Tag Archives: meatless monday

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Quinoa + Pecans

23 Jun

I’m having so much fun trying meatless dishes once a week!!  This week, I made something that tastes a little out of place for the hot months of summer.  Butternut squash was calling my name at the store and I had to answer the calling. 🙂  File this one away for fall – it would make an awesome holiday side dish or a tasty option for meat-free guests.

Twice-Baked-Butternut-Squash-Quinoa-Pecans-Meatless-Monday



Twice Baked Butternut Squash w/ Quinoa & Pecans (original recipe by Inquiring Chef)

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/3 c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 t. chicken stock (or veg stock if meat-free)
  • 1/3 c. pecan halves, chopped roughly
  • 2 t. olive oil
  •  1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 c. panko
  •  3 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. + 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

The first step is go roast the squash.  To do this, you cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (just like seeding a pumpkin!).  Place the squash skin-side down on a baking sheet, then sprinkle the squash’s flesh with salt and pepper.  Add about 1/4 inch of water to the pan.  Cover it tightly with tin foil and bake it for 50 minutes at 450*F. butternut-squash

Meanwhile, bring your stock of choice to a boil and then add the quinoa.  Cover, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow quinoa to cook about 15 minutes.  Then, remove it from the heat until the remaining liquid is absorbed. Also,  heat 1 t. of olive oil in a small pan and saute the shallot until browned.  Set aside.  Finally, toast the pecan pieces in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Mine didn’t take quite that long – when they are nice and fragrant, they are ready!  Set those aside as well. toasted-pecans

Once the squash is finished (Stab it with a fork.  If it’s tender, it’s done.  If not, put it back in until it’s done.), spoon out the butternut squash and reduce the oven to 400*F.  It will be a pureed texture.  Mix it with the quinoa, pecans, shallots, 2 T. of Parmesan cheese, some salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Quinoa-Pecan-Mixture

mixture before squash!

Spoon the mixture back into the squash skin – which is now just a boat for your delicious filling!

Combine the panko, 2 T. Parmesan, and melted butter, then sprinkle on top of the quinoa mixture.  Put the squash back into the oven at 400*F for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are nicely browned.  Simple as that!

Stuffed Portabello Sandwiches w/ Caramelized Onions + Arugula

17 Jun

Meatless-Monday-1-Stuffed-Portabello-Sandwiches-Caramelized-Onion-Arugula



I am really excited to get on the Meatless Monday bandwagon!  I initially picked this recipe because I thought it would be an easy, weeknight dinner for me.  I underestimated the fact that I don’t have a grill.  You don’t need a grill – at all actually – but the original recipe is a bit more streamlined than the process that I went through so I was under prepared when I started.  Everything is sort of prepared separately and then assembled at the end – just focus on getting the elements right and not about timing.


A Quick Roasted Pepper Tutorial!

Before we get started, let’s talk about roasted red peppers!  For years, when a recipe called for roasted red peppers I assumed I had to go to the store and buy the ones that come in a glass jar and are covered in marinade/oil/whatever.  It’s so friggin’ easy to roast your own peppers that it makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often!  Here is a step-by-step tutorial I made to show you how to make your own roasted peppers using a gas broiler.

Ta da!

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Broiler

Really.  Wash your pepper and then shove it  near the broiler flame.  I rotated mine every 6 minutes – the pepper will first start to sweat and then the skin will turn black and get crispy.  That’s what we want!  We are going to take the skin off, so we really need to make sure the pepper is roasted half to Hades.  (You could do this on your gas range as well, just wrap the pepper in tin foil first and set the flame on med-low.  The pepper sweats excessively so…be prepared for a big sloppy mess if you go this route!  That’s why I went with the broiler.) Mine looked like this when it was done: Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Steamed

Then, we need to steam the pepper so that we can take the skin off and get the seeds/stem out.  So, just cover the pepper with a bowl and let it sit for 15minutes.

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Steaming

See it’s not that intimidating!  When it’s done, it will look deflated like this:

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-After-Steaming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 15 minutes, cut down one side of the pepper.  The stem should basically fall right out and the pepper will open up.  Remove the seeds and then flip it over and remove the skin.  You can just use your fingers if you want to!

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Skin-Before Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Skin-After

Easy peasy.  Then just slice them up to suit your needs.  If you are going to save them and use them for another day, put them in a glass or stainless steel container and pour a bit of olive oil over them.  If you are going to be making a large batch of these, you can also roast peppers in the oven on a sheet pan.

