Vata-Balancing Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash with Walnuts

In Ayurveda all medicine is local. It must be individualized and tailored to each person’s setting and environment. Right now in San Francisco it’s cold and windy, which tends to disturb Vata. Mark Twain once said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

So even though it’s summer I’m sharing the following recipe which is great for cold weather — that’s the beauty of Ayurveda:

Baked Butternut Squash with Walnuts – Vata-Balancing version

Ingredients: (organic recommended)
1 medium-size butternut squash
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 tablespoon black strap molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
12-14 raw walnuts

• Preheat oven to 350 F
• Wash squash and then cut lengthwise down the middle
• Scoop out the seeds
• Lightly coat the exposed parts of the squash with 1 tablespoon ghee
• Place skin-side down in a baking pan
• Cook for about 30 minutes until squash is tender
• Scoop out the squash and spoon into a shallow smaller baking pan lined with 1 tablespoon ghee
• Add ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and black strap molasses. Mix well and top with raw walnuts
• Bake for another 15-20 minutes until walnuts are crisp

Vata is light, cold and dry so the foods that balance this have the opposite qualities: heavy, warm, and moist. Squash is a vegetable with powerful vata-balancing properties, which is why it’s often recommended in the winter. The ghee and walnuts provide grounding and calming qualities. Sweet and spicy tastes are especially good for balancing vata, so the combination of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom will balance the heavy qualities of the dish. Black strap molasses are an all-natural sweetener that is rich in potassium and calcium. This dish is an integrative medicine bonanza of blood sugar and cholesterol lowering cinnamon, walnuts high in omega-3’s, squash rich in vitamins A and C, and calcium and iron from the molasses.



  1. Karen A. January 14, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  2. Rose Martine October 16, 2019 at 3:21 am - Reply

    this looks so delicious! My husband hates eggs, so I never make Frittata’s which is a shame. Have you tried freezing this or something similar. I’m thinking for my breakfast or lunch, I could make ahead. Let me know, much appreciated!

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