Mush, you say? Oh yes I do. I first wanted to call this a soup or a stew, but, to be honest, it’s a slightly more glamorous version of …. Le mush. (Just say it with a French accent and add a French article and it already sounds like something you should order on your next trip to a fancy restaurant, oui?) This mush du jour is perfect for Fall. It’s hearty and soothing, but not too heavy. It’s easy on the digestive system and packed with anti-inflammatory foods to boost your immunity during this season filled with changing weather, stress and colleagues, family members and that random guy you’re sandwiched next to on the subway coughing in your face. It also happens to be delicious. Just because you may be ailing doesn’t mean you need to be punished with a bland, poor excuse for a meal, n’est-ce pas ? This is like sending your intestines to a fancy spa and sending them for a jacuzzi. It’s warming and healing and soothing for body and mind (hey, they’re connected, have you heard?)
This meal also happens to be très easy to put together quickly, great as leftovers and easy to prep ahead of time. You can add le mush to salad, roll into a nori or collard wrap or spread over toast the next day. It’s a great “kitchen sink” meal – just throw whatever veggies you have on hand into this one-pot wonderful dish and…voilà ! I added my favorite Fall vegetables, but feel free to replace these with whatever you have on hand – zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes are a lighter, delicious version of this and sweet potatoes, celeriac and turnips are great for winter.
Trust moi, le mush is le new black.
1 large chunk (around ½-1 cup raw) of butternut squash, peeled and cubed OR 1 small sweet potato OR winter squash of choice (kabocha, buttercup, etc..)
1 small parsnip
1 small piece of fresh ginger (to taste) or ginger powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ small red onion, chopped
½ tablespoon of coconut oil
1 handful of cilantro* (*or if you HATE cilantro, FINE you can leave this out if you insist.)
a pinch of black pepper
A handful of broccoli and/or cauliflower
1 teaspoon of miso paste (I like a white chickpea miso, but any will do)
¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder (or, if you have some fresh turmeric, even better! Hands, counter and clothing, be warned – you will turn orange! Don’t be scared!)
1 huge handful of greens of choice – tatsoi, bok choy, spinach, kale, collards…
1 cup of water
½ cup of coconut milk (OR, if you don’t have any, you can “cheat”! Just add extra water and 1 tablespoon of coconut butter! Try my favorite Dastony
Optional: ¼ cup of cooked chickpeas or (frozen is fine!) peas
Optional: juice of ½ lime or lemon
Optional: toasted cashews, walnuts, sesame seeds and/or coconut flakes
Peel and cut the butternut squash into chunks* (*for more on this, check out the page of my book “How not to kill yourself while cutting winter squash” http://goo.gl/bb6qnB ) Wash VERY well or peel parsnip and carrot. Peel and dice the onion and peel and mince the garlic and ginger. Chop the parsnip and carrots into thin slices. Wash the greens and cilantro well. Add coconut oil to a pan (I recommend http://www.greenpan.us ) and sautée the onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (around 1-2 minutes) Add the squash, carrot and parsnip and sautée for another 1-2 minutes. Add spices and mix again. Add water and/or coconut milk, broccoli and cauliflower, cover and let simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add peas or chickpeas and greens and continue to cook for another minute or so. Turn off heat, add miso paste and cilantro and mix well so that the squash pieces become mushy. Serve warm in a big bowl over a bed of rice or quinoa. You can top with toasted nuts or seeds and lime/lemon juice, but, for sensitive digestive systems, I recommend without.
For a twist, try adding some umeboshi paste for an even bigger boost to the digestive system and more umami flavor.
Bon appétit !