January 10, 2010

Soup of the Week: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple with Pomegranate Seeds

When I sat down last night to take a look at my calendar for the next few weeks, I panicked. Between working, cooking, sewing, designing jewelry, blogging & yoga, my schedule is packed solid. But when I found out that I was accepted to the NYC Half Marathon in March, my schedule pretty much imploded.

As I learned when I trained for Phily, training for a race is a time suck. An awesome, wonderful, invigorating, incredible happy time suck, but a time suck no less. When I'm in training mode, I usually run 3-4 short runs during the week and then one long run on the weekend. I also try to fit in yoga at least once, but preferably twice a week, for strength and stretching. And of course kickboxing & body conditioning for cross training. And then there is my diet...

By diet, I mean overall food intake. Not diet as in, calorie restriction to lose weight. I eat constantly during training, consuming at least 3 meals a day as well as lots of healthy snacks such as fresh juices, nuts, dried & fresh fruit, whole avocados... you get the point. It's extremely important to have lots of healthy, whole foods available at my fingertips so that I'm not tempted to eat crap just because I'm stressed or in a rush. Putting crap in my body whether I'm training or not makes me feel like, well, crap.

With all of this in mind, I set out this morning to shop for the week so that I could make a bunch of food that will last. I bought a lots of lemons, kale, spinach, cucumbers, green apples & ginger for my morning juices. Lots of quinoa, olives, herbs & veggies for quinoa salads. Salmon, celery, and herbs for Salmon Burgers. And of course some goodies for my Soup of the Week: Roasted Butternut Squash & Apples with Pomegranate Seeds.

Some notes about this recipe:
1.It's really easy to make, will make your home smell incredible, and is delicious.
2.Although you can purchase peeled & cubed butternut squash in most supermarkets these days, I find it much more frugal to purchase a whole squash. The squash seeds are another bonus of buying it whole- you can spice them, toast them & throw them in the soup before serving for great flavor & texture.
3.Similarly, you can purchase pomegranate seeds already separated from the fruit. At my supermarket, this cost $6-7!!! Crazy since I bought an entire pomegranate for just over $1 and separated the seeds myself. It only took 5 minutes and now I have an entire container to throw in salads for the rest of the week.
4.I should note that the pomegranate seed idea was inspired by a soup I had a Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill a few weeks ago. I loved how they burst in my mouth with a bit of tart juiciness and contrasted against the warm creaminess of the soup. YUM.
And without further adieu...

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Pomegranate Seeds

1 medium Butternut Squash, (about 1 lb), peeled & cubed (don't throw out the seeds!)
1 large yellow onion, cut into large pieces
2 large sweet apples (I used Fuji), unpeeled & cored, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
6 cups vegetable stock (or combo of stock & water)
2 tbsp honey or agave
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 450.
In a large bowl, combine the squash, onion & apple chunks and toss with the olive oil. In a separate little bowl or cup, mix the spices and salt. Reserving 1 tsp of the spice mixture for later, toss the rest of the squash mixture to coat.
Spread the squash mixture on a large baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, tossing slightly after about 30 minutes to promote even roasting.
In the meantime, wash & dry the squash seeds and toss them with the vegetable oil & the 1 tsp of reserved spice mixture. Spread the seeds on a small baking sheet & place in the oven for 5 minutes. Don't forget about them or they will burn instead of toast! Set them aside to use later.
Now would also be a good time to separate the pomegranate seeds if you need to.
Once the squash mixture is roasted, puree it with the vegetable stock. You can either do this by pureeing batches in a blender or food processor. Or combine the stock & squash in a large pot & puree using an immersion blender. Once all the soup is pureed and in the large pot, add the honey or agave, cover & bring to a boil. Then lower heat, uncover & allow to simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.
To serve, toss a handful of pomegranate seeds & toasted squash seeds on top of your soup & enjoy!

I'll be posting the rest of my recipes for the week over the next few days so stay tuned....

1 comment :

  1. lucky... you got to eat at one of bobby flay's restaurants... he's one of my favorite chefs!