Butternut Squash: Roasted with Spicy Chick Peas

A HEALTHY DISH for your friends! The complimentary spices and roasted veggies are bursting with flavour!

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 5 garlic cloves (1 finely grated, 4 chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder/paste or vadouvan
  • 2 radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup parsley, mint, and/or cilantro leaves8
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)
Roasted WHOLE Butternut Squash

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roast squash directly on oven rack until a paring knife poked through skin easily slides through flesh, 50–65 minutes. Let squash cool until you can handle. Trim ends, halve lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Tear or cut squash into large pieces; discard skin (it will come off easily as you tear).
  2. Meanwhile, mix yogurt, grated garlic, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook chickpeas, shaking skillet often, until starting to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in vadouvan (curry powder) and cook, stirring, until chickpeas and onion are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe out skillet.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook squash pieces, cut side down, undisturbed, until browned and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces over, remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon chickpea mixture over squash, then dollop reserved lemon-garlic yogurt around.
  5. Optional: Toss radishes, herbs, and pomegranate seeds, with remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle with a splash of oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over squash and chickpeas. Finish with a grind or two of pepper.
Roasted Spiced Chick Peas
(Optional) Pomegranate and Pistachio Nuts …you will be glad you added the pomegranate!
LEMON GARLIC YOGURT TOPPING: Can Be Served On The Side ( No Pomegranate here).

Add kale chips or other greens. Use cranberries as a substitute for pomegranate. Add quinoa or Feta cheese. Make tacos. lightly mash and make burgers (see below). If you have more people at the table, add spinach to the mix to extend the burger.

VARIATIONS (or left overs)

BURGER: Curry / Squash/ Chick Peas/ Pomegranate/ Cilantro/ Parsley

GOOD EATS:

FOODIES ARE # 1!!!

Rutabaga Mash

Rutabaga Mash: Holiday Trending

Buttered Rutabagas were a staple on our Thanksgiving / Christmas table when I was growing up and I’m revisiting them today ~ these delicious pale orange rutabaga are misunderstood and probably the most overlooked veggie.

User comments

TIRED OF MASHED POTATOES?

Some people have never had rutabaga in their entire life.  It is a standard holiday dish in Finland known as lanttulaatikko . Last year at a Scandinavian dinner, my friend had mashed rutabaga for the first time. She loved it! So healthy and easy to make.

Some people mix RUTABAGA with turnips. Turnips are generally smaller and not as sweet as rutabaga. You may also find ‘all white’ turnips at your supermarket. Rutabagas have a pale orange bottom half compared to the white bottom half of a turnip.

Root Vegetables

SIDE DISH: I start cooking my rutabaga first, before preparing my main meal. This veggie is cooked on top of the stove 25-35 minutes before it is popped into the oven. OVEN TIME: 1 hour.  If I have a big bird in the oven, I will center the bird in the oven and leave the rack below it for the rutabaga casserole which can be added in the last hour of cooking the bird.

INGREDIENTS
6 cups of rutabaga (in Finnish, lanttu), peeled, washed and diced in large chunks
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
3 tablespoons butter

INSTRUCTIONS:
(Preheat the oven to 350F)
1. PEEL, CUBE AND BOIL RUTABAGA in salted boiling water- until tender-drain and mash.
2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the cream and add nutmeg and beaten eggs. combine with the mashed rutabagas. Add mixture to a buttered 2 1/2 quart baking dish ( or individual dishes ). Bake for about 60 minutes or until golden brown.

TOPPINGS: Top with bread crumbs and butter nobs ( optional ) before the casserole goes into the oven. Before serving: Decorate with chives or chopped parsley.

Secret Ingredient: I always add garlic ~ not in the original recipe.

The traditional recipe from Finland adds heavy cream and dark syrup before the baking process. Add nutmeg ‘to taste’. It’s the most important ingredient.

Food Tip for rutabaga mashed casserole.

FOOD TIP

To speed up the cooking time before mashing the rutabaga, use a microwave ( covered on high, add 1 cup of water 15-20 min. ) or pressure cooker ( 9 minutes) . Use several small baking dishes for freezer appeal. Add apple or carrots for sweetness. You can optionally add a crushed garlic and/or 2 cardamom pods in the boiling water. FOR ADDED ZIP, add spices: ginger, cinnamon or turmeric to taste.

Why are rutabagas (neeps, swedes) half purple? —They are a mix of wild cabbage and turnips. A portion of the plant grows above ground and changes colour from the sun.
(P.S. You can eat the green tops too – tastes a bit like spinach).

News Flash Rutabaga Low in Calories

RUTABAGA has less than half the calories of white potatoes & sweet potatoes!

(1/3 the carbs.)

Ketogenic-friendly!

