Follow The Mediterranean Path To Seasonal Nutrition
Fall is the perfect time to take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables and The Mediterranean Diet is a great source of inspiration for simple, delicious and health promoting lunches.
Not only are many fruits and vegetables more affordable during this time of year, but they also tend to be more nutrient-rich. For example, apples are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols. pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. And Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamins K and C, as well as folate. When it comes to cooking seasonal fall dishes, extra virgin olive oil is possibly the healthiest choice of fat to add to your recipes. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, both of which have been shown to promote heart health. So, if you’re looking for ideas for seasonal lunch recipes or tips on how to incorporate more seasonal produce into your diet, you’ve come to the right place!
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup With Orange And Saffron
For Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:
- 1/2 cup (80g) raw pepitas/shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
For Squash Soup:
- 1/4 cup Morocco Gold Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small onions, sliced into 1-inch wedges
- 1 medium (approximately 2 pound) butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled, halved and seeds removed; cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons rose harrisa, more or less to taste*
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (about 8 threads)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (from 1 large orange)
- 3/4 cup (180g) crème fraiche
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss seeds with maple syrup and chili flakes. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes or until some seeds have popped and are starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool, breaking apart any large clumps into bite-sized pieces. Increase oven temperature 425 degrees F.
- Drizzle Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil over onion and squash pieces in a large bowl. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading into a single layer. Roast for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
- Combine vegetable stock, harissa, saffron and orange zest in a large stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium high heat. Season with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then add the pumpkin and onions, along with any leftover oil on the pan.
- Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the crème fraiche.
- Blend until smooth using an immersion blender, or transfer the soup to a free-standing blender (be cautious blending hot liquids, I’d recommend blending in two separate batches for safety).
- Transfer to serving bowls. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and top with fresh coriander.
- This soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Store pumpkin seeds at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.