Creamy Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

This soup is amazing. It is so full of flavor and nutrients and very easy to make. A great fall/winter soup that is warming and comforting.

Creamy Roasted Root Vegetable Soupadapted from a recipe by Ruby Ellis

1 butternut squash 1 delicata squash 1 medium to large sweet potato 2 medium onions 4 tbls olive oil 4 cups vegetable broth 1 can coconut milk 1/2 tbl dried oregano 1 to 2 tbls turmeric salt & pepper to taste 1 bunch kale, swiss chard or spinach washed and chopped (optional addition)

1. Rinse vegetables well. Cut squash lengthwise and removed seeds and pulp (peeling the squash is optional based on your own preferences — I found that after roasting, the skins were tender enough to blend into the soup just fine). Chop the squash, sweet potato, and peeled onions into chunks about 1/4 inch thick. Place veggies in two roasting pans and spread evenly so as not to overcrowd. Add olive oil, oregano, turmeric and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in oven and roast at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until veggies are carmelized and very tender.

2. Remove from oven and place all veggies in a large soup pot, add vegetable broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Transfer the soup to the blender and puree in batches (takes about three batches).

3. Transfer the soup back to the pot and add the chopped greens and cook on low heat for about 10 or 15 minutes until greens are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Nutrition Nuggets

Winter squash, particularly the darker-fleshed varieties, contain very high amounts of carotenes, which have been show to have a protective effect against many cancers, particularly lung cancer. Diets rich in carotenes are also protective against developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Winter squash like butternut, delicata, pumpkin, acorn and spaghetti also contain high levels of vitamin C and B1, folic acid, potassium, and fiber.

Sweet potatoes are also very high in carotenes, vitamins C and B6, as well as B12 and fiber. Due to their unique root storage of proteins in combination with their abundant amounts of carotenes and vitamin C, sweet potatoes are very effective in boosting antioxidants in our bodies and fostering strong immunity. In addition, animal studies have shown that despite their sweet flavor, sweet potatoes actually help stabilize blood sugar.

Onions contain sulfur compounds like allicin which have strong effects on boosting immunity. They also contain one of the highest amounts of quercetin of any food — a flavonoid which helps to calm allergies, reduces inflammation, and is also a powerful antioxidant providing protection against cancers and heart disease. Clinical studies have shown that onions lower blood pressure and prevent clot formation as well.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has many strong medicinal properties. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and to treat a wide range of ailments in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric which has shown to be as potent an anti-inflammatory as drugs like ibuprofin. Unlike these drugs however, which have toxic side effects, the use of curcumin produces no toxicity. Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant and has proven in clinical studies to protect healthy cells from free radicals that can lead to cancer. It has shown to be particularly beneficial in the colon and in the prevention of colon cancer. Curcumin also helps the body destroy mutated cancer cells so that they cannot spread throughout the body; it has also shown to inhibit tumor growth. More studies are needed, but curcumin shows great promise in the treatment and eradication of cancer. Curcumin also helps lower cholesterol and shows potential as a brain-protective agent. In elderly Indian populations, where turmeric is a common spice used in the diet, neurological diseases like Alzheimer's are very low.

Coconut Milk is very high in the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid, this is an extremely healthy fat that is only found in coconut and human breast milk. Lauric acid acts as an antiviral and antibacterial agent in the body. The antiviral properties of medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid are so potent that they are being studied as a treatment for AIDS patients. Coconut also protects against heart disease and promotes weight loss due to the thermogenic (fat-burning)  effects of medium-chain fatty acids.

As you can see this soup is a nutritional powerhouse, no wonder it tastes so good!