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Who doesn’t love butternut squash? It’s cooling, sweet, alkalizing, easy-to-digest, and a little heavy.
You’ll love this butternut squash soup especially in the fall and the spring. It’s nourishing, satisfying, and light all at the same time, as well as incredibly easy to make.
The hardest part is chopping the vegetables. Once you’ve got everything in the soup pot, you’re practically done.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the heavy quality of this soup makes it slightly aggravating for Kapha. That’s why we add fennel and ginger to lighten things up, and create an overall balance that supports Kapha’s digestion.
Another unique quality of butternut squash is its diuretic quality, which helps to drain excess water weight, despite it being a building food. Fennel is also diuretic. This is beneficial for Kapha dosha.
Both butternut squash and fennel are considered clarifying and sattvic, and overall this soup is tridoshic, and supportive for all doshas.
The Healing Properties of Fennel
Fennel is a little used, yet highly nutritious vegetable, with a number of valuable and unique qualities from an Ayurvedic perspective.
As an element in this soup, the fennel adds a light and clear quality to the grounding and building properties of the squash.
I see this combination of vegetables as the perfect transitional food for late winter/early spring, with butternut squash representing the cold season, and fennel representing the incoming warmer weather.
Fennel bulb is the perfect food for spring. It is crispy and refreshing, with a mild sweet licorice taste. Even its scent is refreshing. In fact, fennel is like a poster child for the promise of spring.
Fennel is in the same family as carrot, dill, parsley, cumin, and coriander. That’s good company!
Fennel is both cooling and anti-inflammatory, making it excellent for Pitta imbalances, but this wonder vegetable is considered tridoshic and supportive for everyone.
Fennel’s diuretic properties help to purge excess water weight and detoxify the blood, which is especially important in the spring with the increase in water element associated with the season.
The dry, light, and cooling qualities of fennel, combined with pungent, bitter, and sweet tastes, represent a rare combination in nature that promote clarity in both mind and body.
Medicinally, fennel is best known for its aromatic and antispasmodic effect, which helps ease digestion, bloating, nausea, and burping, as well as reduce pain and discomfort from cramps and spasms in the GI tract or elsewhere.
Studies have shown that fennel helps to ease menstrual cramps.
Fennel is packed with nutrition. It’s a great source of fiber, protein and non-starchy carbs. It is a significant source of potassium, and the bone-building nutrients of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamins C and K.
I am personally fascinated by the potential of fennel in our diet. This powerhouse vegetable grows in most climates, and it only requires a bit of imagination to incorporate it into the daily diet with more regularity.
You can cook fennel as you would cook any other vegetable, but it is especially nice lightly braised with fresh lemon. Fennel can also be enjoyed raw in salads, spreads, and crudités.
Enjoy this special butternut squash soup for lunch or dinner today.
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Butternut Squash & Fennel Root Soup
- 4 cups butternut squash (prepare from scratch, or purchase pre-chopped)
- 2 cups fennel root chopped
- 1 cup onion chopped
To cook the soup
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 lime freshly squeezed
Prepare the butternut squash
- – Slice off the root end and the stem of the squash. – Slice the squash into two at the crease where it starts to curve, separating the straight part from the round part. – Working with the straight piece first, stand it upright and use your knife to slice off the skin, one strip at a time.– Work with the rounded piece next. Slice it in half again. Stand one end upright (with the seeds toward the cutting board) and use your knife to slice off the skin. Do the same with the other piece. – Remove the seeds using a large spoon, and compost or discard. – Chop the peeled butternut squash into 1-inch pieces, and set aside in a bowl until needed.
Prepare the fennel root
- – Slice off the stalk. Save some of the fern-like leaves for garnish if it looks fresh and good. – Slice off the root end and remove the outer layer of the root if it looks damaged at all. – Slice the remaining root in half, and then into quarters. Slice out the core. – Chop the fennel into 1-inch pieces, and set aside in a bowl until needed.
Prepare the rest of the vegetables
- Chop the onion into 1/2-inch pieces. Mince the garlic and ginger, or chop it in a mini food chopper. Set aside until needed.
Cook the soup
- Heat ghee on medium heat. Add prepared garlic and ginger and sauté until lightly browned. Add black pepper and onion and sauté until lightly browned.
- Add the butternut squash, fennel, water or vegetable stock, and the salt. Stir well and turn up the heat to high. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth and silky. Add fresh lime, taste, and adjust for salt. Add more lime if you like.