Meatless Mondays

“Risotto”-Stuffed Acorn Squash

This recipe strays from the traditional method of cooking risotto to create a healthy and hearty meal without investing a lot of time!  Impress your guests with the fancy squash bowls!

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash (1 pound each)

3 tbsp olive oil

½ lbscremini or button mushrooms, trimmed & diced

1 med yellow onion, diced (leeks can be used as well)

¾ tsp dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, use less)

1 cup long grain white rice (brown rice can be used as well, may require more cooking time)

2 cups vegetable broth *

½ cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.**
  2. Carefully cut the squash into two halves crosswise.Scrape out the seeds and ‘guts’ of the squash.
  3. Place squash on baking sheet, cover with foil, and place in oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes until soft.
  4. Sauté onions, mushrooms, and thyme over medium-high heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook vegetables until soft, the mushrooms will shrink slightly.
  5. Add rice to pan, stir. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Once rice is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook UNDISTURBED for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Check on the squash.  Once done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out approximately half of the cooked squash from the shells and place into a bowl, leaving enough flesh on the sides to keep the shells sturdy.  Set aside.
  8. Once rice is cooked (water will be absorbed), stir in the scooped squash.  The squash should give a ‘creamy’ texture to the rice – this is why we call it a ‘risotto’. ***
  9. Stuff the squash shells that you set aside earlier with the rice mixture.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  Broil in oven until the cheese is nicely melted. MAKE SURE TO KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE – this process does not take long!  (This step is optional – if pinched for time, just serve the rice mixture on plates and sprinkle with parmesan cheese) 

*Vegetable broth can easily be prepared from scratch by using scrap pieces of vegetables and placing them in a saucepan or slow cooker with some water.  Let everything cook until flavours of the vegetables blend with the liquid.

**If you want to have the squash ready ahead of time, or for when you get home from work, cut the squash into halves, remove the seeds, and place in the slow-cooker. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. Place lid on top and cook, undisturbed, for 6-8 hours.

***This entire recipe can be prepared in the slow cooker.  Cook the squash halves in advance using either the slow cooker or oven as stated above.  If you have time, sauté the vegetables ahead of time, but this is not necessary.  Place vegetable stock, vegetables, rice, and seasoning in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for several hours; make sure the stock is absorbed.  Mix in the scooped out squash once the rice is cooked. Add more seasoning is necessary. Enjoy!

Vegetable Curry

This recipe is warm and comforting, and can be adapted to suit the vegetables available from the garden.  The bold flavours work well to create a satisfying meatless main dish!

Ingredients:

3 potatoes chopped (yams or sweet potatoes work well as a substitute)*

1-2 large cooking onions, chopped**

1 large pepper (colour depends on preference)**

3 small carrots, diced

1 can of coconut milk (Coconut milk adds creaminess. If unavailable, water or vegetable stock works well)

1-2 tsp Curry Powder (can use paste as well)***

1 can of chickpeas****

2 cups of cooked white or basmati rice for serving (cook according to package directions)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add onions, peppers, potatoes, and carrots.  Sauté for 4-5 minutes. Stir to prevent burning.
  3. Add half of the coconut milk and curry powder. Stir ingredients together. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and cover.  Check on the mixture and stir often.
  4. Feel free to add more coconut milk or water if you feel your curry is losing too much liquid. Everyone has a difference preference for how liquidly their curry is.
  5. Once the potatoes are soft and crumbly, the curry is ready.  This should take 15-20 minutes.  The longer the curry cooks, the more the potatoes will dissolve, adding to the natural thickness of the curry.
  6. Once your curry reaches the desired thickness, remove from heat and serve over cooked white rice.  Enjoy! *If you want to speed up the cooking process, chop the potatoes into smaller pieces.**If you prefer crispier onions and peppers, sauté in 1 tbsp of oil and set them aside.  Add the sautéed onions and peppers back into the pot at the end of the cooking process.

     

    ***If using a curry paste, reduce the amount.  Pastes tend to be stronger.  It is a good idea to add small amounts at a time and taste as you go to ensure the desired flavour is reached.

