Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

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Although we are nearing the holidays and I’d normally be dreaming up all kinds of chocolatey desserts, I have decided to take control of my sugar cravings and nip them in the butt before Christmas rolls in and the indulgences would start.  It really is unbelievable how little time it takes to kick the sugar habit, usually within 2-3 days I no longer crave it.  On this day though, I was trying to stick to my goal, but I wanted a little something sweet.  I decided rather than caving, I’d smother some squash in maple syrup and not beat myself up over it!  My husband said it was the best way he’s ever had butternut squash. I’d love to know what you think!

This meal went over well with my preschooler.  I’m always trying to sneak kale into his meals, and if you’re curious, I find the easiest most enjoyable way is to add it into soups.  That’s another blog post, though.  Back to the rice bowl.

The only pain in the butt about preparing this meal is peeling the squash.  I find the quickest way to do it is by cutting off the stem and bottom of squash, slicing the squash in half then placing it so a flat end is on the cutting board.  Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel in a downward motion.  Perhaps a tutorial would be helpful!  The rest of the process is very simple and fairly quick.

I also want to remind you all that there are five days left to enter my holiday giveaway.  Here is the link if you haven’t checked it out yet.  If you want your Vegan Bible, then I encourage you to enter!

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used a mix of brown/wild rice)

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Directions:

  • Boil rice according to packaging directions.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place the cubed squash in a large bowl.  Add maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.  Using your hands or a silicone spatula, mix all the ingredients making sure the squash is well covered in the maple syrup and seasoning.
  • Spread out the cubes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.  Turn on the broiler and place baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to really caramelize the squash.  Careful not to burn them!  Lower the heat back to 425°F and toast your cashews for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Steam your kale and top with onion flakes.
  • To assemble, scoop rice into bowl, top with kale, squash and toasted cashews.
  • Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Soup

I think my husband said it best tonight; right now, it’s all about sweaters and soup.  So many of us were sad to see summer end, but I personally can’t stand humid +30 temperatures in Montreal.  September brings with it changing colours, crisp temperatures, my birthday, fall fashion, and the best part, seasonal soups.  We don’t get tired of soups around here, we constantly whip up new creations and they’re usually meals on their own.  Tonight’s was so creamy and smooth, it was simply warming and delicious.  Butternut squash can be a bit of a pain to prepare for soup, so my favourite way to do it is by roasting it first.  Not only does it make the tough skin slip right off, but the roasting heightens the sweet and nutty flavours of the squash.  A nice added touch, also roasting the squash seeds and using them as a tasty garnish.

Roasted Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, sliced in half
  • 2 medium-sized onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus a pinch more for seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling

Directions:

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  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds using a spoon.  Rinse the seeds and remove as much pulp from them as you can then lay them out onto a baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over them along with a pinch of sea salt and ground cumin. Cook in oven for 5 minutes (careful not to burn them). Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Drizzle olive oil over squash and sweet potato, add a pinch of sea salt and pepper.  Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet.  The sweet potatoes can be laid out onto the same baking sheet.
  • Cook sweet potatoes for approx. 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Cook squash for approx. 50 minutes, or until fork tender.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.

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  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and ginger and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Now that the squash has cooled slightly, remove the peel, roughly cut the squash into large cubes and add into the pot along with the sweet potato.
  • Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, making sure the squash is tender.
  • Using a handheld blender, purée the soup.  Add coconut milk and stir.
  • Garnish with roasted squash seeds and serve.
  • Enjoy!

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