Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Love hummus? This hummus has a spicy twist to it. Harissa is a north African paste made form a blend of herbs and spices…. Perfect with a homemade flatbread.
Butternut Squash belongs to the ‘gourd’ family- which also includes cucumber and pumpkin and is technically classed as a fruit as it contains seeds. It is low in fat, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients and contains ample vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fibre, vitamin C and beta carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A). In relation to fertility, beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A) helps to produce the female sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone). These hormones are important for ovulation and for the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Beta-carotene is the plant-based precursor to vitamin A. It may also help protect us from conditions related to oestrogen dominance, for example breast cysts and heavy menstrual bleeding. When it comes to male fertility, food rich in antioxidants including beta carotene are associated with improving sperm quality in men.
Chickpeas have been grown and consumed in middle eastern countries for centuries and are thought to have originated in Turkey. They are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Chickpeas are part of the legume family and are excellent on the nutrition front as they are a low cost, source of protein
Spicy Harissa and Butternut Hummus
350g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
¼ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp harissa, plus a little extra for drizzling
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Handful of fresh coriander
Heat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. Place the butternut squash and garlic cloves in a roasting tin, season well and add 100ml water. Cover the tin with foil and bake for 45 mins, until the squash is tender. Leave to cool.
Tip the squash into a food processor. Add the red chilli and garlic cloves, squeezed out of their skins. Add the remaining ingredients, season with a pinch of salt, add the fresh coriander and blend to a paste. Spoon into a decorative bowl. Drizzle with extra harissa before serving.