The weather in Southern California has been a bit odd lately, yes I know that it’s always a little warmer here in the winter, but when it’s in the 80′s for almost two weeks straight there is a problem (yes, I know that there can be worse problems!). Starting yesterday, the weather has started to cool down a bit, thank goodness. What this means for you is that there while be some more comforting, satisfying recipes in your future; but they’ll still be in the realm of healthy for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing (me!), and possibly those of you who are working on an online cooking degree.
No matter what the weather is like my love for squash never subsides, seriously, I’m an addict! I really love butternut squash, with its creamier texture and great flavor, but I find that I don’t cook with it as often as other squash varieties. Because I had some small butternuts on hand, from my CSA, I figured that I was definitely going to be baking and stuffing them. Looking into my refrigerator I saw that I had some of the perfect ingredients for what I was picturing in my mind, some Tofurky Kielbasa, Daiya Cheddar Shreds, purple carrots, celery, quinoa in the pantry; this was going to be one colorful and tasty dish!
If you’ve never tried Tofurky Kielbasa, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for sausage substitute; I’ll try my hand at making my own in the future, but these are definitely convenient as they are tasty. Other than that, most of the ingredients are easily attainable and rich in nutrients.
- 2 Small Butternut Squashes, Sliced in half length-wish and Seeds Scooped out
- 1 Cup Dry Quinoa
- 1 3/4 Cup No Salt Added Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Leeks, Diced
- 1 Cup Carrots, 1/4″ slices
- 1 Cup Celery, 1/4″ slices
- 2 Tofurky Kielbasa, sliced
- One 14 oz. Can Organic Diced Tomatoes
- 3 Cups Spinach, Chopped (if not baby spinach)
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Basil
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Sage
- 1/3-1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds
- Preheat oven to 375°F, take the 4 butternut squash halves and place them face down in one large casserole dish or 2 smaller ones. Fill the dish with water 1/4″ high and once the oven is at temperature, bake the squash for 35-40 minutes. Prep your vegetables while the squash is baking.
- Start cooking the quinoa with the vegetable broth in a small pan over medium heat, leave covered until the water is soaked up (approximately 20 minutes) then fluff with a fork.
- Warm the olive oil a large pan over medium heat, once hot introduce the leeks, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the kielbasa, tomatoes, spinach and herbs to the mix and sauté until the spinach is wilted.
- When the butternut squash is done baking leave the oven on, but take the squash out and scoop out the insides. Leave a 1/4″ layer of squash in the rind so that it holds its shape, and add the squash chunks to the sauté mixture.
- Once the sauté is evenly combined distribute it evenly between the four butternut squash rinds and place them back into the casserole dishes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and sprinkle a little Daiya on top of each squash. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the shreds are melted a bit.
There are so many wonderful textures in this meal, crunchy celery, smooth butternut squash, and juicy tomato chunks accompanied by many other ingredients that will delight your palate. I’d have to say that this recipe was a total success, and something that would be great for a family dinner, or hosting a couple of friends.
Sometimes when I get home from work I just need to eat; an elaborate recipe, or a dish that takes too much time to make just won’t do. This savory quesadilla totally hit the spot and took no time at all to make! The combination of fresh tomatoes and bell peppers paired with spicy, pickled jalapeños, carrots and onions created a flavor party inside the basic tortilla shell. To top it all off, or fill it in rather, I used great tasting Daiya Cheddar shreds!
Here’s an inside shot of the filling:
I don’t use a microwave often, but this was an exception (I was starving!). My recommendation would be to either grill it or heat it on a flat pan to get the tortilla nice and crispy.
I made these last night for a vegetarian potluck we’re having at work today (in lieu of my last day being tomorrow!!), and I’m so excited for it. I tried the filling last night and it is YUMMY, can’t wait to try a whole one thing in a little bit. I had some extra filling left over so I could’ve filled two more pepper halves, this is a large recipe but obviously can be tinkered with.
7 Pasilla Peppers (halved, destemmed, & deseeded)
1 Pkg. Soyrizo
1 Large White or Red Onion (diced)
2 Tomatoes (chopped)
2 Cans of Black Beans
1 Can of whole corn kernels
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste (optional)
Juice from one Lime
2 Small Jalapeños (diced)
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (minced)
Salt & pepper to taste (no salt needed in my opinion)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 1/4 Cups Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheeze
- Use a large pan, put it on the stove at medium heat and place soyrizo & onion inside. Cook together until onions are clear then add tomato, beans, corn, tomato paste, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Combine all ingredients and keep at medium heat for 10 minutes to enhance flavors, add salt & pepper to your personal taste.
- Preheat oven to 350F, and make sure the rack is in the middle. Find a large casserole dish or baking sheet and coat the bottom with a little olive oil. Fill halved peppers, place into dish (much like a game of Tetris! ha ha), & top each pepper with a little Daiya Shredded Cheddar Cheeze. Put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on how roasted you want your peppers).
- Let them cool and enjoy with a side of guacamole or perhaps quinoa.