Herbed Cranberry-Squash Vegan Stuffing

I rarely do anything ahead of time.

I promise myself week after week that I’ll make lunches on Sunday night so I will ACTUALLY bring them to work. I always forget, and most days I end up eating peanut butter jelly scoops* for lunch.

My laundry is currently forming a hard shell at the bottom of my hamper, which I will need to break apart with an ice pick. I feel I’m always talking about my laundry, but seriously, I’m just really bad at doing it.

In terms of blogging, I always promise myself I’m going to be better about posting recipes that actually pertain to the upcoming time of year. I end up posting Halloween cookies mid-November and really great summer salad recipes when it’s already too cold to feel any of your digits.

*peanut butter and  jelly eaten straight up on a spoon.

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WELL, NOT THIS YEAR, MY BAES!

I have a Thanksgiving recipe that you can make ahead of time for Thanksgiving Day to share with your family while you talk about what you’re grateful for, watch football, and commemorate the massacre of hundreds of Indians. ‘Merica! Seriously though, Thanksgiving has a seriously messed up history, but in its present incarnation is my favorite holiday (except for all the other ones).

I went to a Friends-giving party this weekend and this was NOT the only vegan stuffing (since when does that happen!?), but it was, in my biased opinion, the tastiest. I mean, cranberries, squash, rosemary, thyme, and sage… it’s just a Thanks-plosion in your mouth. So, in the spirit of getting things done ahead of time, here’s a pre-Thanksgiving recipe. And in the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to say I’m thankful for you all. And chocolate. Very much chocolate.

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Herbed Cranberry-Squash Vegan Stuffing

Seriously, this is the only stuffing recipe you need.

1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (or your favorite), torn into pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped finely

1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup fresh cranberries

2 cups white mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

4 + 1/4 cups vegetable broth

2-3 fresh sprigs of rosemary (go for the fresh! It’s so worth it.)

2-3 fresh sprigs thyme, leaves removed (discard stems)

4-5 fresh sage leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400*

  1. Rub the flesh of the acorn squash with olive oil and salt. Place face up on a lined cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the orange flesh is very tender. Let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of one half of the squash into a bowl. Set aside
  2. Spread the torn bread on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 400*. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is golden and crisp. Pour into a large, shallow casserole pan. Set aside.
  3. While the bread/squash are in the oven, heat a large pan with 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until they start to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook another 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. If necessary, add another ½ or 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  4. Add the cranberries and half the fresh herbs and cook for another 3-4 minutes. When the cranberries start to split, add the scoops of squash and ¼ cup vegetable broth. Cook the whole mixture another few minutes and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce the oven temp to 350*
  6. Grab the crusty bread-filled casserole dish and pour the cran-mushroom-squash mixture in. Add the remaining fresh herbs. Pour the vegetable stock over one cup at a time until the mixture seems moist, but not swimming in liquid. Mix well. In necessary, add another ¼ or ½ cup vegetable broth or water. Pat the whole thing down in the dish and place in the oven. Cook at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until the top is nice and crusty. Serve warm!
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Delicata Squash & Roasted Poblano Pizza

Fall, to me, is about making mistakes. Not the wrote-cunt-instead-of-count kind of mistakes or even the locked-my-keys-in-my-car-in-Gary-Indiana mistakes, just dumb mistakes you make when you’re in transition. By default, I spend the first three weeks of the season dressing like summer is ostensibly going to hang around for a while, but end up shivering and bitter that I can’t learn my lesson. I giddily bike places at dawn only to end up stuck peddling home in the dark (invariably sans bike light). I jump the gun to get in winter hibernation mode and find myself two pints deep in a pub on Monday night then show up at work Tuesday morning with a vicious hangover. I eat cereal out of the box at my desk for lunch most days, which isn’t a mistake per se, but is at least something I should probably think about changing.

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Mistakes catalyze learning. Fall is the perfect time to open a new chapter of change. This particular autumn has brought a new job in a new place where I’m meeting new people and making a whole new dose of mistakes. In all this newness I am learning about myself; I’m seeing my strengths and more clearly defining my weaknesses. Most days are good, a few are scary, some suck a big one.  Like, the biggest one ever. I try to remind myself that in all the newness some turd days are inevitable, but they still slap me in the face like I’m in an episode of Basketball Wives.

