Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – I am several days into eating only food I already have in the house.  I have WAY too many frozen leftovers & dry pastas & beans etc taking up space & yet I keep going to the store to buy more food. It is ridiculous & wasteful.  Today’s recipe was inspired by a huge butternut squash I had & some other veggies rapidly reaching the end of their shelf life.  I used jarred salsa because I had one open but made the enchilada sauce because I did not already have some in a jar or can.  You can choose to go all jarred or all homemade – your call.

I also roasted a whole butternut squash.  You might want to buy some already cubed & roast those – or just boil them.  This can be as labor-intensive or as simple as you care to make it.

The real star of this dish is this newer vegan cheese I found.  It tastes great & does a fair job at melting – so – I recommend trying it if you see it or can find it online.  It is from Parmela Creamery and you can definitely buy it – and loads of other vegan cheeses – from them.

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Oh – as an aside – TJ Maxx is a great source for kitchen items.  They always have loads of olive oil marked way down.  I stock up every time I go there.

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Vegan Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Serves 6 well

INGREDIENTS

2 cups red enchilada sauce (my recipe HERE) or your favorite brand or recipe

16 oz salsa – homemade or your favorite brand

olive oil

1 small butternut squash

1/2 medium red (or any other kind) onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (optional) – seeded & diced

3 tomatoes – diced

2 carrots – diced

1 cup corn

1 12 oz can black beans – drained

1-4 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

15-20 taco-sized corn tortillas

Up to 1 lb grated vegan cheeses of your choice ( I used both cheddar & mozzarella)

S&P to taste

GARNISH: cilantro, sliced scallions, avocado slices, additional salsa or hot sauce

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375.

I roasted my butternut squash unpeeled & halved.  It was a sorta messy business doing it this way.  In the future, I will peel & cube it first.  Whatever you decide – roast it naked for 20-40 minutes, turning at least once, until it is soft.  If you cooked it like I did – let it cool in the sink & peel & cube it once it is cool enough to handle.  OR – you could peel, cube & boil it until the cubes are soft.  I had a large squash – so I put some extra mashed up into my dogs’ dinner.  They loved it!

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan & add the chopped carrots & onions.  When they start to soften, add the tomatoes, jalapenos, corn & black beans.  Add the spices & cilantro.  Heat through.  Add the garlic & saute 1 minute.  Stir in the cubed squash.  Season with S&P & set aside.

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Now – assemble the casserole.  Grease a casserole pan (I used cooking spray).  Put the salsa on the bottom.  The rest can be pretty random – as long as you end with 1/3 of the enchilada sauce & 1/3 of the cheese.

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Layer some corn tortillas & top with 1/3 of the veggie mixture, 1/3 of the cheese & 1/3 of the enchilada sauce.

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Add another 1/3 of the veggie mixture.  Layer with  1/3 of the cheese, more tortillas, the final 1/3 of the veggie & 1/3 of the enchilada sauce.

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Add another layer of tortillas & the rest of the enchilada sauce & cheese.

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I used the casserole glass lid to cover it.  You can do this or use foil.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, remove cover & bake another 10 minutes or so.  Let rest for ten minutes before serving.

Garnish with cilantro or scallions & maybe salsa, hot sauce or a few slices of fresh avocado.  Enjoy!

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Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I have never gotten into spaghetti squash. In fact – I don’t know if I have ever had it before today.  I knew it made a decent & guiltless pasta substitute but – when I want pasta – I want PASTA.  The one exception to this is my shirataki (zero calorie) noodle pho – seen just above.  I can eat that for lunch every day.

Still – I intentionally ordered a spaghetti squash from Farm Fresh to You this week to force myself to try it and I am glad I did.  It was easy to use and, while not convincing as pasta, it was good enough that I did not mind & it is so guiltless!

I made a collard green & pepita (pumpkin seed) pesto for this.  Click that link for the recipe or use your own favorite pesto variety.  It makes no real difference.  The real revelation here is how satisfying the spaghetti squash is – so – try it at least once.  I added roasted golden beets – you guessed it – because I had some.  They are a lovely addition but not critical.  As to the chard – you could use any other greens you like, instead.  If you are not vegan – tossing some Parmesan or goat cheese in this could be nice, too.

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Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

Serves  2 VERY well – more if used as a side

INGREDIENTS

Collard Greens & Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto – or 1 cup of other pesto

1 large spaghetti squash

6 Swiss chard leaves – spines removed but retained & chopped with the leaves (or about 2 cups)

3 (or more) golden beets – leaves & ends trimmed off

Olive oil

S&P

Garnish – either a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan or other vegan cheese or (if you are not vegan) real cheese (I used grated Asiago here)

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Ignore those collards there.  🙂

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the squash in half & scoop out the seeds.

