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Wicked Vegan- Stuffed Accorn Squash1

ahh, Thanksgiving. Probably one of the hardest holidays for those with dietary restrictions. Raise your hand if you have been taunted with greasy turkey legs, been asked a million questions about your diet (“But where do you get your protein? Don’t you miss meat? What would happen if you had one bite? Wouldn’t it be funny if I hid meat in your vegetables?!”) and generally felt left out over this holiday. There was definitely one Thanksgiving when I was a vegetarian when my options were mashed potato, rolls and a garden salad. All good things but not super festive, you know? So I feel ya’. I’ve compiled some yummy tidbits from the blog that I think you could bring to your Thanksgiving dinner and not get crap over (“Is this some sort of healthy, vegan food??”). All the below recipes have been tested on meat eaters and received thumbs up.

Actually, that’s a lie…I never tested the Vegan Green Bean Casserole out on my family because I hoarded it all to myself. True story.

bbqpolentabites

BBQ Polenta Bites

Three Pepper Hummus

Buffalo Hummus

Blueberry Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Hot Pretzel Challah Bread

pumpkinburger

Southwestern Pumpkin Burger

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Green Bean Casserole

Garlicky Brussel Sprouts

Wicked Vegan PB Krispie Treats

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats (these would be so cute with little turkey cookie cutters and sprinkles)

Chai Spiced Cookies

Now, you can probably see there aren’t a lot of main dishes up there. The past few years I’ve eaten Tofurkey but I just wasn’t feeling it this year. Those Tofurkey loaves are a lot for one person! I end up having leftovers for ever. So this year I am trying a stuffed acorn squash. I was SO impressed and happy with the way it came out. I made this recipe while at my parents this weekend and my mom, a meat eater, got to sample everything and was equally impressed.

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Apple, Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tahini Maple Dressing
from Edible Perspective, with mild adaptations
yields 4 main dish servings

for the dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled + smashed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • salt + pepper to taste

for the squash and apples:

  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 2 crispy apples (I used honeycrisps)
  • salt + pepper

for the kale and quinoa:

  • 3-4 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 cups chopped kale (lacinato/dino was recommended but seriously, I can never find it. Curly green kales works just fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 – 5 TBSP dried cranberries
  • pecans for garnish

for the dressing: Combine the smashed garlic, lemon juice, and oil in a jar.  Seal and shake vigorously.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Shake once more then remove the garlic.  Add tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.  Seal and shake until smooth.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper/maple syrup if needed.  Set aside.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

for the squash and apples: Preheat your oven to 400* F.  In a small pan combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cayenne over medium-low heat and stir until melted.  Take off the heat.  Slice 2 acorn squashes in half, remove and toss the seedy middle and coat the flesh with the oil/maple mixture.  Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 35-40 minutes until tender.  A few minutes later slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices, removing any seeds/core.  Place on a baking sheet and toss to coat with remaining oil/maple mixture.  Place in the oven during the last 7-10 minutes of squash roasting.  Roast for 7 minutes to maintain a nice crunch.

for the kale and quinoa: As soon as the squash is in the oven heat a pot over medium with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot add the quinoa and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add the water then raise heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and keep covered.  After placing your apples in the oven to roast place a large pan over medium heat and melt 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the kale and stir frequently for about 3-5 minutes until wilted.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and combine in the pan with the kale.  Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper and add the lemon juice and craisins.  Stir to combine. Once the the squash and apples are complete, dice the apples and combine with the quinoa and kale.

to assemble: Place the roasted squash half on a plate and fill with the quinoa mix. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and sprinkle with pecans.

*NOTE* If you are making this for Thanksgiving, you can make the dressing and quinoa/kale mixture ahead of time (including the apples) and save the acorn squash for the day of. You can microwave the filling after  you pull out the squash. It will save some time and dishes when there is a ton going on in the kitchen. You can also cook and stuff the acorn squash the night before (do not put dressing on) and reheat the next day on 350 for about 40 minutes uncovered (covering may speed the cooking time). Just a few things to keep in mind when prepping for Thanksgiving.

—– other serving option —–

for a salad- style dish: visit Edible Perspectives page and check out how she presents this as a salad dish. This option would be great if you want to make this dish for a large group of people or want to serve it as a side-dish.

Wicked Vegan- Stuffed Acorn Squash3

This recipe is so yummy! I love love love the dressing and will most likely be using this as my go to dressing going forward. Also, I am a huge fan of the roasted apples and craisins mixed in. It gives it such a nice sweetness. Plus, it just looks so pretty when plated up!

If you are wondering what I served with it in the picture above, that is the stuffing I will be sharing with you tomorrow. Trust me when I say you are going to want to tune it. It has this challah pretzel bread in it!

