butternut soup with crispy chickpeas

An easy, creamy, and delicious soup for fall.  Feel free to add more veggie stock if you prefer a thinner soup.  As always, season to your taste and make substitutions whenever you like.  At the bottom of the post, I’ve included some variations/options to try out if they call to you.  This recipe is part of the Yay for Earth meal plan/challenge II in collaboration with @stevieyaaay.  Access the recipe list/info on the meal plan HERE.

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for the chickpeas:

3 cups chickpeas (I used home cooked, but if you used canned, it’s 2 cans), drained well and patted dry

drizzle oil, enough to coat the chickpeas

seasonings- I like chili flakes, harissa, cayenne or hot paprika (anything spicy) and salt and garlic.  The spicy goes well with the sweetness of the soup.  But please use whatever you like!

for the soup:

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, chopped

2 large sprigs thyme, leaves stripped, stems composted or saved for stock making

1 butternut squash or other orange fleshed sweet squash, or even sweet potatoes, mine was about 2 lbs.  Cut into small cubes.

1 apple (any kind except don’t use a tart green one), cut into small cubes.

1 can full fat coconut milk

2 cups veggie broth

s+p to taste, start with 1/2 tsp and add more as needed

optional nutmeg or cinnamon to make a more sweet/autumnal flavor

method:

Preheat oven to 400, and while its coming up to temperature:

-chop onions and squash

-toss chickpeas with drizzle of oil and seasonings, place on a single layer on a baking sheet.

Put chickpeas into the oven and set timer for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, heat up the oil and then add the onions. Sauté until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.

Add in the apple + thyme and sauté another minute or two till fragrant. Add in the butternut and veggie broth and simmer till tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and cook until heated through. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

By this time the chickpeas should be ready, when ready to serve, add the chickpeas on top of the bowls of soup along with a sprinkle of fresh minced thyme.

Serve with a simple salad- I like arugula (1 large handful for every person eating) tossed with plenty of lemon juice and olive oil and either a sprinkle of vegan parm if I have it, or simple s+p.

options:

make it heartier: add a scoop of quinoa, rice, or serve with bread.

make it faster:  peel, deseed and cube the squash on the weekend.  Store in a sealed container like a mason jar in the fridge.

take it to the next level: roast the squash and then proceed with the recipe.  this will deepen the flavor.

less waste: rinse the seeds of the squash, pat them dry, and toss with seasonings and a bit of oil.  Roast on a separate pan while the chickpeas are roasting for a nice snack.

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curried bean + brussels stew with roasted squash

Vegan butternut Brussels curry

Hello helloo!  We had a few days of colder snaps at night and a weird day of hail (?!) here so lately I’ve been craving a really warming and comforting one pot dish.  I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for weeks and today was the perfect day.  This stew seriously hits the spot.  It’s creamy, savory, loaded with all kinds of textures, and is a complete meal!  Plus it uses in season veggies: brussels, squash, and kale.  My kids really enjoyed it too!

Curry stew winter Simply Vibrant

The recipe comes from a new cookbook I’ve been absolutely loving lately called Simply Vibrant: All-Day Vegetarian Recipes for Colorful Plant-Based Cooking, by Anya Kassoff (find her on Instagram @golubkakitchen and her blog golubkakitchen.com).  The cookbook is just gorgeous, with lots of beautiful photos, seasonal, plant based recipes, many gluten free recipes, and decadent healthy treats.  I especially love that there’s an emphasis on using up every part of something- in this recipe you use the herb stems and bean cooking liquid- for an extremely sustainable and delicious dish.  She honors vegetables in the way there were meant to be experienced- as the star.  There’s something for everyone in this book, and it’s already become a treasured and referenced cookbook on my shelf.  I don’t say this lightly- I hardly own any cookbooks, but this is definitely a gem.

simply vibrant cookbook

photo c/o @golubkakitchen

This recipe has many steps, don’t be put off- they’re very easy, but it does take a bit of time.  A perfect Sunday meal.  If you, like me, are busy during the week, try cooking your beans and roasting the squash on the weekend (what I did) and the whole recipe comes together rather seamlessly.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and many thanks to Anya for letting me publish it!

