If you love sweet and spicy, make this harissa roasted butternut, cauliflower and chickpea bowl immediately! It's really simple to throw together. Just roast fall vegetables and chickpeas in a glaze of harissa paste and pure maple syrup and serve over quinoa with feta, pomegranate and herbs for garnish. A totally nourishing vegetarian meal for winter or fall!Read More
Make this spicy butternut squash tortilla soup with white beans for fall! It's vegetarian and packed with fiber from winter squash and white beans! Double up the recipe and freeze for later. I love to serve this vegetarian soup garnished with avocado, cheese, cilantro and lime!Read More
Welp, I just got my first sunburn of the year, so I guess I better go ahead and share the winter squash recipes my queue, starting with this roasted kabocha squash salad with creamy garlic dressing.Read More
Roasted fall vegetable pesto pasta is an easy and comforting weeknight dinner. Use any seasonal vegetable you like, but this combination of carrots, delicata squash and brussels sprouts is especially tasty!
Happy Monday! About the time this gets posted, my flight is set to land in the US after an incredible trip to Vietnam. I hope you've been keeping up with our adventures on instagram. If so, you know we've been doing our fair share of eating, especially street food. Planning to do a couple recaps of our trip so I can self indulgently share pictures and all the delicious food we ate, but until then, I'm trying to focus on spitting out this post before we hop on our plane. Unfortunately, my brain feels somewhat like the rice noodles we've been living off the last week and a half!
Trying so hard to muster up some enthusiasm for this post, because truly, this is one of my favorite go to dishes for fall. Almost every other week when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I roast up a big batch of seasonal vegetables and toss it with cooked whole grain pasta and pesto sauce. It's so tasty and I never get bored of it! But right now, after 2 weeks of indulgence (and so, so many rice noodles), all my body wants is a big green smoothie and a massaged kale salad. Basically anything fresh - not this big bowl of warm, carby, comforting goodness.
So, let's skip the gushing and go straight to the recipe. Use any type of seasonal vegetable you like - mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips and broccoli all work well, but I love the sweet and bitter combination of winter squash and carrots with slightly bitter Brussels sprouts. Plus, there's that whole carb on carb thing. Any type of winter squash will work, but if you see delicata squash, snatch it up! It's thin skin is edible, saving you time and fingers.
I whipped up this quick vegan pesto since we had a ton of basil in our garden (the only thing still living), but feel free to use any store bought pesto. To add more protein, toss in a can of white beans.
Roasted Fall Vegetable Pesto Pasta
Serves: About 4ish but depends on how hungry you are
- 1 delicata squash, halved, seeds scooped out and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 carrots, in 1/2 inch cubes
- 12 ounce brussels sprouts, halved
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounce 100% whole grain penne or fusilli
- [b]Vegan Pesto:[/b]
- 2 cups basil, packed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons nutrition yeast
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss squash and carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a large baking dish. Place in the oven and roast for 35 minutes until browned and tender.
- Toss brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet, place in the oven and roast 25 minutes.
- While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
- While pasta and vegetables are cooking, place basil, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until finely chopped, then stream in olive oil and continue to blend until pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain pasta and return to pot. Add roasted vegetables and pesto. Toss to combine and serve.
More easy pasta dishes:
This gluten free polenta vegetable lasagna with kale, butternut squash & mushrooms uses precooked polenta rounds in lieu of lasagna noodles for a weeknight-friendly lasagna!
This post is almost painful to write. Not because this recipe wasn't a resounding success. Believe me, it was, and if you need extra proof, just ask Ashley from The Fresh Beet. She got to enjoy the leftovers with me last week :) It's painful because lasagna is by far the warmest, most comforting dish you can possibly make, especially when packed with roasted winter squash and kale. Yet as I'm writing this, it's 84 degrees, humid, and I'm sitting on my front porch sweating in shorts, a t-shirt and itchy eyes from pollen.
Buuuut, I know it's still winter in places that aren't nicknamed "the armpit of the South." Plus, this recipe was too good not to share, and there's only a few more weeks where I can get away with using winter squash!
I make a pretty epic veggie lasagna. I wish I could claim it as my own, but I follow the recipe for Green Kitchen Stories World's Best Vegetable Lasagna verbatum. The truth is in the title. But as epically delicious as it is, I hardly ever make it. Takes way too long!
[Tweet "A recipe for easy polenta lasagna with #kale, butternut squash & mushrooms by @RHartleyRD #vegetarian"]
This version uses three shortcuts. First, I used jarred tomato sauce in lieu of a homemade sauce (Trader Joe's all the way!). Then, I used prechopped butternut squash rather than hassling with a sturdy gourd and a sharp knife. Finally, instead of cooking whole grain lasagna noodles, I swapped precooked polenta tubes, cut into rounds. While it's not exactly a 30 minute meal, it's weeknight doable.
