A symbol of hope and prosperity in Eastern cultures, the almond used to be known for its fat content but has now made its way to the top of power-food lists. This nutrient-dense tree nut -- from the same family as peaches and apricots -- has become best known for its many health benefits. Eating a handful of almonds a day may lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and diabetes. These tasty tidbits are also an excellent source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and manganese -- 1 ounce (that’s about 24 almonds) has 35% and 32% of the RDA respectively. And with only 1 gram of saturated fat, 13 grams of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, 6 grams of protein, and 160 calories per ounce, it's clear that almonds are a friend of any true health nut.
Roasted Curried Squash Soup with Almonds
1 large butternut squash
1 large acorn squash
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 whole garlic bulb
½ tsp olive oil
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted, divided
5 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
½ cup apple juice
1½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fat-free half-and-half
6 tbsp fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried chives
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Cut each squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place cut side down along with onion on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cut top off garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil on cut surface, wrap bulb in aluminum foil, and place on sheet with other vegetables.
- Roast for about 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
- Scoop flesh from both squashes and squeeze out garlic flesh from bulb, placing all in a heavy-bottom pot along with onion, ½ cup almonds, chicken broth, apple juice, and spices.
- Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Using a hand or traditional blender, purée soup in batches until smooth; return to pot and add half-and-half and cook until thoroughly heated.
- Serve immediately with sour cream or yogurt, remaining almonds, and a sprinkle of chives.
Makes 8 servings