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{EAT} Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad

I recently did a workshop, Healthy Eating Made Easy, both online and off (watch here) and the subject of diets came up. Now I HATE the word diet, because people often follow a diet blindly not realizing that it could potentially be bad for them.

For instance, if you’re a vegan and you struggle to digest grains, you will find it challenging to thrive on that diet. Similarly, if you follow a Paleo diet and meat gives you digestive grief, rising to your healthiest and highest self will prove difficult- regardless of how much weight you lose. It’s not about weight loss it’s about gaining health; weight loss, my friends, is a by-product of good living. Simple as that.

I digress.

When we got on the topic of diets, I extolled the virtues of eating more plant based meals; because when you do you will get a broader range of vitamins and nutrients. Here’s why.

When you rely on meat, carbs and a side of vegetable routinely, things can get boring; but when we have to combine proteins to make them complete we often look to different and dynamic sources; like combining chickpeas with lentils, or almonds with lentil, which give a lovely texture but also lots of different vitamins and nutrients in addition to healthy fats, soluble and insoluble fibres.

I will never tell you to eat the way I eat, but what I will challenge you to do is to start eating more plants, to start filling your plate with colourful vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats. I will implore you to think of meat as a side dish, and vegetables as the star.

I will help you do that. Starting with this warm salad.

T’is the season of butternut squash! And for those that are trying to eat healthy on a budget, squash is your friend right now. When butternut squash is roasted it becomes sweet and creamy, which will satisfy you like no other.

And if you’re the type to toss squash seeds, DON’T! Rinse them and roast them in a pan on the stove top with salt, pepper and oil, then garnish this salad with them for added crunch.

Chickpea are legit one of my favourite forms of soluble fibre, because it gently moves things out of our system quickly and effectively. And by things I mean nasty excess hormones.

And now we’ve reached the culinary portion of this post! One of mine and my clients favourite spices at the moment is a Moroccan spice called Ras-El Hanouj, which has a delightful kick that is packed with flavour. It plays well on vegetables, beef, chicken, tofu or as a spice in salad dressings and marinades. It’s dynamic and flavourful, so if you’re trying to create interesting meals, get thee some Ras-El Hanouj.

Lastly, if you struggle with dairy, you can feel free to omit; however, if you just get the stomach gurgles from cow’s milk dairy (not full blown lactose intolerance) goat’s milk dairy might be something to try. The enzymes in goat’s milk dairy, unlike cow’s milk dairy, can withstand the pasteurization process, therefore pre-digesting some of the tough to digest proteins. Give it a try;)

As a side or as a main, Moroccan Spiced Butternut Squash and Chickpea is something you want to try!