Happy Friday everyone! Remember how just last month you were probably getting tired of all the cucumber posts? Well, get ready to continue the trend with the squash! I'm happy to report we continue to have an amazing crop of both Candy Roaster and Butternut Squash from our garden, so this is probably only the tip of the iceberg as far as my squash posts go. We may not be the most advanced and expert gardeners, but each season we get a few things that do well enough to help my food budget stay in check.
I have given a few squash away already, but of course want to make sure we enjoy plenty of our own harvest. This week I decided to break down one of the Candy Roasters to use in a few different ways. This particular specimen was at least four pounds, providing multiple meals for us! That's the beauty of the autumn squashes--the larger ones are such a great way to save money and time because if you are smart with your planning, just one squash can go a long way. I suppose I should even have said I got four "meals" out this week since I also roasted the seeds for a yummy snack again.
For those of you who haven't "butchered" a whole squash before, they are quite easy to work with once you know how. Both this variety and butternuts are easy enough to peel with a regular hand-held vegetable peeler. Once I peel the outer skin, I trim off the stem and cut the squash in half or quarters depending upon how large it is then scoop out the seeds. You can clean off any of the "guts" from the seeds and roast them, or make sure to save some if you'd like to plant them in your garden the next season. The Butternut squash plant that we have currently producing (8 squash off one vine so far) actually popped up from compost, so you don't even have to buy seeds sometimes to get your garden going! After I peel and scoop out the seeds, I chop up my squash and pop it in the oven to roast until soft and buttery.
I knew I was going to make a salad with some of the squash, along with beets and onions, so I put half on a sheet pan to cook all together. The other portion of squash I roasted plain so I could make a puree for my other dishes for the week. For a different preparation, you could also leave the peel on your squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and roast to stuff! It really is a versatile veggie!
My salad consisted of the roasted vegetables, a cup of sorghum cooked in vegetable broth, fresh leafy greens, and micogreens on top. Sorghum is a type of grain that is common down here in the Southern United States (often processed into a sweet syrup used in baking), and it just so happens that it is gluten-free for anyone needing that dietary information. A few people have looked at me like I was crazy for eating it since it can also be used in animal feed. Hey, if it's good enough for the chickens, it's good enough for me! My dressing consisted of plain almond butter, a delicious elderberry balsamic vinegar, ground sumac, and a bit of water to thin it out. I make a big batch of the grain and veggie mixture, then serve it over fresh greens daily for a light and satisfying lunch.
With a portion of my pureed plain roasted squash, I also made an easy breakfast for the week--one of the endless variations of overnight oats. These are such a quick way to meal prep the first meal of the day or even use them for a snack or post-workout meal. You really can do so many different add-ins so that you never get tired of them. Just like my beans, I buy my oats in bulk since I use them so often. Each jar had:
- 1/3 cup pureed squash
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk (I used organic soy this time)
- 1/2 cup organic rolled oats
- about 1/4 cup chopped fresh pear
- 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
- sprinkle of pecans
I usually make about three jars at a time, then pop them in the refrigerator to eat as I like. When it is warmer out I'll often eat them cool, but also like to warm them up a bit. You can add extra milk in the morning if they get too thick or some sweetener as you like. These fresh pears from the farmers market are such a great "pair" with the squash puree and pecans.
With the remaining squash puree I couldn't help but whip up a batch of decadent, yet still healthy and totally vegan "pumpkin" bread. Every now and then we enjoy a homemade sweet treat. Though autumn temperatures may still be wishful thinking just yet, I can still get in the spirit for my favorite season by starting a little baking in honor of the cooler nights and falling leaves just ahead! I can't take credit for the recipe, but one of my favorite bloggers Vegan Richa has an easy one-bowl recipe that never fails. I do sub coconut sugar for the powdered sugar, and used all spelt flour with no troubles. The great thing about pumpkin bread or muffins is that you can really use any of the seasonal squashes that you can get your hands on for a switch from the traditional pumpkin puree.
I teased that picture out the other day, and I will reiterate it is even more delicious than it looks on camera. Smells divine cooking, as well! I'll often use the same recipe and make them into muffins for an even easier grab-and-go snack, or if I especially want to share a few.
I think this will probably be my last entry for the @ecotrain Vegan Month on Hive, but it has been a blast to add some entries to the initiative. There can never be too many plant-based cooking ideas out there to keep everyone excited about eating their fruits and veggies!
Have a great weekend everyone!
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