Simply vibrant cookbook vegan

curried bean and brussels stew with roasted kabocha squash

ingredients

1 cup dried beans: adzuki, kidney, or cannellini beans (I used giant beans), soaked in purified water overnight

3 to 4 bay leaves

2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves separated, stalks reserved for cooking the beans

sea salt

1 medium kabocha, kuri, or butternut squash, seeded, cut into bite size pieces (skin removed only if using butternut)

freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, divided

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, freshly ground

seeds from 5 to 7 cardamom pods, freshly ground

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3/4 cup bhutanese or red rice, rinsed (i had to use arborio and it was fine)

handful kaffir lime leaves (optional)

1 pound halved brussels, hard ends cut away

1 can coconut milk

zest and juice of 2 limes

4 cups baby spinach or 2 cups chopped kale

method

  1. Drain and rinse the beans, then place them in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cover with at least 14 cups of water.  Add the bay leaved, garlic, thyme stalks, and cilantro stems, and bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.  Skim off any foam with a slotted spoon and reduce the heat to a strong simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes, add a pinch or two of salt, then cook for another 10 minutes or until the beans are tender and butter inside.  Check periodically to make sure the water is simmering.  If the beans are not fully cooked after 30 minutes, continue cooking them until they reach the right consistency-it can take up to an hour or even longer for some beans.  Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid in a large heatproof bowl for the base of the stew.  Discard the bay leaves and the stems.  Set the beans aside, and do not wash the pot.

giant beans2.  While the beans are cooking, preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

3.  Place the squash on the prepared sheet, add the thyme leave, salt, and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil.  Mix to coat using your hands.  Spread in a single layer, transfer to oven, and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring at halftime, until the squash is tender when pricked with a knife.

4.  In the same pot you used for cooking the beans, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the ginger and spices and stir everything around for 2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add the onion and saute for 7 minutes, until it is soft and translucent.

Curry spices

5.  Add the rice, a large pinch of salt, and the kaffir lime leaves, if using; and stir to coat.  Add 7 cups of the reserved bean cooking liquid and bring the liquid to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is almost cooked.

6.  Increase the heat to medium high and add the brussels sprouts, cooked beans, and a large pinch of salt.  If using kale, add it at this time as well.  Bring the broth back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes until the brussels sprouts and the rice are tender.

Brussels sprouts winter

7.  Add the coconut milk, roasted squash, lime zest and juice, and more salt to taste.  Bring the broth back to a gentle boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes.

8.  Remove the pot from the heat, taste the broth, and add more salt if needed.  Stir in the spinach, if using.  Serve hot with fresh cilantro leaves and more freshly squeezed lime juice, if desired.  (I added coconut yogurt, mango chutney, and chile flakes too with excellent results.  Yum!)

 

in season now: cauliflower + 5 ways to use it

Purple romanesco cauliflower green vegan

Cauliflower is everywhere at the market right now.  It’s so beautiful with its tightly packed, creamy florets and tender green leaves.

Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family, otherwise known as cruciferous vegetables.  Others members of the family: broccoli, brussels, arugula, bok choy, radish, turnips, collard greens, watercress and cabbage.

Cruciferous vegetables basically have superpowers- they’re one of the top vegetables for cancer prevention.  They boost and activate our immune system receptors in the gut, they contain high levels of antioxidants, and eating them regularly appears to boost detoxifying enzymes in the liver.  Food is SO amazing.

Back to cauliflower, though.  It’s in season and you should totally be eating it.  Not only is it super healthy for you, it’s delicious and super versatile.  You can keep it raw or roast, steam, purée, sauté it.  When you cook it, it turns into this slightly sweet, creamy bank canvas to soak up really any flavors you want.  You can even turn it into grain free, nutrient dense “rice“.

At the market, choose cauliflower with nice dense florets, bright in color, heavy for its size, with fresh looking leaves.  If the ones you see have brown discoloration on them, they’re not as fresh, but you can cut it off at home and underneath it will be fine.

Purple graffiti cauliflower vegan meal

Cauliflower is quite hardy and tends to store very well in the refrigerator.  I usually just store mine loose in the produce drawer of my fridge, and it does just fine.  You may like to cut it up + store it in a bowl with a lid in the fridge to make it easy to grab and use later in the week.  If you’re not using it up fast enough, you can steam it and freeze it- it’s actually great in a smoothie (really! read this if you’re curious).

There are so many vibrant colors of cauliflower- green, purple, orange, white.  The colored ones are even better for you than standard white because of the antioxidants.  There’s even romanesco, an Italian broccoli-cauliflower-ish veggie that comes in a gorgeous natural fractal shape.  I die over these!  They are soooooo beautiful.

Romanesco cauliflower broccoli recipe vegan

I first tried cauliflower and squash together in a soup when I made a recipe from the lovely Loni Jane’s second ebook.  It’s so perfect-  the cauliflower makes it super velvety and creamy!

I made a few tweaks but really this is such a simple recipe, you can customize it however you like.  It’s especially good with some crusty bread to dip or a dollop of quinoa and rice added when serving.

