Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Monday, November 7, 2016
Simple. Easy. Nourishing. I love a good salad. This time of year however, the last thing I want is a cold, raw salad. Summer yes. Autumn, not so much. I’m craving squashes and warming spices and greens and colorful roots and gourds. I’m basically craving the season. In Ayurvedic nutrition, your body (and your health) is never stagnant. Your diet should change as your body – and your external environment – changes. This means altering your diet with the flexibility of the season, and relying on the abundance of what is available to balance, nourish and align your physical body. As we ease into Autumn, the weather becomes more crisp, the chill in the air penetrates our sun kissed skin, and our digestive tract subtly reflects this change in the season by hinting at new cravings.
As we transition out of Summer, foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasted roots and warming pots are what many of us crave, and for good reason. Balancing our internal environment with our external environment is a major way that our body remains in homeostasis and becomes neither too cool or too warm. In the heat of summer, cooling moist foods like milks and coconut and raw veggies help to balance that external sweltering heat. Likewise, in the autumn and winter, foods like ginger, roasted squashes and cooked beans and turmerics help to warm our body from the chill outdoors. This makes the transition easier, and allows for less strain on our organ systems during seasonal change. Also, NUTRIENTS. In all seasons, if you’re lucky enough to have access to colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins, that means you have access to essential nutrients the body needs to perform basic physiological functions like liver detoxification, thyroid function, kidney filtration, cardiovascular function and overall cellular health.
I’m not a huge fan of taking multi-vitamins, which is why when I create meals I like to keep them as nutrient dense as possible to make sure I’m getting what I need from the foods that naturally pack a powerful nutrient punch. Butternut squash, quinoa, greens, pomegranate, onions, sea salt – all in all, this has everything a multi vitamin will give you and then some. Quinoa alone is packed with minerals including zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, B-vitamins, fiber and protein. I add a whole grain like this to almost every dish I eat for the mineral content alone (and they taste amazing – added bonus). Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Pomegranates are high in polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And greens – well, seasonal micro greens are magical little things that have all of the above AND give you that hint of bitter flavor that’s so supportive of overall digestion AND liver function.
But let’s get out of this tiny micro-view of food and step back to the big picture. You don’t have to know the mineral and nutrient value of every single food you eat to put a simple, nourishing meal together. Keep it seasonal, keep it colorful and you’ve pretty much got it. That’s what I did with my Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl. With 8 ingredients, 5 colors and 1 hour, I’ll have this all week, and all week it’s going to be chilly, so this will be an addition to breakfast AND lunch if my little Vata body is feeling the chill….which it always does.
Optional: add your favorite dressing to this hearty savory salad, as I like to add some Flaming Elixir to mine, with a dash or olive oil and sea salt!
Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl
2 small Butternut Squashes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried Sage
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups seasonal micro greens
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup soaked quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Pre-heat oven to 400F
Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sage and salt and stir to coat well. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife can insert easily into the cubes.
While the squash is cooking, combine the soaked quinoa with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and let simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.
While the quinoa is simmering, chop and seed the pomegranate and place the seeds in a small bowl.
Chop about 1/2 cup scallions and place in a small bowl.
Once everything is prepared, in a large bowl, add the micro greens. Top with about 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 cup quinoa, pomegranate seeds, scallions and eat throughout the week. You will have leftover squash and quinoa to eat throughout the week to add to other meals.