Roasted butternut squash and red pepper soup topped with Linwoods sunflower & pumpkin seeds – absolutely jam-packed with antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotene!
Sounds great but what actually is an antioxidant?
Various nutrients and enzymes, such as; vitamins C and E, minerals such as zinc and selenium, phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as beta-carotene, and enzymes such as glutathione, are all considered anti-oxidants because of a shared type of property that they exhibit. Basically they prevent cell damage caused by unstable molecules in the body known as ‘free-radicals’. Antioxidants combine with and neutralize free radicals, therefore stopping them from causing damage. This is thought to be important because cell damage caused by free radicals has been linked to ageing and degenerative diseases. However free radicals also play a part in our defence system – killing viruses and bacteria – so they aren’t all bad but we know that at high levels (resulting from environmental triggers such as UV radiation, smoking and drugs) can cause damage to healthy cells.
Do you need to supplement your diet with antioxidants? No (unless you’re clinically deficient in something). All plant foods contain antioxidants so make your diet as colourful as possible with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 Jar of roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp of Olive oil and extra to drizzle.
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1L vegetable stock
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 TBSP of Linwoods milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Toasted seeds to serve
- Heat the oven to 200C. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and score the flesh with a sharp knife. Arrange the two halves on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, and cook for 45-50 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and roughly chop, leaving the skin on.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and sautee the onion and garlic until soft for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika and chilli flakes.
- Add the carrots, peppers, and roasted squash to the pot. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, season with salt and black pepper, stir in the linwoods milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and allow to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Blend with hand held liquidiser or using a food processor.
- Serve hot sprinkled with toasted seeds and chilli flakes.
This recipe post was sponsored. All opinions are my own.