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Indonesian Squash and Spinach Soup

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger root
2 cups (1/2 quart) vegetable stock

1 14-ounce can coconut milk
4 cups (2 lbs) peeled and cubed butternut squash

6 small handfuls spinach (1 bushel)
fresh lime or lemon juice

$0.32 Onion
$4.09 Vegetable stock
$1.19 Coconut milk
$2.02 Butternut squash
$1.29 Spinach
$8.91 total
A soup that's a light meal. 
Serves 6

In a soup pot, briefly sauté over low heat the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the ginger and salt and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the stock and the rest of the spices to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and the squash and gently simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the squash is tender. Stir in the chopped spinach and allow it to just wilt. Remove the pot from the heat, squeeze in lemon or lime juice to taste and serve at once.

Variations: Many variations are possible.
  • Keep to the basic idea, though, of one chunky arid one leafy vegetable.
    • Among the chunky choose summer squash, zucchini, or large cucumbers, seeded; among leafy choose Chinese cabbage beet greens, Swiss chard, or kale.
    • A delicate, hard vegetable such as zucchini probably wants the company of a delicate leafy one such as Chinese cabbage. A heartier hard vegetable is best with spinach, beet greens, or chard. Follow your instincts about which ingredients will be most compatible. The procedure remains the same: stir in dark green leaves at the end. 
  • Squash Preparation:
    • The squash can be peeled, cubed, and then steamed or boiled. After the onions and garlic are sauteed, everything can be blended together (adding the spinach at the end).
    • The squash can be baked at 375° for 40 minutes and then peeled.
  • Replace 
  • coriander, 
  • cumin, and 
  • turmeric with:
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup
    • small handful of parsley, cilantro, mint, and sage
    • Replace ginger with:
      • cardamom, cinnamon, mace, and/or nutmeg