Trim the beets & cover both the beets & squash with a bit of olive oil & some S&P.

Wrap the beets in foil.  Put the squash face-up on a cooking sheet & put the bundle of beets on the sheet, too.  Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Depending on the size of your beets – they might take longer.  Allow everything to cool.

When cool enough to handle – scoop out the squash flesh & set aside.  Rub the skins off the beets under running water & cube them.

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Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the chard over high heat.  I added about 1/4 cup of water to help steam the chard into wilting completely.  Add the beets & the spaghetti squash & combine.  Heat through.  Using two forks – stir in enough pesto to suit your taste.  Combine.  Season with S&P.

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Garnish maybe with an extra dollop of pesto or nutritional yeast or some cheese (vegan or otherwise).

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Baked Stuffed Eight Ball Squash (or Zucchini) with Leftover Pasta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Farm Fresh To You sent me three little 8-Ball squashes this week – and I had a boatload of leftover pasta and so – this dish was born.   I used the three eight ball squashes & a green & a yellow zucchini I had, too.  The kind of squash is not important but the eight ball squashes do make a cute presentation.   You can eat the flesh (and skin) of the eight ball squashes but I think this might be less pleasant if yours are very large.  Mine were pretty small & got very tender in the oven.

I did stuff the yellow zucchini but ran out of stuffing for the green one & could not be bothered to make more – so – I just filled it with sauce.  I used a teeny bit of real mozzarella on top & a really tiny bit of real Asiago in the filling but vegan cheeses would work just as well.

I used leftover pasta like this & the jarred sauce below.  You can use any type of pasta & sauce you prefer – even homemade ones.  You could add ground meat – like Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble to either the squash filling or your sauce – if you wanted to add protein to the dish.

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Baked Stuffed Eight Ball Squash (or Zucchini) with Leftover Pasta (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

12 oz cooked pasta

4 eight ball squashes (or 4 zucchini)

2 TBS olive oil

16 oz pasta sauce (or less but up to 16 oz – depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta)

1-6 garlic cloves

1 TBS fresh oregano – chopped (or 1 tsp dry)

1/4 cup mozzarella (or vegan mozzarella)

1/8 cup grated Asiago (or vegan Parmesan)

S&P

Garnish – chopped basil or parsley and maybe extra cheese (or vegan cheese)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the pasta & drain.

Cut the tops off the eight ball squash & carefully scoop out the flesh & set it aside.  A melon-baller or grapefruit spoon might make that easier.  If using zucchini – slice in half the long way & scoop out the seeds & flesh and set it aside.

Take about 1 cup of the cooked pasta & chop it a bit.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the squash flesh & saute a minute or so.  Add the garlic & oregano & stir.  Add the CHOPPED pasta, 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce stir.  Add Asiago or vegan Parmesan & stir.  Season with S&P & set aside.

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Treat a cooking pan with cooking spray.  Carefully stuff your peppers in the pan.  Top each with a little more sauce, some grated mozzarella & then with the squash tops themselves.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash are tender & the cheese is warmed (and/or melted).  If using zucchini – do the same thing – but there will be no little squash hats for the zucchini boats.

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This next part is up to you.  You can either boil water & put the remaining pasta in it for about a minute, just before you are ready to serve – or warm as much pasta sauce as you think you need for 2 servings & stir the pasta directly into it to reheat it.   The advantage to heating the pasta & sauce separately is that you can better control how much sauce each serving gets – because some people like lots of sauce & others prefer less.  This is your call.

Whatever you decide – when the squash is ready – plate some pasta & sauce on two plates & place two baked squash on top of each.

Garnish with basil and/or parsley & grated cheese.

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Vegan Creamy Red Kuri & Butternut Squash Risotto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Risotto is easy.  I do not know why people get intimidated.  Sure – you stand there stirring for 20-30 minutes but that really is not that long when you consider that you can feed a family with this comforting goodness – and making a large vat takes the same amount of time as a small quantity.  I made this vegan because I did not feel it really needed the cheese most risottos use.  That said – if you are not vegan – some nice Parmesan or goat cheese might be nice stirred in.  Also – I used 2-4 times as much squash as most recipes will suggest.  My thinking is that the squash is guiltless & filling so if the risotto is the smaller part of what you eat – it just makes for a lighter meal – and most folks appreciate lighter – especially when it still SEEMS creamy & decadent.

