So it is October. But in this 90-100 degree weather and unusual humidity you would never guess it is fall. For me fall in the northeast means leaves turning from green to bright yellow, red and orange. Fall means crisp air, fall fashion, hot apple cider, decorating pumpkins and eating squash. I may be in shorts and a tank, but squash is abundant. And despite the weather, I felt like a fall meal – soup and biscuits…my way. Gluten free, dairy free, spiced and satisfying. Curried pumpkin coconut soup with gluten-free delicata squash biscuits. I would eat this any day of the year.
Yes it is day three of my Whole30-like challenge. I understand the purpose of the Whole30 is to help retrain our minds so that we are not seeking out the foods we know – chips, cakes, breads, etc and instead replacing them with whole foods. Should I be making biscuits – absolutely not according to the Whole30 rules. But with work and a toddler, there are times I want to cheat because I am just too tired and just want something comforting. Instead of cheating with something unhealthy, I would rather eat something that falls within the rules but is elegant, different, and reminds me of food I love. I am looking for something more sustainable and for me, knowing that I can make tasty, healthy food from WHOLE fresh foods without processed sugars, refined flours, dairy, grains and other ingredients is enough for me to encourage me to make good decisions after the 30 day challenge is over. I can resist that fresh baked crusty outside soft warm interior baguette with butter if I know I can make myself a healthy and tasty form of bread at home. It is not the same, but it is tasty, healthy delicious and satisfying and most importantly, sustainable for my lifestyle.
Halloween is my favorite day of the year, but this year, likely because of the weather, I totally forgot it was around the corner (thankfully costumes were planned way in advance). The reminder for me was my daughter’s preschool field trip to a farm to pick pumpkins.
The farm was full of a variety of squash – acorn, japenese kabocha, delicata, butternut, cheese, long neck and so much more. I filled up a wagon and vowed to create. My daughter picked a few sugar babies. We saved one for decorating, the rest would be sacrificed for our stomachs.
The pumpkins were cut in half and deseeded (I saved the seeds and roasted them with oil and salt – such a good snack and garnish). They were placed on a oiled baking sheet and cooked for 45 min at 400 degrees F until they were soft and a butter knife slipped through. I let them cool, peeled the skin off and blended the flesh in a food processor with some water until smooth and creamy. I saved 5 cups for the soup. The rest I portioned out into zip lock bags and froze – they will eventually be used throughout the year in various recipes.
To make the soup, the key is to roast the spices – heat up the ghee or coconut oil in a dutch oven or soup pot and add the spices. let them roast until fragrant – about one minute. It smells so very good and adds a depth of flavor that cannot be acheived with spices added to the final product. The oil absorbs the flavor and acts as a vehicle carrying that flavor into the components of the soup.
I added the onoins, sauteed and then the carrots and celery thoroughly coating in the spice mixture.
After the veg was soft, I added the pumpkin puree and veggie stock. Home made veggie stock is always the best and so simple to make (I make large batches and freeze in ziplocks or old containers, such as hummus containers from the farmers market), otherwise use a boxed veggie broth.
The soup simmered for 30 min, coconut milk was added (I used a can of coconut milk but please read labels and make sure there are no added ingredients or chemicals such as emulsifiers…it is not easy to find, but they do exist). Using a hand blender, the soup was pureed. The coconut milk is not necessary, but adds a beautiful creaminess and rounds out the spice.
The soup was topped with roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.
Soup without bread or crackers? Today was a day I needed something – it was a rough week and I don’t feel like fighting myself any more. So I made gluten-free squash biscuits.
Delicata squash…so tender, delicate and sweet.
Similar to the pumpkin, I deseeded them and roasted them until they were tender.
I let them cool, peeled the skin off and pureed the flesh until it was smooth. Meanwhile, I pulsed the almonds in a food processer until I made a meal. You can always use store bought almond flour, but meal is so easy to make and is fresh.
I added the coconut flour, baking soda, powder and spices to it and whisked it together to mix. If you were doing a real Whole30, you would not be baking biscuits, but if you were still considering biscuits and feeling like the baking soda and powder were not good to use, just use carbonated water. The whole purpose of baking with milk and acids or baking sodas/powders is to create bubbles which lightens the batter.
Once the meal was mixed with everything, I added in the cold ghee or coconut oil and incorporated it with my fingers breaking it up into the flour working as fast as possible so that it did not heat up – and let it form into a sand like, pebble like mixture.
I mixed the eggs with the squash and then added it to the sand like dough.
I rolled out the biscuits into small balls by hand and flattened them on a cooking sheet. I baked them for 15 min.
They were heavenly – best baked fresh but managed to taste good stored in an airtight container at room temp.
The soup and biscuit were a perfect pairing and reminded me of fall at home.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup
- 1 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tsp curry powder (I am particular, not all blends are the same. I use one from Kalystans but this one is good. Use one you like)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
- 3 carrots,chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 large sugar pumpkins– either roasted and pureed or fresh and cut into chunks. If fresh, just cook in soup until tender
- 4 cups veggie stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the ghee in a large pot, add in the spices and cook spices until fragrant (about 30 sec-1 min) then add in the onion. cook until tender (about 5-7 min, add water if they start to burn). Add the veggies including the squash and garlic. cook for 5 min, thoroughly coating in spice. Add the stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 20-30 min. Add in salt pepper. Blend with a hand blender, or wait until cool and use a vitamix or food processor. Add in coconut milk and mix.
Gluten-free Delicata Squash Biscuits
- 2 delicata squash, cut in half, seeded
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 date soaked overnight
- 2 cups unsalted almonds, ground into meal – or almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 2.5 tsp baking powder (or 2 tsp carbonated water)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (omit if using carbonated water)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
- 3 Tbs solid cold ghee or coconut oil
- 2 eggs (can be substituted with flaxseeds, but they will not rise as much or be as light)
Place delicata squash halves onto a oiled tray and bake at 425 degrees F for about 20-30 min or until soft that a fork goes through it. Let cool. Peel and puree squash “meat” in a food processor with water and soaked date until smooth. Set aside.
Leave oven on.
Whisk together ground almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder and soda, salt and rosemary together in a separate bowl. If using carbonated water, reserve for later. Add in in cold ghee or coconut oil and work through breaking it up and incorporating the dry mix until it turns into small pebbles or a sand like mixture.
Add in squash mixture and eggs (and carbonated water if substituting). Dough should be light and hold together. It should not be too liquidy – if so, add a bit more coconut flour.
Shape into balls and press down to form a bisquit. Place onto an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 min or until golden