Winter Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil | Where Did the Recipe Labels Go?

Congratulations to the winner of my Vega prize pack giveaway: Andrew Rogers!

When I launched my blog way back in August 2011, I had only just begun my journey of recovery from an anorexia-like eating disorder. (I say “anorexia-like” because, similar to most all individuals suffering from disordered eating, my experiences proved much too complex to neatly pathologize). While both my weight and comfort with eating/food in general increased – the former steadily, the latter sporadically – I still harbored a fear of putting foods I deemed “unhealthy” into my body. Essentially, as my anorexia-like disorder subsided, my orthorexia-like disorder endured, masking itself as a well-intentioned desire to make food choices that would nourish my body, but basing itself in the pseudoscience and trends that circulate among food blogs and Pinterest recipe boards.

squash tomato soup 2

Recovering from this aspect of my eating disorder required re-imagining food outside of the false dichotomy I had created that categorized food into “good” and “bad,” as well as understanding that truly healthy eating involves both physical and mental wellbeing (read more on this subject in a previous post that also contains an awesome recipe for Ranch Potato Salad!). Removing these categories helped me to avoid seeing foods both as the effect I presumed they would have on my body (i.e., kale would turn me into a superhero while sugar would slowly dissolve my insides) and as a measure of my self-worth. It also helped me to re-root my veganism in a consideration of and respect for the bodies and minds of non-human individuals, rather than in an oft-touted belief that one can only achieve good health on a vegan diet – an assertion that erases the many cultures that have enjoyed long histories of vitality while including animal flesh and secretions in their eating habits.

squash tomato soup

Since de-categorizing my food choices served as an integral tool of my recovery, it seems only fitting that I also de-categorize the recipes on my blog. Previously labeled as “Low Fat,” “Low Sodium,” “Oil Free,” “Gluten Free,” “Nut Free,” and more, my recipes now only fall under one category: food. Of course, while I recognize and respect the reasoning of other bloggers to apply such labels to their recipes (allowing folks with food allergies to more easily find appropriate recipes, for example), doing so on my own blog now feels antithetical to my past and continued efforts to fully reconcile my relationship with food and eating.

squash tomato soup

To usher in this era without recipe labels, I’d like to share with you a creamy, full-bodied soup ideal for bridging the summer and fall as we undergo this period of seasonal transition. In late September-early October here in the Northeast, we’re seeing winter squashes popping up alongside summer’s fading basil bounty, and it only feels natural to me to follow the earth’s logic and combine them in a warming concoction to enjoy on the chilly days starting to weave through the waning heat. Sundried tomatoes provide richness and umami, while a touch of vinegar brightens the soup at the very end.

Is this recipe low in or free of anything? Only fear.

Winter Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:

2 tsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium winter squash such as butternut, buttercup, or acorn, cubed
4 cups vegetable broth or water
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (the kind not packed in oil)
1/2 of a large bunch of basil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a large soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion for 5-7 minute, or until it turns translucent. Add the salt and garlic and saute for another minute. Add the squash cubes and saute for another minute. Add the sundried tomatoes and broth/water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then partially cover, lower the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir in the basil.

Puree the soup either with an immersion blender, or (carefully!) in batches in a standing blender. Add water to thin, if desired. Stir in the apple cider vinegar. Bring back up to heat on the stove, and serve when the soup has reached your desired temperature.

Recipe submitted to Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

In solidarity, Ali.

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7 thoughts on “Winter Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil | Where Did the Recipe Labels Go?

  1. narf77 says:

    I suffer from an eating disorder as well but on the opposite end of the spectrum. I overeat and will spend the rest of my life managing my problem. I am echoing your journey from the other side and we are both working to an harmonious middle ground with food. I am really glad that you are distancing yourself from labeling food as “good” and “bad” because I had never thought about that before. Food is just “food” and it’s only we humans in our first world luxury that are entitled enough to suffer from eating disorders. A bold step in distancing yourself from the tight coupling of “veganism” with extremism that is starting to rise to the surface and make everything smell a bit off. Here HERE for people like you who are willing to stand up and call some food, some food and tell it like it is. I knew there was a good reason why I started following this blog 🙂

  2. Ellie says:

    This post is really progressive. With the increase in food allergy diagnosis there is an allure surrounding an “insert allergen here-free” food. At the core, food is simply food. It’s refreshing to read your thoughts on this.

  3. raechel says:

    I totally appreciate your approach to this! I remember the first time I started seeing “grain-free” popping up on blogs I read and I started freaking out (because at this point I had already cut out so much from my diet—soy, gluten, some beans, “nightshades”, etc.) and I was like “fuck, now I have to give up quinoa to eat truly “clean”?!” Fortunately, I had a really supportive and helpful partner at the time who helped me realize that I don’t have a problem with grains so I should probably keep eating them!

    Also, I nominated you for a Liebster Award, which I know you’ve gotten before, but new survey questions are always fun, right? 🙂 http://rebelgrrlkitchen.com/2014/09/29/liebster-award/

    • Ali Seiter says:

      YES! What the blogosphere purports to be “healthy” is so hard to keep track of and it’s not even real most of the time.

      THANK YOU SO MUCH RAECHEL!!!! I’ll definitely answer your questions when my schedule frees up (hopefully soon). Thank you so much for your support. ❤

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