I used a red kuri squash & a butternut – because that is what I had.  You can use any orange squash you like or pumpkin or even sweet potatoes.

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Vegan Creamy Red Kuri & Butternut Squash Risotto

Serve 6

INGREDIENTS

2 cups risotto or arborio rice

9 cups vegetable stock

2 TBS olive oil

2 shallots – chopped

1 small onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

1 medium red kuri squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces (or any combo you prefer)

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

S&P

GARNISH OPTIONS – chopped parsley, fried sage, vegan or real Parmesan, vegan or real goat cheese, any soft & creamy cheese you like (vegan or otherwise)

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DIRECTIONS

Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat & leave simmering on the lowest flame.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot on MEDIUM heat & cook the shallots & onion for about 2 minutes.  Add the squashes & stir.  Cook the squash for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & stir.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Do not burn the garlic.

Add the wine (if using) and let the alcohol cook off (which happens very fast).  Add the rice & stir to incorporate the rice.

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Add the stock, one cup at a time & stir it in.  I left mine with a lid on a pan for a minute here & there to aid in steaming the rice.  Once that stock is absorbed, add more & keep stirring.  In about 20-30 minutes – you should have stirred in most of the stock.  Reserve about a cup.  If the rice is not tended – turn the heat to low & cover the pan for a few minutes.  If you need to add the rest of the stock – you can.  I used a potato masher & mashed about half of the squash into the rice.  This is an optional step – but it makes the risotto even creamier.  Once the rice is tender – I like to either stir in more stock or some water so that the risotto is just a tad more like a thick soup.  I hate dry & clumping risotto – but others might prefer it that way.  If you like it drier – just cook it down (careful not to burn it) until it is thick enough.  If it gets too thick – add stock or water.

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I served mine looking as soupy as that above.  The rice keeps absorbing so – it will thicken up fast.  Season with S&P.

Garnish as you desire & serve.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – in order to make this recipe – you really will need two important ingredients – seen above – preserved lemons & ras el hanout.  The preserved lemons will give the dish its distinctive Moroccan flair and the ras el hanout will keep this stew from tasting like a curry.   You can make the ras el hanout – as it is just a blend of other spices – but buying it will be so much cheaper & easier.  See the package below – list the spices involved in that particular brand.

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I used saffron – because I had it – but saffron can be very expensive so – if you don’t have any & don’t want to shell out the funds – blow the saffron off.  Same with the harissa (a hot sauce).  The two things I really suggest you not blow off are the preserved lemons & the ras el hanout – both of which can be purchased on Amazon.

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Preserved lemons come in a jar (see above) & are simply lemons pickled in brine.  They maintain all their sharp lemon flavor but are quite salty & very soft.   The flavor they give this dish is critical – so – be patient – and get some before making this.

Other than that – this is a straight-forward slow cooker dish (which could be made by simmering on the stove, too) with ingredients that are easy to come by.  I served mine with this Trader Joe’s blend of grains but couscous is more traditional.  I like this stuff from Trader Joe’s because it is pretty & offers lots of textures.  You can serve yours with whatever grain you prefer.

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I used Beyond Meat chicken because I think it is the best on the market.  I thawed & shredded it because it breaks down in stews better that way & because – visually – it really looks like shredded chicken.   I am convinced you could slip this by meat-eaters with no complaints.

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Vegan Moroccan Chicken, Chickpeas & Butternut Squash with Preserved Lemons for the Slow Cooker (or Not)

Serves 4-6 with couscous or rice

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken

1 onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas – drained

4 cups vegetable stock

1 TBS ras el hanout

1/4 – 1 preserved lemon (depending on hpw large it is) – diced small (start with less & add more as you go – just so that this flavor doesn’t get to overpowering for you) – I used the entire 1/2 lemon using all parts

Saffron (a large pinch or more) – optional

Green and/or black olives – I used half Kalamata & half large martini olives – in a quantity to suit your taste for olives – optional

1 TBS harissa (or other hot sauce) – optional

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 carrots – chopped

1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

1/2 – 1 red bell pepper – diced

1 lemon – peeled & sliced

1 handful cilantro

GARNISH – chopped cilantro or parsley, lemon wedges/slices

Cooked couscous or other grain

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

Stove top – just bring to a boil & simmer everything until the vegetables are soft – likely less than an hour.  If you started light with the preserved lemon – taste occasionally & add more – if you like the flavor.  Overall – it should have a strong lemon flavor.  It should not need salt – because the preserved lemons, olives & stock should have that covered.

