It’s definitely that time of year. The time for big helpings of warm dishes, loving cuddles and blankies for cold toes, fire places-a-blazin’ filling the house with nostalgic smells and lulling crackles, and one of my very favorite things- Winter Squashes. I truly cannot get enough of them. And, they might very well be the only thing I actually like about winter.
Winter squash is on my top ten for a lot of reasons. I am absolutely in love with how versatile they are. They can be made sweet, savory, hot, cold, and everything in between. They can be the main ingredient for a soup, the starch component for a bread or wrap, or even a bowl in which to fill up with all sorts of other delicious goodies. That’s what we did here.
Along with the squash, I am quite the fan of Indian food (well, there’s not much I don’t like, honestly). Why not combine the two to make one big, beautiful, flavorful bowl of warm and fuzzy? Mhmm. I agree. It is a great idea.
The Skinny on the Squash
This phenomenal food is known for:
* Beta-carotene (precursor to Vitamin A) is excellent for vision, eye, skin, and immune system health, as well as a powerful antioxidant which protects the body from free radicals. It protects from cancer, heart disease, and chronic illness (1)
* It has 2 grams of Protein in each cup of cubed squash, and also also a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium(2).
* Being a good source of Vitamin C which is an excellent antioxidant and has been shown to yield positive outcomes in health issues such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, inflammation, and obesity (3).
* Potassium which is pivotal in maintaining good heart, muscle, and nerve health. It also maintains the pH balance of the body as well fluid balances within the body (4). It has 493 mg per 1 cup serving! If there actually were an RDA for Potassium, this one serving would meet at least 1/4 of your daily needs (5)
* Butternut squash has .5 mg of Manganese per cubed cup (6), though this is another nutrient without an RDA (7). This nutrient assists greatly in the breakdown of macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) and lack of it has been correlated to improper bone and cartilage formation (7)
What is Dal
The word dāl derives from the Sanskrit verbal root dal- “to split”. Dal is a term used in the Indian subcontinent for dried, split pulses (legumes) (that is, lentils, peas, and beans)(8). It is often eaten with naan, served with rice, or as a soup. Today we spiced it up with this squash boat though ;).
Dal is oftentimes made with Tamarind which is a fruit with what I would call Super Powers. It is anti-inflammatory, reduces pain, soothes swelling, and relieves symptoms of arthritis. And that’s not all.
You know how we were taught about Fluoride? How it’s essential for dental health and this and that? Well, at this point I’m convinced we were duped and it actually causes exponentially more harm than it ever did good. You can get hip to all of that by checking out the Fluoride Action Network (or by doing a simple Google search really). I highly recommend that you do. Anyway, Tamarind helps remove Fluoride from the body, assisting in negating some of the hormonal imbalances, bone weakness, joint problems, and many more things Fluoride has been linked to.
Legumes (another wieldy source of nutrition in this dish) are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and everything in between. We incorporate two of these nutritional powerhouses from a list of the top 9 (9), into this Dal-in-a-boat. Why? Because we’re beasts. Bean-loving beasts.
Enough education, eh? You knew all of this already 😉 Let’s talk about this delicious dish that’s going to warm our bellies. Some lovely pictures to lead you to the recipe, and as always, please contact me with any questions on how to see this deliciousness through.
Dal Stuffed Butternut Squash
*Nordqvist, Christian. “All you need to know about beta carotene.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 14 Dec. 2017.
*Diego Fernando Garcia-Diaz, Patricia Lopez-Legarrea, Pablo Quintero and Jose Alfredo Martinez. “Vitamin C in the Treatment and/or Prevention of Obesity.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol, 60, 367–379, 2014
*Christian Demigné Houda Sabboh Christian Rémésy Pierre Meneton. “Protective Effects of High Dietary Potassium: Nutritional and Metabolic Aspects”. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 134, Issue 11, 1 November 2004, Pages 2903–2906
*Caili F, Huan S, Quanhong L. A review on pharmacological activities and utilization technologies of pumpkin. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2006 Jun;61(2):73-80.
*Heber, D., Bowerman, S. Applying Science to Changing Dietary Patterns. J. Nutr. November 1, 2001. vol. 131 no. 11 3078S-3081S.