• Jessica Pecush

Acorn Squash Rounds with Dill-Cashew Cream

"Nutrition Stripped: 100 Whole-Food Recipes Made Deliciously Simple", by Registered Dietician Nutritionist McKel Hill, is a spectacular cookbook! It is one of my go-to resources that I just can't speak enough about!

What I love about many of my go-to cookbooks are the wealth of resources they contain, beyond the recipes. This particular cookbook includes McKel Hill's food philosophy, how to go about balancing living whole and eating well (principles encompassing a balanced, healthy lifestyle), the essential tools required in your kitchen (including grocery shopping tips, a grocery shopping list template and reference charts), and the basics (including juicing, soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds, cooking various grains, beans and legumes, making homemade nut/seed milks, butters and flours, etc.). I love cookbooks so dense with information that you feel like you're getting a few books' content rolled into one!

The recipes encompass juices, nut milks, tonics, potions, elixirs, smoothies/smoothie bowls and additional breakfast ideas. Snacks, salads and soups, as well as main dishes, sides and desserts, round out the rest of the recipe index.

The final section addresses practices and plans to help one nourish lifelong habits, such as principles to guide your time in the kitchen, approaching batch cooking, meal planning for efficiency, and a list of alphabetized micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). All-in-all, it is a wonderfully-handy resource with plant-based recipes that certainly do NOT disappoint!

What I love about this recipe is how clean and refreshing it is! The acorn squash is simply baked in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with some cayenne pepper, cumin, sea salt and pepper for approx. 30 min. While that is cooking, the Dill-Cashew Cream can be quickly prepared in a high-speed blender or food processor. Between (soaked) raw cashews, sweet onion, garlic, fresh lemon juice and fresh dill, this dip just can't be beat! Delicata squash can certainly be substituted for the acorn squash.

A balanced meal in terms of complex carbohydrate (i.e. acorn squash, sweet onion), healthy fat (extra-virgin olive oil and essential fatty acids from the raw cashews) and plant-based protein (raw cashews), you know you're not only enjoying your creation, but also treating your body with what it needs (eating seasonally while you do)!

Nutritional Highlights

Winter Squash -

  • The starch-related components provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties

  • A source of dietary fiber

  • A rich source of Vitamin A (critical for healthy vision and healthy skin) and Vitamin C (a critical antioxidant for the body)[i]

  • A source of B vitamins, including vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

  • A rich source of several minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorus and calcium[ii]

Dill -

  • Possesses bacteria-regulating effects, similar to that of garlic

  • A good source of calcium, a mineral of which is required for reducing bone density loss, particularly during menopause

  • A good source of dietary fiber

  • A good source of the minerals iron, magnesium and manganese

  • A unique plant, in that both its seeds and leaves are used for seasoning

  • Traditionally used as a stomach soother and insomnia reliever[iii]

Raw Cashews

  • An excellent source of copper (assists with the utilization of iron in the body, bone and connective tissue development and the production of hair and skin pigment)

  • A good source of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and zinc

  • A source of “monounsaturated fat”; can assist in lowering the level of triglycerides in the blood (fats carried in the blood – high levels of triglycerides contribute to an increased risk for heart disease)[iv]


[i] The World’s Healthiest Foods: Squash, winter. Retrieved November 1, 2016 from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

[ii] Organic Facts – Unbiased Info on Nutrition, Benefits of Food & Home Remedies: Health Benefits of Acorn Squash. Retrieved November 1, 2016 from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/acorn-squash.html

[iii] The World’s Healthiest Foods: Dill. Retrieved December 1, 2016 from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=71

[iv] The World’s Healthiest Foods. Cashews. Retrieved November 18, 2016 from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=98

#vegan #plantbasedprotein #maindish #green

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