[Acorn] squash your hunger with this soup!

Thanks for joining me once again!  Another thing that I’ve loved about using my Instant Pot® (IP) for our relatively new ‘Weekday Vegetarian’ lifestyle is how it’s allowed me to explore ‘outside the box’ and try ingredients I don’t typically use (or even buy!). Today’s example is acorn squash.  So underrated yet so satisfying!  And what’s really neat is that this recipe uses both the flesh of the squash as well as the seeds!  Health benefits squared!!!  Enjoy!

*Instant Pot® Acorn Squash Soup
(Serves 6)

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Ingredients

2 acorn squash
*2 teaspoons olive oil & Kosher salt (see step 3 below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
24 fluid ounces vegetable broth
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1.  Cut the 2 acorn squash in half, and use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to remove the middle part that includes the seeds (Save this webby mess – I promise you won’t regret it! – see step 3 below*)
  2. Place the trivet into the IP pot and add 1 cup of water.  Place the 4 halves of squash onto the trivet.  Place and lock IP lid and set for 8 minutes.
  3. *While the acorn squash is cooking in the IP, set your toaster (or regular) oven to 300ºF. Separate the acorn seeds from the stringy squash center, and rinse the seeds in a sieve.  Dry off the seeds and place them on a baking sheet.  Toss the seeds in olive oil and kosher salt and spread them out so they are in 1 layer on the baking sheet.  Bake the seeds for 15-18 minutes (or as long as it takes to toast the seeds but not burn them).  Once done cooking, remove from oven and let cool.
  4. When the IP is finished cooking, do a quick release.
  5. Using tongs, remove squash halves from the IP and place elsewhere to cool.  Once it is cool, remove the skin and/or stem(s) from the flesh.
  6. Remove trivet from the IP pot, then dispose of the remaining water.  Rinse out the IP pot and return back to the IP base.
  7. Set IP to sauté and add the olive oil and butter into the IP pot.  Add in the onion and cook until it just starts to caramelize.  Add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
  8. Add in the vegetable broth, seasoned salt, black pepper, sage and thyme.  Mix all together. Turn off the sauté function. Place and lock IP lid and set on high pressure for 3 minutes.
  9. When the IP is finished cooking, do a quick release.
  10. Add in the squash to the soup mixture and stir.  Use an immersion blender to create a homogeneous mixture.
  11. Add in heavy cream and all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and stir all together.
  12. When ready to serve, sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese and some of the toasted seeds onto each plated portion.

When I wanted to round out this creamy soup, we snacked on some crunchy raw snow peas while dinner was being prepared, but then I also decided to make a not-too-sweet skillet cornbread.  It’s not an IP recipe (though it IS vegetarian), but it was so delicious I wanted to share it anyways!

Not-too-sweet Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a cast iron skillet inside.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar).
3. Stir melted butter into dry ingredients, and then stir in the rest of the wet ingredients (egg and buttermilk).
4. CAREFULLY (read: with a potholder) remove the skillet from the oven, pour batter in, evenly.
5. Place skillet back in the oven and bake at 400°F for 18 minutes (edges should start to brown and an inserted toothpick should come out clean).
6. Remove skillet from oven.  Let skillet sit and cool before cutting and serving.

Now for the Nutrition Highlight for today’s recipe.  There’s an obvious front runner here, so – here it goes:

ACORN SQUASH

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Acorn squash contains:
Carotenoids (primary type is β-carotene): Critical in proper immune function, reproduction and vision and is also involved in function of major organs like the heart, the kidneys and the lungs
F
iber:
improves digestion and/or decreases blood cholesterol
Magnesium: helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and is involved in bone, DNA and protein synthesis
Potassium:  helps maintain proper blood pressure and fluid balance, lowers risk for kidney stones, and is associated with increased bone mineral density

Vitamin B6: necessary for many metabolic enzymes in addition to brain and immune function
Vitamin C: acts as an antioxidant (protect cells from damaging molecules [‘free radicals’]), is a requirement for collagen production, and is important for some neurotransmitter synthesis

So, that’s all for now. Please feel free to ask questions about my experience with the IP, Weekday Vegetarianism, acorn squash, general nutrition or whatever! See you next time!

References:
1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/winter-squash/
2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/
3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/
5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-Consumer/
6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/

*Recipe adapted from here:
http://pressureluckcooking.com/recipe/instant-pot-acorn-squash-soup/
**Recipe adapted from here:
https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/southern_cornbread/

Disclaimer:
Any content you find on Sunny Seeds Nutrition Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

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