoning.
7) When serving, scoop out the butternut squash soup in to a soup bowl and place chickpeas in the center. Add a sprig of coriander leaves for garnish and finish up with a swirl of coconut oil.
I got mesmerized by the beautiful green tone of this loaf when I saw an online video in FB. Then I discovered that spirulina - the cause of the green tone - is a mighty expensive health product - for a small bottle of 150gm, you would need to fork out SGD $33 ( US$24 ). Upon digging, I found out that spirulina is a blue green algae of the freshwater variety and is now one of the most talked about superfoods today. Grown around the world from Mexico to Africa to Hawaii, spirulina has an intense flavor and even more powerful nutrition profile.
Spirulina Health Benefits
Spirulina has many health benefits. It
-helps prevent cancer
-lowers blood pressure
-lowers the risk of stroke
-speeds up weight loss
and many others. It is available in tablet or powder form. Spirulina powder can be used in health shakes and baked goods or simply sprinkled over cereals.
Possible Side Effects
Having raved about its health benefits, please be warned that spirulina may cause certain side effects like nausea, liver damage, shock and can even be fatal if the contaminated version is consumed. Do ensure only the pure blue-green algae that is organic and free from contamination is used.
This bread recipe is of a basic banana recipe but with spirulina added for that lovely gorgeous green colour (I just can't stop talking about it!) and yes, for its health benefits. This Banana Bread version has no eggs, no butter and no sugar!! Can you beat that? :) It is unbelievable that this gorgeous so very healthy bread turned out so delicious...
Ingredients (yields 1 loaf)
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 chia egg (see step 2 below)
1 and 1/2 cups Oat flour (ground oats will do too)
2 tsp organic spirulina powder
3/4 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts - 1/2 for mixing in and 1/2 for the topping
1) First preheat the oven to 350 deg F or 180 deg C. Line an 8-inch loaf pan with olive oil spread and put the baking paper and let it hang over. This will help to lift the baked loaf easily.
2) Prepare chia egg. Chia egg is a great substitute for the actual egg. It is made by first grinding 1 tbsp chia seeds into a fine powder. Then mix this with 2 tbsps of water, whisk them together and set aside for 15 mins. This combination is the replacement for 1 egg.
3) Prepare the dry ingredients. From the top clockwise - ground almond, ground oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spirulina powder. I have no idea why the spirulina powder looks so black in this picture. It is actually a very dark intense bottle green colour. Whisk it all together and set aside.
4) Next, take another mixing bowl and mash the bananas.
5) Take an electric mix and whisk all the other ingredients. Chia Egg (the brown gooey stuff), coconut oil, vanilla essence and honey.
6) Put in all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk all again until well mixed and no flour remains anywhere.
7) After a few minutes of mixing, this is what you'll get. Have you fallen in love with the colour yet??!!
8) Add and fold in half the 1 cup of walnuts.
9) Pour the green batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle is not very wet but comes out with a few crumbs attached.
10) The baked Spirulina Banana Bread in all its glory! Enjoy it on its own or with your fav cuppa.