Lean in real close, readers, because I’ve got a special piece of information just for you. Are you leaning? All right. The secret word of the day is… squash!
I realize that this word makes a lot of folks, veg and non-veg alike, run for the hills. And I’ll admit that I haven’t always been the biggest squash fan myself. What’s more, I’ll admit to you now that there are a few varieties out there that I just don’t care for. (Spaghetti squash? What the heck?!)
The one winter squash that won me over tothe dark side is butternut squash. It’s sweet and nutty and has a great texture that lends itself to all kinds of applications– mashes, smashes, soups, ravioli filling, even salads! Lucky for me, butternut is in season and in abundance right now on my local organic farms, and I’ve got enough on hand to make all of those things and more (if I wanted to)!
I’ve been craving fresh butternut squash since last winter like nobody’s business, so a soup-making session is most certainly on the agenda. However, you’ve probably already seen a million butternut squash soup recipes and let’s face it, most of them are pretty similar. So, how about something completely different for a change? Check out this high-calorie, vitamin-packed dish that pairs this Mexican squash with the flavors of Thailand!
Thai Butternut Squash
(Yield: 4-6 servings)
1 butternut squash (2 – 3 lb), peeled, seeded and chopped in 1 inch pieces
2 stalks celery or 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 thin slices raw ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
2 cups coconut milk (light or full fat, your choice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb firm water-packed tofu, drained and cut in 2″ X 1/2″ X 1/2″ sticks
1/2 cup blanched toasted almonds
In a large shallow saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add squash, celery, carrots, peppers and ginger and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and fennel seed. Stir for a few minutes to combine.
Stir in coconut milk and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until veggies are fork tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add tofu and almonds and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro (if desired) and serve warm, with basmati rice, pasta or quinoa.