You can pin this tutorial by clicking here:


Like I said before, you can complete all of the ingredients at the same time.  So while the pepper was in the broiler, carmelize half an onion (this takes about 25 minutes) with a splash of balsamic and about a T. of brown sugar.

Carmelized-Onions

Also, drizzle 2 portabellos with olive oil, salt, and pepper put them in the oven at 425*F for 20 minutes. Roasted-Portabellos

If things are coming up at different times – that is fine.  If things start to cool, don’t freak out.  Once we assemble everything, it gets reheated again. 🙂  When the bellas are done, lower the temp of the oven to about 300*F, and rub the bread with the slightest bit of olive oil.  I put it in immediately before the oven had properly cooled because I used ciabatta which is a bit thicker than normal bread.  You could even skip the oil/oven and use the toaster depending on your bread preference. While the bread is toasting, it’s time for the rest of the sammie to come together!  You’re basically creating a stuffed portabello, so start with a mushroom gill side up.  Add as many of your roasted peppers as you’d like, a slice of Mozzarella cheese, and then top it with the 2nd portabello gill side down.  Since my bread was in the oven, I popped this under the broiler until the cheese melts. Stuffed-Portabello-Meatless-Monday

When the bread is toasted to your liking, add the mushroom to the bread and top with the caramelized onions.  I added a TON more arugula after I took this picture – I can’t get enough!

 Meatless-Monday-1-Stuffed-Portabello-Sandwiches-Caramelized-Onion-Arugula

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

6 Nov

So, do you want the bad news or the good news first?

The bad news is that Italian home-style cooking would not be considered very clean eating.  Lasagna is typically a heavy, carb (40g!!!) and calorie (upwards of 900!!!) dense meal that I basically only enjoy through osmosis.  (The osmosis of licking a picture on the Olive Garden menu – I swear I gain 5 lbs. just looking at it.)  So, yeah.

The good news is, this recipe is a much lighter version of a traditional lasagna.  In fact, based on my calculations this recipe is around 400 calories a serving, but 47 g of carbs.  So while it’s still a carb dense meal and certainly not what I would consider clean, the calories make it a much more reasonable “not so clean day” option.

The cool thing about lasagnas are that you can kind of do your own thing with the filling – whatever you are in the mood for or whatever you have on hand works.  I’ve also made a Ham, Spinach, & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Up here before. This particular recipe is an oldie but a goodie, with infinite variations.  The original post had HORRIBLE pictures, taken when I was cooking by lamplight (Yes, I had a table lamp on my stove and that was the only light in the kitchen!), so I thought it could use a good update.

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • lasagna noodles (NOT the oven-ready kind)
  • 8 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or fresh, wilted)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms of your choice, sliced thin
  • 15 oz. part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • pasta sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • shredded mozzarella or Parmesean

Cook the lasagna noodles al dente (10 min) and then spread them out to cool slightly.  I used a kitchen towel and paper towels for this:

LW.Noodles

While all that jazz is happening, you can make the stuffings.  Brown the mushrooms in 1 T. olive oil.  Salt & pepper them, then add in half a cup of pasta sauce.  Simmer for about 2 minutes and then set aside.

LW.Mushrooms

Also, mix together the spinach, ricotta, egg, and a little more salt and pepper.

LW.RicottaSpinach

Pretty easy so far, right?

Once the noodles are soft enough for you to work with, place about 2 T. of the ricotta mixture on each noodle, then top with 1-1/2 T. of the mushroom mixture.

LW.Rolling

Then, just roll them up!  I put mine in a casserole dish that has a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking.

LW.Before

You could do a few things here:  Put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook, probably freeze, or top with sauce and cheese and bake those em-effers at 375F.

I clearly chose the em-effers option.  We don’t like a lot of sauce with our pasta in this house, but have at it (just remember that jarred pasta sauce is super high in sugar!) with your favorite sauce and cheese of choice.  I just barely sprinkled some Mozzarella on ours because the ricotta is cheesy enough!  Cover the casserole dish(es) loosely in tin foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375F.  Then, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

LW.Final

As you can tell, its really easy to keep your portions (2-3 roll ups) under control with this recipe because you scoop out one roll-up at a time.  I made the whole box of pasta (17 roll-ups) because we are in dire need of lunch options at our house, so we will be eating leftovers for days!

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