In addition to butternut squash, and a plethora of warming spices, this recipe also includes chickpeas and red lentils which add protein and depth. As a vegetarian, this combination draws me in. From a TCM perspective, the winter squash and the chickpeas are sweet and warm, nourish the spleen and stomach energy systems and aid digestion. The warming properties of this dish come from the turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. All of these spices warm the body’s interior, making it a perfect dish for the cold weather of winter. The red lentils are slightly cool and tonify the Yin which balances perfectly with the warmth of the spices, peas and squash. Lentils also drain damp from the body. So if you are feeling chilled, bloated, and fatigued, this would be an excellent dinner for you!
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- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until starting to turn brown. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the garlic, celery, spices and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Saute for a few minutes.
- Now add the red lentils, chickpeas, tomato sauce, parsley and about half the cilantro. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and seed the squash and cut into large cubes. Add squash to the pot with the vegetable stock and bay. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Add the pasta (or rice) and simmer until it is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, topping with chopped cilantro.
Download a printable recipe card here.
Marian Kimball Eichinger has a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is nationally certified in Acupuncture and a licensed acupuncturist in Minnesota. Click here to learn more about Marian.