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It’s Friday everyone! What will you be doing this weekend? My To-Do list says I’ll be cleaning my room, scrapbooking, catching up on blogs posts and going to the gym.

HAHAHA! That’s what my To-Do list has said every single weekend for three weeks.

Instead, I will most likely stay in bed too late on Saturday because, obviously, it’s the first day of the weekend and I need to recover from my week. Then I’ll spend the day watching bad TV and ridiculous movies until someone forces me to get out of my bed and my PJs by inviting me to do something. At which point, I will definitely need to shower and get ready, which definitely means no time for room cleaning!

On Sunday, I will most likely stay in bed too late because, obviously, it’s the last day of the weekend and I won’t be able to stay in bed late for 5 whole days! I’ll then go on a crazy cooking run making and photographing food for the blog next week, which definitely means no time for room cleaning!

This happens every. weekend.

BUT! While I’m vegging out watching another episode of Gilmore Girls, which I’ve seen 800 times, I’ll be munching on this delicious meal for brunch. I can not sing this breakfast hash’s praises enough. I seriously love it.

Autumn Breakfast Hash
serves about  5ish servings

  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 TBSP apple cider
  • 2 potatoes, I used russet
  • 1/2 a butternut squash
  • 1 apple, chopped into cubes
  • 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts (I would guessimate at 1/2 pound), ends and loose leaves removed
  • 2 pinches of pumpkin pie spice
  • salt to taste

 

Begin by slicing your onions into thin slices for caramelizing. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Once hot, put your onions in the pan and stir. Keep stirring occasionally as your onions begin to caramelizing. Once then have begun to turn brown, about 10 minutes in, pour in your apple cider and stir. Let the apple cider cook down, stirring the onions occasionally. This should take another 10 minutes or so. When they are done, there should be no more liquid in the pan and your onions will be  dark brown and soft. Set a side.

Meanwhile, while your onions are cooking, begin to prep the veggies. Peel your potatoes and dice into small cubes. Peel your butternut squash (good luck with that!) and dice into the same size as your potatoes. You want them smaller so they will cook up fast in your skillet. I made mine about the size of a small brussel sprout.

Add a little more oil to a large skillet. When hot, add the potatoes and the butternut squash. Saute for about 5 minutes uncovered. Add the brussels sprouts, stir and cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until your vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Stir in your chopped apple, caramelized onions, pumpkin pie spice and salt and cook for a few more minutes, uncovered, until they are heated through. If you want your apples soft like your veggies, throw in a few minutes sooner.

We ate ours with whole wheat biscuits and apple butter but you could also stir in some crumbled, slightly pressed tofu for a scrambled-egg like texture or some vegan sausage for some spice.

This may be one of my favorite breakfasts ever. The sweetness of the apples and the onions is so good with the butternut squash and potatoes and it’s super filling! I may have had it every day for breakfast this week…and I may be preparing to make it again this weekend…

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Warm Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I was SO productive this weekend. I got so many things on my To-Do list done- I went to Container Store, I organized my cabinet, I painted some Halloween flowers pots and planted mums, I cooked, I cleaned, I got stuff done! More on that later.

The point is, I was exhausted yesterday! I need another day off to recover from my weekend. So when I got home after work, though I had every intention of making sweet potato quinoa burgers and cleaning my room, I decided that I was too tired and the weather was too beautiful! 60s and sunny! So I threw my To-Do list out the window (I’ve only been meaning to clean my room for two weeks. It can wait another day!) and went for a walk. It was my favorite kind of weather! An hour later, I came home and all I could think of was a big bowl of warm oatmeal. I put on my favorite pajamas, made a big bowl of this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and curled up to watch Nightmare Before Christmas. It was kind of the perfect night.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
from Oh She Glows
1 large serving

  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger + pinch of kosher salt
  • 1  1/4 cups Almond Milk
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (OSG recommends Granny Smith but you can use whatever you have. I used Gala)
  • 1 to 1 1/2  tablespoon pure maple syrup + more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, for sprinkling on top

1. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, whisk together everything EXCEPT the vanilla and walnuts.

2. Heat over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often. When the mixture thickens and the liquid is absorbed, it is ready. Stir in the pure vanilla extract.

3. Pour into a dish and sprinkle with chopped walnuts, a pinch of cinnamon, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a spoonful of peanut butter, if you dare.

Know what else I did, as I huddled in my bed singing along to This Is Halloween? I may have colored. I may have googled “Coloring Pages” and one of the first things that came up was a picture of Rainbow Brite, who I’m considering being for Halloween (My mom, who makes all of my halloween costumes, just shed a tear thinking about coming up with a Rainbow Brite pattern). I may have then colored her in Halloween colors (cause I was watching Nightmare Before Christmas…Duh!). Then, I may have scanned it so I could show it to all of you lovely people. I may have missed my calling as a Professional Crayonist.