After the recipe, I’ve also added links for 4 other recipes to use cauliflower in to give you more ideas on how versatile it can be.

cauliflower squash soup vegan creamy dairy free plant based chickpeas

winter squash + cauliflower soup with harissa chickpeas

for the soup

1/2 a medium cauliflower, cut into large florets

1/2 a large kabocha or butternut or pie pumpkin, (or even sweet potato!), cut into 2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, smashed

5 cups veggie broth or 5 cups water + veggie bouillon

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon harissa spice or less depending on how spicy your harissa is (you can also omit or sub curry powder)

3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional but boosts the savory flavor)

for the crunchy chickpeas

2 cups or 1 can of chickpeas, drained

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon harissa spice or curry powder

salt and pepper

 

method:

Crank the oven to 450 Fahrenheit.

Add everything to the pot except the nutritional yeast.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the veggies are very soft.  A fork should be able to go through with no resistance when you poke them.

While you wait for the veggies to soften, dry the chickpeas on a kitchen towel so they’re not soggy.  Transfer to baking sheet and drizzle over coconut oil and salt.  Mix with hands to evenly coat.  Spread the chickpeas out so they’re in a single layer with plenty of space between them.  Pop in the oven and roast till crispy, 15-20 minutes.  When they’re done, sprinkle the harissa over them and stir to coat.

Transfer soup to a blender, using a ladle and add the nutritional yeast, then purée till very smooth.  Alternatively, add the yeast to the pot and blend with an immersion stick blender.

Ladle/pour into bowls and top with the chickpeas, cilantro and green onions.  Finish with chili flakes and any crunchy nuts or seeds you like- I used my DIY everything bagel spice blend but use whatever you like- roasted cashews, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, anything that adds a little texture.  Enjoy right away!

This freezes and reheats perfectly too.  I freeze in mason jars and then take on out in the morning, put it in the fridge during the day, and then heat it up at night for dinner.

+ 4 other ways to enjoy cauliflower:

kung pao cauliflower: this looks amazing!  Obviously leave out the bacon, though, because grosss.

cauliflower cashew curry: curries are a perfect easy weeknight meal as they go so fast yet deliver big flavor.  Cauliflower is perfect in curried with its soft, tender texture.

cauliflower “gnocchi” with pesto:  this is such an easy trick I learned a long time ago from one of Kim Snyder’s cookbooks.  Cut off the ends of the florets, reserving the stems for another use, so that you’re left with bite size roundish pieces.  Steam them and then toss with your favorite pesto.  UNREAL.  So tasty and lightning fast.

cauliflower buffalo “wings”: I’m sure you guys have tried of these or heard of them before, but I still had to mention them because I’m in love with wing sauce and can eat a whole pan of these guys.  It’s just cauliflower dipped in batter and baked, then coated with wing sauce.  Perfect texture and a great healthier replacement for chicken wings.

easy pasta with cauliflower + greens: this has a Sicilian flair with the raisins, vinegar, and chili flakes and it’s so yummy.  Add in chickpeas or use chickpea pasta to make this a hearty, one dish meal.

ENJOY your cauliflower this week!  I hope I’ve inspired you to work it more into your rotation- it really is such a wonderful vegetable.

xx Amanda

GF/V kabocha pie

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I am enamored by Amy Chaplin.  She has the best, most beautiful recipes that use whole food ingredients.  I love her cookbook, At home in the whole food kitchen.  For our vegan + gluten free thanksgiving this year, I tried out one of the recipes from her book for pumpkin tartlets.  It turned out perfectly, and way tastier than traditional pumpkin pie.  All the same rich flavors + super silky texture + bright color.

Some notes about my modifications:  I used my homegrown papaya squash instead of the kabocha.  Since my squash was more watery, I mashed it and then let it drain for a while through a fine mesh strainer until it was thicker.  Kabocha would be ideal here, though, as it’s naturally very creamy and starchy instead of wet.  It makes the most silky puree ever.  Also, her crust originally had gluten in it in the form of spelt flour.  Gluten makes me feel yuck, so I avoid it whenever possible.  It was a pretty easy swap here.  I subbed in an equivalent amount of my own GF flour mix (chickpea flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch) but I’m sure you could use any GF flour blend.  Make sure it’s a blend though- I don’t think it will work with just one type of flour.  GF baking is tricky that way.  The crust dough is really sticky.  Don’t worry about it, it bakes up fine.  The recipe is originally for tartlets.  I baked mine as a whole pie, in a springform pan (the kind made for cheesecakes, that has removable sides).  I baked mine in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I was opening the oven a lot, though because I was cooking other things at the same time.  So yours may need less time- Ive called for baking it 1 hour, but checking it at 45 minutes just in case.  It firms up more as it cools.

pumpkin pie with GF cashew ginger crust (adapted from an Amy Chaplin recipe)

FILLING:

1/2 a large kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (~ 4.5 cups)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened full fat coconut milk (I used homemade)

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used raw sugar since I was low on maple syrup)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR seeds from a vanilla bean

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

nutmeg, to taste (I used ~ 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh, but I like a strong nutmeg flavor) you could also sub pumpkin pie spice blend here

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

pinch sea salt

CRUST:

1 1/4 cups raw cashews

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats (GF)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon GF flour blend OR spelt/all purpose if you don’t mind gluten

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon melted coco oil OR EVOO

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Steam the squash chunks for 10-12 minutes until soft.  Drain, place in a bowl and mash it up really well.  Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the mash.  Blend the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, arrowroot, and salt to combine evenly.  Add the squash and blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (~177 celsius).  Oil a springform pan or tart pan really well.
  3. Place cashews, oats, GF flour, brown rice flour, and salt in food processor and blend until the mix is a crumbly flour, similar to a medium grind cornmeal.  Transfer to a bowl and drizzle the oil over it, mixing with your fingers until the flour is moistened.  Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and mix again until well combined.  Let sit for 5 minutes so the flours can hydrate.  Sprinkle a little extra GF flour blend if it seems reeealllly wet and mix well.  Dump it into your prepared pan and using the pads of your fingers, press it into a crust- work from the center out.  Make it as even a thickness as you can.  Prick the crust bottom all over with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is set but not done.
  4. Remove from oven and pour filling into the pan.  Bake for 1 hour, checking it at 45 minutes for doneness.  The center should be set and there will be cracks all over the pie surface.  The filling will thicken more as it cools.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, put it in the fridge to chill completely, about 1 hour.  Remove the sides from the pan and serve with whipped cream (toasted or glazed pecans are amazing here too!)

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for all of you.  xx

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at the market: winter squash + 5 ways to use it

IMG_1993Winter squash is abundant this time of year- so many colors, textures and flavors to choose from.  I always buy a bunch and keep them on the table as a sort of “fruit bowl” type centerpiece because they are so pretty.  My favorites are kabocha, red kuri, delicata, and butternut.  These all have dense, sweet flesh that get caramelized when roasted and blends up creamy for soups.  I also love spaghetti squash as whole food, gluten free noodle replacer- just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and steam.  Delicata is great because it has tender thin skin (no need to peel)- cut in half, scoop out the seeds, cut into half moons, and roast.  I especially love roasting it with brussels, beets or other veg for a colorful side.  Kabocha has edible skin, too- I like to cut into wedges and steam in a kombu-lined pot with a few tablespoons of mirin, splash of water, and some tamari and green onions to finish- a technique I learned from this post.

When choosing squash, look for ones that have bright and vibrant skins and that feel heavy for their size.  I like to choose smaller ones because I find them less likely to be stringy.  If you do end up getting a stringy squash, just blend it up into a soup or puree it for a side/ add to breads, pie, etc!  Store squash in a cool, dry place- thinner skinned varieties like delicata only last a few weeks, but other squashes can last a month or more in a cool area like the garage.

Here’s my favorite squash soup recipe, plus 4 other ways to use up those gorgeous gourds.

squash soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or use broth/water for oil free)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large sweet apple, chopped

1 large squash or pumpkin, any type, peeled and cubed, seeds reserved ~5-6 cups

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or sage, minced

1 can coconut milk

2-3 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how large your squash is and how thick/thin you prefer your soup)

salt + pepper, to taste

any toppings you like, here i used sage leaves crisped up in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil + toasted pecans.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 400.  Toss the squash seeds with a little oil, salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven and bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot.  Add in the onion and apple and saute until onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the thyme and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in the squash and stir to coat.  Add in coconut milk and broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer, uncovered, until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree or carefully transfer to a blender to puree.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the roasted seeds, and any other toppings- a scoop of quinoa, some avocado, breadcrumbs, dollop of cashew cream, toasted pecans, fried sage leaves, anything you desire.

+4 other favorite squash recipes

creamy kabocha pasta : I omit the cheese and meat in this recipe, subbing crispy sautéed mushrooms (sear in a pan with thyme and shallot, only stirring once or twice so they get crispy)

roast squash and bean tart : impressive looking and delicious vegan main, GF, perfect for thanksgiving or holiday gatherings.

chili and sesame roasted squash : so so good, easy, and a totally different taste profile than the usual recipes.

butternut lasagna with sage-tofu ricotta : another delicious and beautiful vegan main, just add a green salad and you’re set!

+ 1 bonus recipe: pumpkin cheesecake // I’ve been wanting to try this baby forever, it looks so good and would be perfect to bring to a dinner or holiday party.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that it inspires you to work more squash into the meal rotation this week.  Have a lovely weekend! xx