    ****If using dried chickpeas, need to soak ahead of time using one of the following methods:

    1)       Quick soak = ¾ : 1 water to beans, simmer for 2 mins, remove from heat, let stand for 1-2 hours covered. Drain. Boil until tender.

    2)       Microwave = cover beans in water, cook high 8-10 mins until boiling ,boil for 2 mins, let stand 1hr. Drain.

    3)       overnight soak = 3:1 water to beans, leave in water over night, boil until tender

    4)       Cook in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours using 3:1 ratio water:beans

    Remember to change water often to reduce flatulence; don’t add baking soda –beans become ‘mushy’

Bean and Cheese Burritos

This recipe is a quick and easy meal to prepare in a hurry.  The whole process takes approximately 20 minutes and fresh garden veggies can be used to dress the burritos!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp cooking oil (olive, vegetable, whatever you have)

1-2 cups of chopped vegetables (onions, peppers, etc.)*

1 Chipotle Pepper (if you are a fan of spice feel free to add more)**

1 can black beans (can use a mixture of beans, or white beans, which ever variety is accessible to you)***

1 cup shredder cheese (we used marble, can use cheddar)

4 large flour tortillas

Optional Toppings:  Fresh Summer Salsa (see recipe below), Guacamole (see recipe below), Cooked Leftover Rice, Sour Cream

 Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat for 1 -2 minutes

Add chopped vegetables and stir.  Cook until tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.Cook the onions and vegetables slightly longer if young children do not like the strong tastes.

  1. While vegetables cook, remove the seeds from the chipotle and cut into fine pieces.  May resembled more of a paste-like appearance.
  2. After vegetables become tender, add the black beans and the chipotle and stir.  Cook an additional 3-5 minutes until the beans are heated through. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the beans and vegetable mixture as best as possible.  This step makes the mixture easier to work with in the burritos.
  4. If adding leftover rice, add to the mixture at this point and stir together.
  5. Place a large spoonful of the bean mixture down the centre of a tortilla shell, do not place filling too close to the sides.  Top with any of the additional topping you will be using. Place the tortilla so that the mixture is perpendicular to you.  Fold over the tortilla towards the filling; tuck in the sides of the tortilla towards the filling.  Continue rolling until the burrito is fully wrapped. Enjoy!

*This is a great way to ‘hide’ vegetables for those picky eaters!

** We recommend you remove the seeds!  If uncomfortable using a chipotle pepper, see below for Tex Mex Seasoning recipe!

***If using dried beans, need to soak ahead of time using one of the following methods:

1)       Quick soak = ¾ : 1 water to beans, simmer for 2 mins, remove from heat, let stand for 1-2 hours covered. Drain. Boil until tender.

2)       Microwave = cover beans in water, cook high 8-10 mins until boiling ,boil for 2 mins, let stand 1hr. Drain.

3)       overnight soak = 3:1 water to beans, leave in water over night, boil until tender

4)       Cook in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours using 3:1 ratio water:beans

Remember to change water often to reduce flatulence; don’t add baking soda –beans become ‘mushy’

Fresh Summer Salsa

Ingredients:

7 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced small (to avoid watery salsa, ‘gut’ the tomatoes before dicing)

1 red onion, diced

½ bundle cilantro (both the leaves and stems of the cilantro can be used, in our class we used the leaves only)

1/2 bulb garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. Kosher salt (add more to taste, if desired)

1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper (add more to taste, if desired)

 Directions:

Mix everything together. For best results, let the salsa sit overnight allowing flavors to combine.

Guacamole

Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados, skin and pit removed

1 bunch of cilantro chopped finely (both the leaves and stems can be used)

Juice of 1 lime (add a little bit at a time to ensure desired taste is achieved)

Optional: 1 tomato, diced and 1-2 gloved of garlic, minced.

Directions:

  1. Using a fork, gently mash the avocado into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and gently mix together.*

*If the guacamole is not going to be used immediately, place the pit into the bowl and place in the fridge to prevent browning.

Tex Mex seasoning:

2 tbspchili pepper seasoning

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp black pepper

-store in airtight container