Tag Archives: butternut squash

Macinsquash.

12 Mar

There is a restaurant near me that I’ve been to a couple times who serves a “cheeseless” mac ‘n cheese. They are by no means a vegan restaurant – not even vegetarian – but this dish seems to be a staple and a favorite among many.  Not surprisingly, because it is DELICIOUS.  Recently, I decided I wanted to try and recreate it.  All I knew was that it contained butternut squash… and pasta… so, I briefly browsed through recipes online for vegan mac ‘n cheese, to see what people were using to give it the “cheese-like” consistency.  I came to two conclusions: nutritional yeast, and daiya vegan cheese.  Ugh.  Since I refuse to use overly processed vegan “cheese”, and something about nutritional yeast weirds me out… maybe it’s the name, maybe I should start calling it by it’s ethiopian name “yeshi”… or maybe I should just (wo)man up and use it… but either way, the point is I didn’t want to use it in this recipe.  So, off to my own drawing board!

I just decided to wing it, and see what would come of it!

….first step, roast the squash!

Since I was making this dish vegan, I used almond milk (hoping it would give a little nutty creamy flavor), and thickened it with arrowroot powder, adding a little turmeric for color (and anti-inflammatory benefit!).  Onions and garlic? sure… might add a nice touch…I suppose I’ll sauté those together…  now it’s time to turn to my ever-so-handy cuisinart and blend everything into oblivion. tasty oblivion.  cook pasta. mix together. bake….. voila!

Ok ok, but let’s back up, and go over those ingredients and process in list form :)  Also, you can totally still add cheese if you just want a healthier mac ‘n cheese and don’t need/want this to be vegan.  I tried it both ways, one dish as just the squash mixture, and the other I added sharp cheddar cheese. Both were really good! Have fun with it, adjust the ingredients to your own taste, if you wish. Also, this recipe is gluten free if you use a gluten free pasta!!

Ingredients:

makes an 8×14″ baking pan, 6-8 servings

  • 16 oz pasta of your choice (I like shells! and next time I will use quinoa pasta…gluten free!!)
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 3 cups, once roasted/mashed)
  • 1-1/2 + cup unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • +/- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (optional, if you don’t want it vegan)

Process:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F, cut squash in half, remove seeds, brush lightly with olive oil, and roast for 40 minutes or until done (should be very soft). You can also peel the squash and cut into cubes, and roast the cubes if you are short on time (they’ll roast faster).
  2. Spoon the squash out of the peel (unless you peeled it and cubed it already), discard the peel. You should get somewhere between 2 and 3 cups of squash mash. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta, set aside when done.
  4. While the squash and pasta are cooking, dice the 1/4 onion and garlic.  Saute onion and garlic together with a little olive oil for 5 or 10 minutes until onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups almond milk to a simmer (not boiling), add arrowroot powder and turmeric.  Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Now, hopefully you have a cuisinart! If not, you can do this in a blender.  Throw everything you just made into the cuisenart MINUS the pasta. The squash, the onion/garlic, and the almond milk mixture. Blend it all together, scraping down the sides to make sure everything fully incorporates together.  Now is the time you have to use your judgement…. you might need to add a little more almond milk if the mixture seems too thick (this will all depend on how much squash you got out of your squash), so add almond milk and keep blending until the mixture is more like the consistency of yogurt.  Also, add salt to taste! I probably added about 2 teaspoons.. but I didn’t measure. Just add a little, blend, taste, add more if needed.. repeat.
  7. When your mixture is satisfactory to you, put the pasta into a big mixing bowl, and pour the squash mixture over it. mix mix mix! Now’s the time to add cheese if you are going to.
  8. Spoon the mixture evenly into a 8×14 baking dish (or similar), and bake for 30 or so minutes at 375 F, until the top starts to brown a little. Remove from oven, and serve right away! Enjoy!!

Moroccan Couscous

16 Feb

This is one of my mom’s recipes. I like to do a little extra butternut squash to have on a side salad. You can certainly do it with regular couscous, but you’ll need less stock (maybe just half a cup), and the couscous will cook faster – after you bring the liquid to a boil, stir in couscous and raisins, cover, and let stand until liquid is absorbed (about five minutes). For my tastes, however, Israeli couscous is worth the wait! ~ Paula

ingredients:

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup (at least) vegetable stock
  • 1/8 cup honey (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

process:

  1. Place baking sheet lines with aluminum foil in oven, preheat to 450
  2. Toss squash and onion with oil, salt and pepper to taste
  3. Transfer to baking sheet, roast until tender, stirring occasionally (about 20 min); set aside
  4. Combine stock, honey, lemon juice, oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and lemon zest in a pot
  5. Bring to a boil, stir in couscous and raisins
  6. Cover, let simmer until couscous is soft – stir and add more stock as needed, any extra liquid can be poured off
  7. Stir in roasted veggies, top with parsley

Butternut Squash and Feta Muffins

6 Nov

I love these muffins. They are definitely for fans of savory – not sweet – though the roasted squash does add a mellow sweetness that contrasts nicely with the salty bite of the goat’s milk feta. Enjoy! ~ Paula


ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup feta (cubed)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

process:

  • preheat oven to 405 F, place a rack in the top third
  • grease a 12-cup muffin tin
  • sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper over squash, mix well, and spread over baking sheet
  • bake 15-25 minutes until tender, then set aside to cool
  • gently fold squash with spinach, cilantro, pine nuts, parmesan, and feta
  • sift flour and baking powder onto the mix, top with salt and a bit of pepper; fold together – do not over mix!
  • divide batter evenly in the muffin tin, bake 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden
  • cool for a few moments, then turn out onto a rack

Velvety Butternut Squash Risotto

19 Jan

This velvety risotto is given it’s creamy smooth texture by the butternut squash…no cream or butter added! Healthy, well rounded and versatile; this recipe shows off the flavors and textures of any desired produce. Have fun, change it up, but never leave out the squash!  —Alex

ingredients:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice (you can also use 1 cup wild rice or brown rice plus 1 cup arborio)
  • 1 cup mashed butternut squash
  • 2 cups chopped asparagus
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional – omit if vegan)

process:

  1. Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover, and keep heat on low. (You will use the heated broth later)
  2. Put the oil in large (at least 14″ diameter x 3″ deep) pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, scallion, and garlic & saute for several minutes until tender.
  3. Add rice; stir constantly until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in center.
  4. Add wine; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often.
  5. Add broth 1 cup at a time while stirring, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next.
  6. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese.
  7. Continue adding broth by cupfuls and stirring until rice is almost tender.
  8. A couple minutes before it seems done, add the cheese and stir in until evenly melted through.
  9. Remove from heat, place in a serving bowl, & enjoy!

yields about 8 servings