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Squash, a member of the gourd family, is a hearty vegetable chock full of vitamins and phytonutrients. Slice one open and discover bright orange and yellow flesh, its source of beta-cryptoxanthin on full display. This antioxidant helps strengthen communication within a cell and includes properties known to fight chronic inflammation and heart-related diseases. Squash varieties also contain bioflavonoids; these compounds work with vitamin C to protect the body against certain cancers and support healthy bones and teeth. Their high levels of carotenoids are also responsible for balancing hormones and can stave off early menopause. Sakara Wellness Coach and self-described "food alchemist", Sasha Pagni, creates ceremony with the autumn's bounty with three deeply nourishing and simple ways to incorporate this full-body healer into your meals. 



Pagni generously shares this personal recipe she curates under the autumnal moon. "I'm a miso lover, and this soup has savory, umami undertones thanks to the chickpea miso and mushroom broth." It's a love letter to herbs; Pagni suggests taking the health benefits to the next level by using the Magic Shroom Broth as the base. She recommends giving the texture depth with plenty of crunchy toppings, her signature of pumpkin seeds very much included.


  • 1 small kabocha squash or red kuri squash
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  •  2 garlic cloves, smashed
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • One 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chickpea miso
  • 3 cups mushroom broth (chef's recommendation: Magic Shroom Broth)
  • ¼ cup coconut yogurt (chef's recommendation: Anita's or Eat Clean Play Dirty orgasmic coconut yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds
  • Optional herbs to top: lemon balm, rosemary, tulsi basil, sage
  • Optional crunchy toppings: shiitake bacon, crispy beans, pumpkin seeds, smoked salt
  • Optional adaptogenic bonus: 2 teaspoons reishi powder


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
  2. Cut squash in half and drizzle olive oil onto it. Place squash on baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes until tender.
  3. In a large pot on medium heat, combine olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft and fragrant. 
  4. Add in ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and cumin and cook for 1 minute, evenly coating the onion and garlic.
  5. Pour in the mushroom broth, red pepper flakes, chickpea miso, and white pepper and bring to a simmer. Whisk the broth gently to keep the miso from clumping. Add in optional herbs or reishi mushroom powder. 
  6. Once the squash is done cooking, scoop out the seeds, peel/cut the skin off, and chop into large pieces. 
  7. Place squash into the simmering broth and cook for an additional 15 minutes. 
  8. In batches, place soup into the blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Pour back into pot and taste, stirring in coconut yogurt, then add more salt and white pepper, if needed. 
  10. Top with seeds and optional herbs or shiitake bacon upon serving.



These falafel-like, garlicky goodies are chockfull of flavor; notes of pepper, cumin, and 'cheezy' nutritional yeast stand out. Pagni serves these a few ways: in a sandwich, with microgreens and your favorite spreads; nestled in a taco, topped with the Smoky Pinto Herbal Beans; dipped in hummus or the Bean Dip; or simply straight up for a most delicious snack. 



  • ½ kabocha squash
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 cup white beans (or chickpeas)
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil (for cooking)


  1.  Preheat oven to 350. Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
  2. Cut squash in half and drizzle olive oil onto it. Place squash on and roast for 25 minutes until tender.
  3. Place squash in a blender, adding bell pepper, beans, onion, all seasonings, parsley, and olive oil.
  4. Blend until smooth and then add in the oat flour and blend until well combined. 
  5. Cover mixture and place mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour; allow it to firm up so that you can form the squash bites.
  6. Once out of the fridge, scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture out and form into a thick disc. If it is too sticky, add additional oat flour, 1 teaspoon at a time. 
  7. Once all bites are formed, place a large pan on the stove and add 3 tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan. Turn the burner to medium heat and allow the avocado oil to heat for 1 minute.
  8. When the oil is heated, begin to add the squash bites to the pan, making sure not to crowd them. 
  9. Cook until the bottom of the bite has become nicely browned; depending on your stove, it will take 2-4 minutes. Once it is browned, flip bite over and cook on the other side for 2-4 minutes. Adjust the heat and amount of oil as necessary to ensure they are not burning on either side.



This orange sauce is bright and electric and takes advantage of using the whole squash with little waste. Choose small cherry or Roma tomatoes for a slight acidic hit—skip over big, plump heirloom varieties to avoid the recipe becoming too watery. "It's super creamy and I put it on red or white sauce pizza, then top with crispy mushrooms, figs, and arugula for a harvest season celebration. On pasta, my favorite combination includes nutmeg, toasted pumpkin seeds, and crispy Brussel sprouts. Top with this smoky sauce to elevate the whole meal," Pagni says.


  • winter squash of choice (chef's recommendation: 2 honeynut squash, 1 butternut, or a ½ of large kabocha squash)
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Celtic salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • ¼ of an onion, sliced and sauteed
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 
  • Few sprigs of sage or ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ cup water or plant-based milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half and drizzle olive oil over both sides. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the oven. Cook squash until soft, around 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the squash is cooking, slice the onions and in a pan, sauté them on medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to brown.
  3. Once the squash and onions are done, place squash, onion, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and all spices into a blender and puree. It will be extremely thick at first, so slowly add liquid (plant-based milk or water) to the blender and scrape down the sides to ensure it is all incorporated.
  4. Blend until completely smooth, around 5 minutes.
  5. Taste sauce and adjust spices as needed. Use as a pasta sauce or pizza sauce.



Shiitake "Bacon" Strips

Crispy Beans and Greens

Plant-Based Som Tum 

Filed Under: Recipes

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