Have you ever cooked with precooked polenta rounds? It's a great ingredient to have on hand for quick meals and side dishes. Bonus points - it's a whole grain! If you've never seen it before, you can purchase precooked tubes of polenta, Italian grits, usually in the pasta aisle. Here's some recipe inspiration:
Since it's technically Spring and starting to feel like it too, swap in asparagus for the squash and spinach for the kale.
Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Look for tomato sauce that is low in sugar, preferably with less than 4 grams of sugar in a serving. I used Trader Joes tomato basil marinara.
- 12 ounces precut butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 lb kale, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 18-ounce tubes of precooked polenta
- 1 26-ounce jar tomato sauce
- 16 ounces organic ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss squash with 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes until browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While squash is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add kale, garlic and saute until starting to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.
- Reduce oven heat to 375.
- Slice the two polenta tubes into 36 rounds total.
- Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place 12 polenta rounds evenly on the bottom. Top with half the kale and mushroom mixture, half the squash, half the ricotta. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the top. Repeat with another layer of polenta and the rest of the vegetables and ricotta. Top with another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, the remaining 12 polenta tubes, then the rest of the tomato sauce. Top with slices of mozzarella.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until bubbly and the mozzarella is melted and browned. Let sit for 10 minutes for before slicing and serving.
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A simple winter soup made with the most delicious of all the winter squash - kabocha. Roast a head of garlic along with the squash for a rich, caramelized flavor and stir in sauteed kale for a hit of fresh green.
Remember when I first met kabocha and quickly fell in love? Well guess what? We're still going strong! In fact, I've left Scott and kabocha and I are moving in together ;-)
Okay, that last part was weird...
But in all seriousness, kabocha and I have been having quite the love affair this winter. I can't get enough of it's dense, creamy texture and rich sweetness! I've been throwing roast cubes of it into everything I eat...and sometimes snacking on caramelized cubes of it between meals. But mostly, I've been making soup. Lots and lots of soup.
I tend to get sick of pureed soups pretty quickly, but I remain enamored with this basic one, even after multiple batches. You can use this recipe as a template and add different flavors and spices as you like. Give it a Middle Eastern flair with a sprinkle of za'atar, swirl of olive oil and dollop of plain yogurt. Stir in sweet rice cake balls to make a traditional Korean soup called danhobak juk. Stir in curry and turmeric for an Indian spiced soup. Or, go all Paula Dean with it and cook the kale in rendered bacon fat then garnishing with crumbled bacon. Kale cancels out bacon, or something like that.
For a topping, I saved the kabocha squash seeds and roasted them as I whipped up the soup. One thing I love about winter squash is you get a meal and a snack out of one piece of produce. Squash seeds are packed with nutrition - healthy fats, fiber, zinc, and copper to name a few. I've seen many recipes that call for meticulously soaking and cleaning the seeds, but I say pfffttt to that! The squash "guts," if you will, may not be as pretty, but it adds flavor and that's the important thing.
This is one of those recipes that speaks for itself, so I'll just get to it. But first, tell me your go-to winter soups in the comments below. The temperature is dropping and I need some inspiration!
- 1 medium kabocha squash
- 1 head garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and guts using a spoon, reserving only the seeds in a small bowl. Cut each half in half so you have four sections. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet.
- Peel away the paper outer layers of the garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and wrap with a square of aluminum foil. Place alongside the squash.
- Place pan with garlic and squash in the oven and roast about 45 minutes until tender. Check the squash after about 30 minutes with a fork to see if it's tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- While cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add kale, salt and pepper and saute until wilted, adding a couple tablespoons of water to help it steam.
- While the kale is wilting, scoop squash flesh and roasted garlic (just squeeze the individual cloves out of it's paper) into a blender. Add vegetable broth, turmeric and caynne and blend until pureed. Pour into the pot with the kale. Add 2 cups water to the blender to help rinse out the remaining squash puree and pour that into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring soup to a simmer then cook 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Reduce oven temp to 375. While the soup is simmering, toss the seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (can use the same one you roasted the squash on). Roast for 10-15 minutes until crispy and crunchy, but not browned.
- Serve soup garnished with toasted seeds.
These za'atar roasted acorn squash halves filled with chard, pistachios and topped with a tahini drizzle make a gorgeous vegan main!
When I was a vegetarian back in middle and high school, it used to drive me nuts how people fretted over what to feed me for Thanksgiving. How about everything but turkey? I mean, everyone's favorite part of Thanksgiving are the sides, so what's the problem here? More room for stuffing, I say!
Now as an adult, I kind of get it. As a host, you want a nice centerpiece to serve. And parents probably don't want their child eating three plates of macaroni and cheese.
I didn't create this recipe with Thanksgiving in mind, but as soon as I tasted one, I realized it would be perfect as a vegan Thanksgiving main. Za'atar and tahini certainly aren't traditional Thanksgiving flavors, they both work perfectly with the dish, adding a hint of spice and creaminess.
Let's talk about winter squash for a second. I love to take advantage of it when in season. Like tomatoes, there really is a huge taste difference between seasonal winter squash and what you find in the summer, which is watery and bland. Roasting is by far my favorite way of preparing them, as it helps caramelize the sugars and deepen their flavor - not to mention make your house smell incredible!
