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Winter Squash recipes

Winter SquashWinter squashes are readily available at this time of year. They are nutritionally dense, supplying beta carotene, iron, and riboflavin, but best of all they provide endless options for creating tasty, satisfying meals. The best cooking method for almost any winter squash is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and then steam it or bake it in the oven. The flesh will then be soft and easy to scrape out or cut, to be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes.

Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. The green and yellow striped delicata squash has sweet yellow flesh and a soft skin which can be eaten, eliminating the need for peeling. Spaghetti squash can be separated into spaghetti-like strands, making it an interesting addition to stews. And most familiar of all is pumpkin (baked, steamed or from a can), used in soups, stews, pies and even cookies!

Baked Squash Recipes

Baked Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking tray.
  2. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Brush both halves with a little olive oil and season with sea salt.
  3. When ready to bake, place the squash flesh side down and bake for 30 to 45 minutes until fork tender. (The squash is ready when you can easily pierce through the flesh with a fork. Do not overbake or your noodles will be mushy.)
  4. When done, remove from oven and let it rest until cool enough to handle.
  5. Then, use a fork to gently rake the squash flesh from the peel. (Gently run a fork around the inside of the squash in a circular motion. This will result in less breaking of the strands so you have longer noodles.)
  6. Transfer spaghetti squash “noodles” to a serving dish and top with your favorite sauce or stew.

Acorn Squash with Orange Juice

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
  • Ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Put a little water in a rimmed baking dish to cover the bottom.
  2. Wash the squash and cut in half crosswise. Scrape out the seeds, cut the bottoms level, taking care not to cut a hole in the cavity.
  3. Arrange halves face up in the baking tray.
  4. Place 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup in each squash. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice to each and sprinkle with cinnamon and a little nutmeg.
  5. Cover the dish loosely with foil lined with parchment, and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until squash are tender enough to mash in their skins.

Easy Winter Squash au Gratin

Hubbard or Butternut squash works well for this easy yet elegant dish.

  • 3 cups peeled and cubed winter squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place squash in a medium bowl and toss with garlic and parsley. Add flour and mix well to thoroughly coat squash cubes.
  3. Oil a shallow baking dish. Pour squash mixture into dish and drizzle with oil. Bake 2.5 hours, or until crusty on top and soft underneath. Squash should still hold its cubed shape.

For other squash recipes, see:

Pumpkin soup recipe

Thanksgiving recipes

 

Glorious grapes

GrapesGrapes have always been associated with health, and with good reason.  They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  One of their renowned phytonutrients, resveratrol, is said to increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Even though they’re sweet, grapes are also good for diabetics, since they promote a better blood sugar balance and increased insulin sensitivity. And of course the skin is packed with fiber, which helps to promote good bowel health.

 

At this time of year, the local grapes are particularly fresh and delicious, so it’s a great time to enjoy them. Their unique texture and sweetness makes them a perfect addition to salads and desserts, but also a handy snack throughout the day.  Just wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge to keep them fresh and ready for whenever a hunger pang strikes.

Recipes (see below):

Minted Green Grape Sorbet

Green Goddess Breakfast Smoothie

Read more

Enticing Arugula recipes

ArugulaNative to the Mediterranean region, arugula is a green leafy plant from the mustard family, also known as rocket. Arugula has a rich peppery taste, and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phytonutrients. It has been enjoyed the Italians and French for centuries and now is becoming popular in the US.

Arugula is most often used in salads, particularly in a mesclun or mixed green salad, along with other leaves such as dandelion, chervil, endive, frisee, and baby chard, lettuce, spinach and kale leaves.

In addition to its use in salads, it can be made into a pesto sauce, or sauted or steamed and added to pasta dishes.

The following recipe is from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington:

vegfeastckbk_small_border lighterFingerling Potato and Arugula Salad

This simple salad makes a light lunch or substantial side dish. Arugula becomes more peppery as it ages; baby arugula is mildly spicy while mature arugula packs a bigger bite.

Serves 4

1½ pounds French fingerling potatoes (or substitute other small, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold)

4 ounces arugula, plus a little salt

 

Dressing

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered

⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover by an inch, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes; be careful not to overcook. Drain, chill quickly with ice or cold water and refrigerate until ready to use. The potatoes can be cooked a day ahead.

In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, vinegar, shallot, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. If no appliance is available, mince the shallot very fine and whisk the ingredients together, or shake them well in a screw top jar.