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Amid all of this learning and growth I can also appreciate the rock-solid support I have in my life. My boyfriend, Ben, is always there to cheer me up, or at least make all of the jokes he knows about beef tacos (only two). My family is supportive and my mom’s vegan baking habit still hasn’t subsided (can I get an amen?). I have awesome friends and family who are encouraging every step of the way. And I have pizza. Okay, mainly I have pizza.

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Squash and Roasted Poblano Pizza
#squashtober

  • 1 pizza dough (store-bought or homemade!)
  • 1 Delicata squash
  •  1 poblano pepper
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup pizza or other tomato sauce
  • handful of spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • baking spray (or more coconut oil)
  • salt

Preheat the oven to 400*

1. Slice the squash the long way and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Slice into thin (1/2″ or so) slices and rub them with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast at 400* for 20-25 minutes, or until nice and tender. Remove and set aside.
2. If you have a gas range, place the whole poblano over a medium flame. With tongs, rotate the pobalano every 2-3 minutes until the whole pepper is charred on the outside. Place the charred pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (this helps loosen the skin). Set aside for 5 minutes, then carefully peel off the charred skin. Chop the pepper into thin slices. If you have an electric range, roast the pepper along with the squash in the oven.
3. Increase the oven temp to 450*.
4. Prepare your dough. If using store-bought, sprinkle with flour and stretch out. Spray a pizza pan or round cookie sheet with baking spray and spread the pizza dough on the sheet. Cover the crust with pizza sauce, leaving 1″ around the rim for proper crusty goodness. Layer on sliced onion, sliced poblano, cooked squash, and spinach to top the pizza. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crispy. Remove and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then serve hot.

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Delicata Squash, Roasted Red Pepper & Rosemary Pasta

I’m all in favor of the Indian Summer we’ve been having lately (BOYCOTT ALL OF THE PANTS), but I also lurrrve me some fall comfort food. If it could be 70 degress and sunny all year and appropriate to eat apples and squash and cinnamon and sweet potatoes and rosemary I would call that my perfect world. My most recent fallish obsession has been roasting squash with coconut oil, salt, and a little cinnamon at 400* until it’s beautiful and tender. Trust me. Try it. Heaven.

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I have also been working on developing some Hangry Meal recipes, yet often find myself too hangry to meticulously recipe test when I get home from work. Go figure.

This weekend I finally had time to cook (after seeing Ben Afleck’s peen in Gone Girl, priorities people!) and I really hit the nail on the head wit this recipe. The sauce is not too tough to make and is slurp-it-by-itself good. It can be refrigerated and added to pasta for a meal that’s ready in, well, as long as it takes to cook pasta. It could probably even be frozen and defrosted. I KNOW, RIGHT?

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I made a big batch of this recipe and as I was sitting down to try it Ben wandered into the kitchen. He grabbed a fork, twirled the pasta up, took a bite and said, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS GOOD. SO MANY FLAVORS.” I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or a diss, considering he eats food I cook about six days a week and never remarks on all of the flava flave. I’ll choose to be flattered.

Delicata Squash, Roasted Red Pepper & Rosemary Pasta

Adapted generously from The Minimalist Baker

  • 1 box (12 oz) of pasta – your favorite kind! (I recommend spaghetti though)
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary (or to taste)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400*

1. Cut the squash the long way in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, throw on a baking sheet and rub with coconut oil and a pinch or two of salt. Throw the red pepper on the baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is very soft.

2. In the mean time, place a pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbs of olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and shallots and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside.

3. Once the squash and pepper are done roasting, allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes, until they’re not too hot to handle. Peel off the pepper’s charred skin and place the skinned peppers in a food processor. Scoop out of insides of the squash and place in the food processor as well. Add the sauteed shallots and garlic, plus the almond milk, veg stock, rosemary, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Blend until it becomes a thick sauce. If necessary, add an additional 1/4 cup of almond or soy milk to loosen.

4. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once drained, toss with the sauce until all of the noodles are covered. Serve hot and garnish with additional rosemary.

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©2014 Veganizzm. Design, caligraphy and illustrations by Pati Mo / Developed by Tyler Schappe

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