Vibrantly colored winter squash is a great source of vitamin A, and actually so is Swiss chard. Just one of these stuffed squashes has almost 200% your daily needs of the antioxidant vitamin. It is also a rich source of another potent antioxidant, vitamin C. Despite being a starchy food, winter squash is rich in fiber and other nutrients that regulate blood sugar. Another fun fact about winter squash - it contains a decent amount of omega 3 fats in the form of ALA, despite being a low fat food.
While I was teaching a class earlier this week, someone asked me what I thought the two most nutritious vegetables were. I quickly replied green leafies and orange starchy veggies like winter squash and sweet potatoes. It's hard to beat the sheer quantity and variety of nutrients they contain. So with that in mind, I suppose this is basically the healthiest dish ever!
Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash with Za'atar and Tahini
These would also be good with a little feta cheese mixed in with the chard. A handful of currants would play off the sweet, spicy and savory flavors well too. Next time, I think I'll make it with kabocha squash, just because it's my favorite.
- 2 small-medium acorn squash
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons za'atar
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
- 1/3 cup tahini
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a teaspoon of za'atar on each. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven 45-55 minutes until tender.
- About halfway through the squash roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until very tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook 1 minute. Add chard and a couple tablespoons of water. Cover and cook, stirring every so often and adding a couple tablespoons of water as needed, about 10 minutes total, until chard is tender. Stir in pistachios and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove squash from the oven and let cool slightly. Divide the chard mixture between the squash, patting it in to fit as much greens as possible. When ready to serve, drizzle with tahini sauce.
If you've ever talked food with me before, then you're aware of my not-so-minor obsession with cheese. So it may be disconcerting to see something advertised as "almost cheeseless" on my site, as if that were a good thing.
There are few things in life I love more than a good cheese plate. Or my favorite macaroni and cheese. Mmm...and now that you've got me thinking, lasagna with a gooey, cheesy top is pretty fantastic too. But these rich dishes are best left for holidays and special occasions...and sometimes Tuesday night.
Despite the lightened ingredients, this pasta casserole is just as hearty and satisfying as any of the aforementioned cheesy classics. The sauce is made from 2% Greek yogurt. Sounds odd, and I certainly had my doubts, but it actually turns into a ricotta cheese-like consistency after baking. Roasted butternut squash ups the creaminess and gives the dish a hint of sweetness. Toasted almonds add crunch and play off the nuttiness of whole grain pasta, while olives and feta pack a punch of briny, salty flavor.
Heidi from 101 Cookbooks (I've been following her blog so long I feel like we're on first name basis), suggests using this recipe as a template and swapping out the veggies for what's in season. I love her idea for using asparagus and dill in the spring, but I think next time I'll try a caprese inspired version with oven-roasted tomatoes, spinach, basil and mozzarella.
One cup of winter squash contains 200% daily value of vitamin A and about 30% daily value for vitamin C. Considering squash is a low fat food, I was surprised to learn the same size serving provides 8% daily needs for omega-3 fats. We tend to think of omega-3s as a nutrient only found in fatty fish, but there are small amounts in many plant based foods that can add up over the course of the day. Good to know for vegetarians, vegans and those who are concerned about mercury, like pregnant women and parents of small children. Squash may be a starchy vegetable, but studies have shown the main type of starch in squash can help our body use insulin more effectively.
Many people needlessly avoid nuts over concerns about calorie content, yet studies consistently show nuts can actually help you lose weight. Full of fiber and healthy fats, nuts are satiating, so a little goes a long way. Nuts are a fantastic addition to your diet to promote heart health, as they effective at lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol and contain many anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Compared to other nuts, almonds are by far richest source of vitamin E with 33% daily value, compared to 1-5% in most other nuts! They also contain more calcium than any other nut.
One of my absolute favorites! Just like olive oil, olives are considered a superfood. But the olive itself contains unique nutrient compounds, like hydroxytyrolsol, which is linked to cancer protection and bone health, and oleupurin, an antioxidant which inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Olives are also known to have one of the most diverse ranges of phytonutrients - terpenes, phenols, hydroxycinnamic acids, and flavanoids are all found in olives.
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 8 ounces whole grain pasta (I used a whole wheat penne)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups winter squash,in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 bunch of kale, spinach or chard, cut into ribbons
- 2 cups 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives or other oil-cured black olive, chopped roughly
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with olive oil. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, rub an 8 x 12 inch baking dish with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with lemon zest and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente. A few seconds before you stop cooking the pasta, add the kale. Drain and run through cold water to stop the cooking process.
- While the pasta cooks, mix the yogurt, eggs, garlic and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Once the pasta-kale mixture and squash are cooked, add to the yogurt sauce along with half of the almonds. Mix to coat the pasta evenly with sauce. Scoop into the baking dish. Top with olives and feta.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh mint and remaining almonds over the top.