Flu season is here and vitamin C is our ally! Prepare to fight back with my Orange-Scented Butternut Squash Soup- it's comfort in a bowl.
As an Emergency Medicine doctor, I know that once winter rolls around, my shifts at the hospital are going to get a whole lot busier. That’s because we’re right in the middle of flu season. Everyday at work, I treat patients who are sick with the flu so it’s really important that I take precautions to protect myself and also counsel my patients on how they can protect themselves and their families against this highly contagious respiratory illness.
Tips for Fighting the Flu
- Get a flu shot
- Wash your hands properly
- Stay hydrated
- Get enough sleep
- Support your immune system
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that helps boost the immune system. Our bodies don’t produce vitamin C and since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, it’s not stored in the body (as opposed to fat-soluble vitamins). So that means that we require a continuous daily supply in our diets. The good news is that it’s found in so many foods including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli.
Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. One 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides more than 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamine- nutrients that may help strengthen your immune system. It makes a great addition to recipes like my Orange-Scented Butternut Squash Soup. This soup is comfort in a bowl and it’s perfect for cold and flu season!
How to Make Orange-Scented Butternut Squash Soup
First, I sauté aromatics like ginger and garlic with cubed butternut squash, which is rich in the disease-fighting antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C. Then I simmer it with vegetable stock and orange juice, which adds a pop of bright flavor and nutrients. Finally, I puree the soup until it reaches a perfectly creamy consistency- no cream needed. As a finishing touch, I like to top my soup with a swirl of tangy Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, fresh cilantro, orange zest and some toasted pumpkin seeds for a delightful crunch!
Looking for more tasty soups and stews? Check out my collection of the best Fall Soup Recipes to get more ideas. Some of the recipes included are:
Orange-Scented Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 ½ lbs), peeled and diced (5-6 cups)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Optional garnishes: Crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro or parsley, pumpkin seeds, orange zest
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Add the squash, maple syrup, stock, orange juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer on low heat. Cover and simmer the soup until squash is fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Alternatively, puree the soup in batches in a traditional blender. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with desired toppings such as yogurt or crème fraiche, cilantro or parsley, pumpkin seeds and/or orange zest.