Here’s the picture from Michael (see comment below) of his rutabaga mash using ramekins. I would enjoy seeing pictures you have from your rutabaga dish and will add them to the post. Please email them to me: info@simplysplendidfood.com

Mashed Rutabaga, Hot From The Oven

ROAST VEGETABLES ~ TRENDING!

‘The BEST’ OVEN-Roasted VEGETABLES!

CHANGE THE WAY YOU ROAST VEGETABLES: For goodness sake! After making over 1,000 meals with roast veggies, I started experimenting and made some modifications. I knew I had a winner when I got huge compliments for  my ‘new’ roasted vegetables. It is still my all time favorite veggie recipe!  One reason is that it’s so easy to make! At a dinner party, one of my friends proclaimed  “These veggies are so good. I cant believe how good they taste!”  The potatoes are crispy,  yet soft and  fluffy on the inside.  The red peppers were especially a big hit.  I have been asked to share this recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it!


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INGREDIENTS

1 medium potato* (any kind),  cut into 1  inch cubes
1 yam* peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 carrot and/or parsnip peeled and sliced into 1 inch slices
6 brussels  sprouts
1/2 head garlic, cloves separated and skins removed
2 large shallots, peeled and quartered ( sweet or red onions  )
2  red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 1  inch strips
1/2 cup Calamata olives, pitted
2-4 tablespoons olive oil ( more oil, the better )
2 sprigs of FRESH Rosemary or Thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
* If you decide to leave the  skin on large tubers before roasting,  wash and scrub well. Soak in cleaning vinegar for at least 15 minutes before chopping.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees(232 C ) and prepare vegetables.
  2. In a large bowl, toss potatoes, yams, carrots and brussels sprouts with  olive oil and salt.  Add to roasting pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes

    Cubed Potatoes, Yams, Parsnips & Carrots

  3. Add garlic and shallots to  the pan  and toss with the other vegetables. Roast for 20 more minutes

    Garlic And Shallots

  4. Add chopped bell pepper and olives to the pan and sprinkle with black pepper.  Add 2 rosemary sprigs on top of the vegetables. Return to oven
  5. Cook for 20 minutes longer until vegetables are nicely browned but not charred. Because the peppers are only cooked in the last  20 minutes, they are still juicy, tender and tasty.  As all oven temperatures vary, please check the vegetables as they roast.

Fresh Rosemary

TIP:  Make sure you use FRESH ROSEMARY (or thyme – if you don’t have rosemary on hand ). Rosemary needs to be fresh, or not at all. When chopping vegetables err on the larger, chunky  side.  You can always  substitute/add your favourite veggies.  Keep in mind  THE 20 – 20- 20  MINUTE ‘Roasting’  Rule: The firmer vegetables go in first. Then, add the onions and garlic with the most tender vegetables in the final 20 minutes: mushrooms, green tomatoes,  peppers.

VARIATIONS
1.  I add baby turnips  if they look especially fresh and small at the market that day.  As you know, this recipe bakes in 3 BATCHES. The hard root vegetables are roasted first.

Turnips

2. The softer onions and garlic are next in the next 20 minute intervals.

3.  In the third and final stage,  the lighter,  succulent vegetables are added. Friends ask me how my roasted peppers stay so juicy and tasty?   They are only roasted for the last 20 minutes.  The peppers add such a great flavour  and sweetness to the mix.   Try the black olives. If you are not a fan, just  leave them as the flavour is very complementary to the mix. Please  try them before you pass judgement.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

The great aroma for these roasted vegetables comes from  the garlic and shallots along with the rosemary of course. HINT: Use up what you’ve got. Look in the fridge and pantry and roast it!


THE POWER OF ROOT VEGETABLES
The starchy root veggies will satisfy your sweet tooth. You not only feel fuller afterwards, weight loss benefits prevail.
From their high-fiber content to their many nutrients, root vegetables boast  a long history of medicinal and dietary uses.  These vegetables can be served cold as well.  They sell these cold  at those expensive gourmet shops.  Cooked and then cooled potatoes (as well as quinoa, barley and rice). All have resistant starch.  Resistant starch burns more slowly and helps you lose weight. They appear to help you burn fat up to  24 hours later. Why?  No one knows. But what is known is that once resistant starch gets to the colon, your body ferments it and produces an anticancer agent called butyrate – yet another health benefit.

Roast Winter Vegetables on the BBQ

Tamarind and Chick Peas

9🎶  THREE’S  THE  CHARM  🎶  
(1) TAMARIND (2) SPINACH (3) CHICK PEAS
I had this dish years ago, without all the spices and was not impressed.  The spices in this recipe enhance the key flavour of  the tamarind.  Surprisingly, the 3 jalapeño peppers are not hot in this dish.  An EASY 30 MINUTE meal packed with protein and flavour.  Leftovers makes a great lunch at the office!  Another  winner!