Slice the potatoes crosswise ¼ inch thick, leaving on the peel, and place in a large bowl. Add the arugula and most, but not all, of the dressing. Toss the dressing with the potatoes and arugula until they are lightly coated and flavorful, adding the remaining dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on four salad plates, making sure a few slices of potato show on each plate, and serve.

 

The following recipe is reprinted from www.nutritionmd.org with permission:

Italian Stuffed Griddle Dumplings (Consum)

Makes 6 servings (2 pita halves each)

This traditional “griddle dumpling” from Romagna is actually a stuffed Italian flatbread, similar to a calzone but stuffed with greens. This easy version uses whole-wheat pitas.

6 pieces whole-wheat pita bread
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ pound Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, or savoy cabbage, or a mixture
½ pound bitter greens, such as arugula, radicchio, rapini, Chinese broccoli, mustard or turnip greens, or curly endive
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut each pita bread in half and open to form a pocket. Wash, trim, and thinly slice the greens.

Place garlic, broth, greens, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large, deep non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender. If any liquid remains, uncover and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it evaporates. Season with the salt and black pepper and set aside to cool.

Drain the greens and stuff inside the pita halves. Heat filled pitas on a hot, dry griddle or cast-iron pan over high heat, turning frequently, until hot and flecked with brown spots. Serve hot.

Tempting Tofu Recipes

TofuOf all the possible protein sources you could eat, tofu has to be the most versatile, and the healthiest. It is made from soybeans, and is high in protein, low in fat, and also contains good amounts of calcium and some B vitamins.

There are two main types of tofu, regular and silken tofu.  Regular tofu comes floating in water in a small tub. It needs to be refrigerated and used within a few days. It is best used crumbled, sliced or diced, and can be marinated to absorb different flavors. It can be baked, fried, or added to soups, stews and curries.

Silken tofu has a creamier texture which blends particularly well, to make quiches, desserts, smoothies etc.  It doesn’t hold its shape well, so doesn’t work so well sliced. It often comes vacuum packed and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It keeps for several months.

There are hundreds of different recipes available, and even some whole cookbooks focusing just on tofu. Every style of cuisine can be recreated, so search vegetarian websites or buy a good cookbook, and enjoy the diversity of this nutritional powerhouse.

Recipes

The following recipes are from The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, by Vegetarians of Washington:

Seven-Layer Fiesta Dip

Mexican Seasoning Mix

Tofu Cutlets with Tapenade Sauce

Spanakopita

Read more

Luscious Leek Recipes

leeksLeeks are a member of the lily family, related to the onion, with a slender white bulb, cylindrical stem and broad, flat leaves. They make a tasty addition to any soup or stew, and are particularly famous in Leek and Potato Soup. They contain sugards, dietary fiber and small amounts of protein.  There is also some iron and carotene in the green leaves.  They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

When leeks grow, they often trap soil and grit between their leaves.  The best way to clean them is to halve them lengthways, down to the bulb, but not all the way through.  You can then fan out and rinse all the leaves, while keeping the leek intact. Leeks can be boiled or steamed, braised in stock, or sliced into rings and stir fried.

Luscious Leek Recipes

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Vegfest Chef Chat Mingkwan Recipes

We’re delighted to have Chef Chat Mingkwan back with us at Vegfest giving cooking demos this year.  As a special treat, he shared three of his delicious recipes with us. Come to Vegfest to learn more from Chat about Thai and Vietnamese cooking.

Green Beans with Peanut Dressing

Serves 6

3 cups green beans, trimmed, cut to 1½ inch length
2 cups julienne color bell peppers (your choice of serving fresh or cooked.)

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Parboil the green beans for 1-2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes more. Drain and blot dry. Keep chilled. Read more

Warming Soup Recipes

This is the time of year when it’s often cold and dreary outside, and there’s nothing better than a delicious bowl of soup to warm you up.  Did you know that making a pot of soup from scratch is actually very simple to do, and it’s oh, so healthy?  Try some of our recipes below and get cooking!

Pumpkin-SoupPumpkin Soup

This recipe is from nutritionmd.org, where you’ll find a great supply of delicious vegan recipes.  It’s reprinted with permission. Makes about 8 1-cup servings.

This sweet and creamy soup has just a hint of spiciness. It can also be made with puréed winter squash, yams, or sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin. Read more

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