When each season comes along, I love utilizing each fruit and vegetable that comes with it. As produce becomes in season, that is when its nutritional benefits are at its maximum and its favors at their peak. It’s like getting a whole new box of art supplies to make something beautiful.
Here we are, well into fall, and one of my favorite things about this time of year is using all the different kinds of squash that are in season. Most of them have loads of nutrients and are a healthier carbohydrate alternative to potatoes and pasta, yet leave you feeling just as full and satisfied. I like using these hearty ingredients in vegetarian dishes, but they also make wonderful sides.
This week after indulging in large plates of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, I decided to put Shane and I on a nutrient packed diet, eliminating things like empty carbohydrates and adding more greens (which is hard to do when not in your own house and always have plans with lots of people). I had an acorn squash and thought about stuffing it, but then I thought putting it in a soup would be wonderful with the cold weather.
Acorn squash, because of it’s rich buttery orange color, is very high in Vitamin A (1 cup is 145% of our daily value), as well as beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber. Beta-carotene is known to reduce radicals in the body, which are cancer-causing elements. It also contains 15% of our daily omega-3 values. Wonderful veggie huh?
I also added in a classic combination- greens and bacon. I put in an entire bunch of organic swiss chard, as well as using the fat of the bacon to cook down my onions and garlic. Fats are a needed part of our diet and they are best when you have them in olive oil, an avocado or an egg. However if you have grass-fed, environmentally friendly, organic raised meets than those fats poses the same healthy benefits. Like I said, it’s all about balance right?
I hope you try this soup at home; Shane went crazy over it! Another thing that’s great about it is that it’s perfect for a week night meal. We had it with whole grain toast as well, perfect for a cold evening at home or with a group!
Acorn Squash Soup
2 acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
4 slices of bacon
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, largely chopped
1-2 cups water, depending on desired consistency
Preheat oven to 400. Slice acorn squash in half and place on a roasting pan, cut side up. Cover cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until tender with a knife is inserted, about one hour.
When the squash is done and cooled slightly, add to a food processor and until pureed to a smooth consistency. Add butter and nutmeg and puree to incorporate.
Add bacon in the bottom of a heavy pan and cook until crispy. Remove and place slices on a paper towel lined plate. Pour out some bacon fat until 1 tablespoon remains. Add onion, garlic and thyme until onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the swiss chard and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the squash puree and water until desired consistency. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, and serve.