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INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp nigella seeds
1½ tsp fennel seeds  ( or  anise seeds)
1 medium onion ( chopped )
400 g can chopped tomatoes (san marzano)
3 green jalaeño peppers, seeded and cut into quarter lengths
2-3 tsp monk fruit sweetener ( or stevia, truvia, etc. )
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
410 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste ( adjust to taste )
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
half a 250g/9oz bag of organic baby spinach leaves
Serving suggestion:  natural yogurt and chapatis

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the nigella and fennel seeds for about 10 second. Add the onion and cook gently for 8-10 minutes until golden.

2. Mix in the tomatoes,  jalapeños,  sweetener ( Monk fruit ), paprika, turmeric and  chickpeas. Bring to a boil,  then simmer for 10 minutes.  Make sure your dish is stew-like; not too dry. Add water if needed.

3. Stir in the tamarind and coriander. ( (You need to do a taste test here. Add more tamerind to get  that tamerind sweet and sour flavour).  Add the spinach leaves and stir gently until they’ve just wilted. You can serve as a main course with yogurt and chapatis or as a side dish.

Tamarind paste

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Chick Peas

Tamarind and Chick Peas

COOKING TIP:  Before starting to cook, do all your chopping and rinse out the chick peas. Check your spice rack to make sure you have all your spices  measured and placed in  small dishes. ahead of time. This “mise en place”  technique makes cooking time much faster.

WARNING: Do not buy tamarind without reading the ingredients on the label. I bought tamarind in a bottle at the grocery store. I neglected to read the label as I was in a hurry. The main ingredient was syrup. Tamarind was the fourth ingredient! I was disappointed. Do not accept substitutes or a bogus spice seller that claims to be tamarind. Without ‘true’ tamarind, this recipe is so – so. I soaked my tamerind block in water  took the seeds out and ladled the liquid into the dish. ( About 1 cup ) The difference was like night and day.

DID YOU KNOW? The recipe for WORCESTERSHIRE Sauce contains tamarind?  The one ingredient that sets Worcestershire sauce apart  is tamarind  fruit. The sweetness in this fruit  is balanced by its high content of acid, giving it that sweet-sour taste.

TAMARIND is a condiment, a spice and a fruit. Its extract, which tastes deliciously tangy, is one of the most highly valued foods in Asian and Indian cuisine. ( Origin: Africa )

TAMARIND contains an impressive amount of essential minerals such as thiamine, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Some of its other prominent nutrients include niacin, calcium, vitamin C, copper, fiber and pyridoxine.

Tamarind treats both constipation and diarrhea naturally by increasing the effectiveness of the digestive tract.  Tamarind has long been considered a natural laxative.  It stimulates your metabolism and also keeps your digestive system strong and improves blood circulation. Good for weight loss. Boost your immune system. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Tamarind Pods and Beverage

Swedish Red Cabbage and Apples

animated-swedish-flagA traditional dish served during the Christmas season in Sweden. Pair the Swedish red cabbage and apples  with Finnish meatballs  or as a side dish with just about anything.  A bright and colourful addition to your festive holiday dining! Easy to make in advance. This dish is actually better the next day.  Enjoy your red cabbage/apple dish in the summer since it is equally delicious served cold.  Any leftovers will disappear quickly from your fridge.
Note: I have used olive oil instead of the traditional butter, so you can served cold. Yumm!!!

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cabbage-ingredientsINGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 organic Granny Smith, Macintosh or other slightly tart apples
1 large onion, chopped
1 red cabbage (1 lb. before trimming)
3 Tablespoons sweetener
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon red currant or hot pepper jelly
salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot.
2. Add chopped onions and saute until translucent on medium low heat.
3. While they are cooking, peel and chop the apples and add to the onions stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the inner core of the cabbage and roughly chop. Add to the onions and apples and cook for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low if it is boiling.
5. Add the salt, vinegar, spices, and sugar substitute. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
6. Add wine and jelly and cook uncovered for 5 minutes longer.

I try not to overcook this dish as texture is a very important part of food appreciation.  Crunchy and chewy textures slow you down and help you eat more deliberately and more joyfully.

cabbage_salad26

didyouknowRed cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.  It is also a good source of vitamin B1, B2, calcium, vitamin A and protein.  One cup of boiled cabbage has just thirty-three calories.  Cabbage is good for reducing your risk of cancer and possibly of Alzheimer’s disease.  In the laboratory, red cabbage protects against oxidative stress in the brain, reducing the buildup of plaque and again reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.  Also, a Chinese study found that women who ate the most cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage were at half the risk for breast cancer as those who ate little or none.