In both cases – add water if it gets too thick.

Serve with whatever grain you chose & garnish with cilantro or parsley & lemon wedges.

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Vegan Roasted Butternut, Kabucha & Delicata Squash with Pomegranate, Mint, Balsamic Glaze & Roasted Pepitas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I had managed to collect a variety of squash with no real plans for them.  Today – as I often do – I looked around for inspiration & came up with this.  It is gorgeous & light & delicious and can be served warm or room temperature.    I have leftover roasted squash & pepitas & if you end up with leftovers, too – consider cutting the skins off the squash & make a salad!  Toss with arugula & pomegranate seeds & pepitas & a balsamic vinaigrette (adding goat or feta – if you are a cheese eater) – OR – make a pizza with slices of squash atop a crust with some mozzarella (vegan or not – up to you) and then top the cooked pizza with arugula & pomegranate seeds & pepitas.  Lots of ways to use all these pretty colors & flavors.

This is not a difficult recipe.  The most painstaking parts are seeding the pomegranate (or you could buy pomegranate seeds) and roasting the pepitas (you could buy roasted pepitas).  It is far more satisfying to do it all from scratch.

I used three kinds of squash.  You can use all one kind or choose different kinds – but use ones that all have thick skins so the cook at the same rate.

Speaking of which – I tossed the seeds from all 3 squash into the same bowl to clean & roasted them together.  In the future – I will keep the kabucha seeds separate – as they are far larger than the others.  I will put the smaller seeds on one cooking sheet & the larger on another – so I can take each out of the oven at the rate they are ready.

The ratio of ingredients here is kind of up to you.  You might like more or less glaze, more or less pomegranate or pepitas or mint – so – assemble yours to taste.

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Roasted Pepitas

Seeds from the squash

Fine salt

Olive oil or cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to about 325.

Get a large bowl of water & put the messy seed mix in there.  Separate the seeds from the flesh & the seeds all float to the top.  Use a slotted spoon & get those suckers outta there.

Boil some water & add a tsp of salt.  Lower the heat, add the seeds &  simmer the seeds, uncovered, for about 10 minutes & then drain them.

I let them set out to dry a bit & then tossed them with just a hint of olive oil or some cooking spray.  If you have two wildly different sized seeds – cook them on separate sheets so you can take the smaller ones out sooner than the larger.

Spread them on a cooking sheet in as thin a layer as you can – trying to minimize overlap so all the seeds get heat equally.  Sprinkle with a little salt & bake for about 10 minutes.

Take them out & stir them around.

Now continue roasting in 5 minute increments because you DO NOT want to burn these.  They are done when they are just starting to look golden but the real test is how they chew.  So – cool a few off each time you test them & eat them.  They are done when they chew easily & are nice & crunchy!

Save extras in a jar.

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Vegan Roasted Butternut, Kabucha & Delicata Squash with Pomegranate, Mint, Balsamic Glaze & Roasted Pepitas

6-10 as a side – depending on the size of your squash & appetites

INGREDIENTS

3 squash of your choice (I used butternut, kabucha & delicata)

Roasted seeds from your squash (recipe to roast them above)

Balsamic glaze (store bought or homemade – recipe:  Simply boil a balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your squash – just reduce some more.  If it gets too thick – add a few drops of water.)

Pomegranate seeds

Fresh mint – chopped

Olive oil or cooking spray (I used olive oil spray)

S&P

Parchment paper optional but it makes clean-up so easy!

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Heat the oven to 425.

Seed the squash & put the seeds in a bowl of water.  If there is a large disparity of size – separate them in different bowls by size.  I did mine altogether but I risked burning the smallest seeds waiting for the large kabocha seeds to cook.  It worked out – but I would still separate them next time.

Cut the squash into 1″ to 1.5″ inch slices.  Arrange on a cooking sheet.  Toss with olive oil (or spray with cooking spray on both sides) – and add some S&P.

Roast about 30 minutes – flipping once – or until they are soft & beginning to caramelize or brown a bit.

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If you are using homemade glaze – make that while the squash cook.  Simply boil a balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your squash – just reduce some more.  If it gets too thick – add a few drops of water.  If you like a lot of glaze – start with at least a cup or more before you reduce it.

Seed your pomegranate.

When the squash is done, arrange it on a platter.  Drizzle glaze & then sprinkle the pomegranate, pepitas & mint on top.

Gorgeous & healthy.  Wow the villagers with this shit!

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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