Clearly, the scanned version doesn’t show off my exquisite shading abilities but it will have to do…

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True story: I like the idea of going out to eat but I very rarely do it because I can  never make up my mind where to go. Melinda was crashing at my apartment a few weekends ago and we decided we were just too lazy to make dinner and I had no food in the house. So we decided to get take out. 45 minutes later, surrounded by take out menus and coupons, we hadn’t committed to anything yet. We couldn’t decide what we were in the mood for. We couldn’t decide whether we wanted delivery or to go get it. We couldn’t decide on anything.

Basically, we just wanted someone to deliver us the best food ever without us having to decide on the food and, we wanted it to be free.

We were sort of pathetic.

This is what happens to me at least once a weekend, though, when I’m too wiped out to make dinner. I always think, “Pizza can be delivered to me in no time!” and then I see all the other options that are out there and nothing gets ordered.

But not this weekend! This weekend, I’m ready! I have this delicious autumn pizza waiting for me in my fridge. Win for me!

Autumn Apple Sage Pizza
inspired by How Sweet Eats

Dough:

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (the original recipe called for 1 c. whole wheat flour and 3/4 c. of all-purpose but I was out of whole wheat)
1 tablespoon honey (see my comments on honey and veganism here)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of your electric mixer with an attached dough hook, combine warm water, yeast, honey and oil and mix with a spoon. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy, then add in flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, then turn to medium speed to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If it seems to sticky, add a bit more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Brush a separate bowl with olive oil, add dough, turning once, then set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours. Cover with a towel.

While your dough is rising, you can start your pesto sauce…

Sage Pesto:
adapted from the book Skinny Bitch in the Kitch  by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
(makes approx. 1 cup)

1/4 cup whole almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for storing
1 cup fresh sage leaves
1/2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

*The original recipe called for 1/4 c. vegan cream cheese but I couldn’t find any. Feel free to include it but it wasn’t necessary

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor in the order given. Scrape down the sides as necessary and continue pulsing to achieve a uniform consistency.

If desired, place sage pesto in a container and top off with olive oil to store.

Pizza Toppings:

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 TBS olive oil

1 large apple, very thinly sliced

1 small yellow onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 c. vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

3/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese ( I used Daiya)

Vegan Bacon (optional)

Preheat your oven 375 degrees. Spray your pizza pan lightly with cooking spray. I prefer round pizzas to square but all I had available was a square cookie sheet. (I’m sure a pizza stone would work great for this too but I’m not fancy enough for one of those!)

15 minutes for dough is ready, slice onions. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, then add onions with a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carmelized. In the last minute, add garlic and cook for 60 seconds, then set aside off heat.

When your dough is ready, remove from the bowl and place on your greased pizza pan. Stretch out evenly in pan. Top with sage pesto ( I used about half of what I made). Sprinkle with nutmeg. Add mozzarella cheese. Slice apples (a mandolin slicer would be perfect for this…but I’m not fancy enough for one of those, either) and layer on top of pesto and cheese, then add your onion/garlic mixture. Cover with cheddar cheese. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you are using vegan bacon, cook in the microwave for about a minute, slice and add to pizza 5 minutes before its finished. I did this with my first round and I didn’t think the vegan bacon added much to the recipe.

But what would a pizza be without chip??

BBQ Kale Chip
from Healthful Pursuits

1 head kale

1/3 cup cashews

2-3 tbsp water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp smoked paprika + more for sprinkling

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp herbamare

dash of cayenne

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and take out a cookie sheet. No oiling/greasing needed.
  2. Drop all ingredients but kale in a blender and process until smooth. (I used a food processor because I had it out from the pesto. It didn’t really work well and my BBQ has cashew bits in it. It was still good though)
  3. Wash kale and remove stem – I  just rip it from the stem. Place kale in a large bowl and cover with 1/4 cup of the paprika mixture. Stir to coat before laying out on prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle kale with extra smoked paprika and bake for 14-17 minutes (I cooked mine for 14 but it definitely could have used more time)

This was my first go-around with kale. I’ve always avoided it because the ruffles kind of creep me out. I’m not a ruffles girl. Pyramid studs- yes. Ruffles- not so much. I was pleased with the results, though! The BBQ sauce definitely had a kick to it but it had really good flavor! Unfortunately, my kale didn’t get chip-like . The edges got kind of crispy but overall, the kale was still soft. It still had great flavor, though.  I’ll cook it for a bit longer next time.

I’m a huge fan of this meal. Then again, I’m a huge fan of pizza and BBQ so I could I not be?? The pizza was light and the apples and nutmeg adds such a great fall feeling. The BBQ sauce on the kale chips was delicious. It created a great new way to eat greens!

PS. Save that extra BBQ sauce. I have a yummy way to use that leftovers that I’ll post on Weds

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