If you’ve never tried butternut squash before, now’s the time! I was recently given an awesome recipe, courtesy of the National Dairy Council who sponsored the last Dallas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics meeting. We had several local dietitians talk about the importance of dairy, what happens when we exclude it, and suggestions for substitutes if you’re lactose intolerant.
They emphasized that hard cheeses, mozzarella and cottage cheese are pretty well tolerated by lactose intolerant people. I am one myself, so I am quite familiar with this concept! I could never give up cheese! They also talked about the importance of using lactose-free products, like Lactaid (I drink this milk almost every day).
A person who gives up dairy because of lactose intolerance is missing out on a great food group that’s full of protein, vitamins and minerals. This is why it’s important to work in dairy or a dairy substitute somehow. Robin Plotkin, a local dietitian, put on a fabulous cooking demo of lactose-friendly recipes. After the meeting, we all received a flash drive with the same recipes to try at home, and to share with others! I’ve already given out a couple copies at work.
The meeting was at the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Dallas. I’ve always secretly wanted to drop everything and go to culinary school. We all started off with yummy appetizers like turkey meatballs, hummus and crackers, tomato-mozzarella kabobs and little cups of butternut squash soup! I had never tried butternut squash before, so I was a little apprehensive about trying it. That pretty much went out the window because it’s SO GOOD! It’s sweet, like a cross between a carrot and sweet potato.
I also had no idea how to cut one up. Simply Recipes has a great tutorial on how to peel and dice a butternut squash. Basically you use a vegetable peeler to take the skin off, scoop out the seeds, and dice. Easy.
Here’s the recipe along with the modifications that I would make (click links for printable!):
Jalapeno-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup, Courtesy of the National Dairy Council
You will need:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger (I switched to ground ginger because I am not a big fan of fresh)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (You can use a Serrano chili if you want, I opted out due to low heat tolerance…)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-in cubes (peel, scoop dice)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (for my heart healthy friends)
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
- ¼ cup whole lactose-free milk (If you’re not lactose intolerant, don’t spend money on lactose-free milk)
This recipe is very simple. First, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and salt. You can use powdered ginger instead of fresh if you’re not a big fan of the taste (like me!). Stir constantly for one minute, but don’t let it brown. Add cayenne and stir for 30 more seconds. Add the squash, broth, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a blender, puree the soup in batches. I have an immersion blender, so I just used this instead. Stir in the lactose free milk before serving.
This was fabulous! My mom and I were gushing about it for days. Butternut squash has this sweet, mellow flavor that goes so well with spicy jalapeño and garlic. Now that it’s finally getting cold here in Texas, its officially soup season! Try this soup for a healthy, light meal that’s packed full of nutrients.
You can find the printable recipe here. The Dairy Council also has a great FAQ page which answers important questions about the health benefits of dairy and busts lactose intolerance myths.
What is your favorite recipe for butternut squash?
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!