October 5, 2013

My Favorite Fall Recipes with Winter Squash

It is fall here in New England and the colors are starting to show up. It is also the season of Pumpkins and Winter squashes. To me if there is one vegetable that you can associate with Fall, it is Pumpkins/Winter Squashes. I am compiling a few of my favorite winter squash recipes that I have been making this season. Some are new, while others have been tried and tested over a few years. I am a believer of seasonal local produce because nature is providing you the food it believes is good for the season. So when winter squashes are in season we eat plenty of them. And why not? Winter squash is a low-calorie vegetable, while also a good source of complex vegetable carbohydrates and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. Guys' Eco farm has been a blessing for us with an abundant supply of freshly picked organic squashes this season. All these recipes have one kind of squash as the main ingredient, along with other wholesome ingredients, and they are all quick'n'healthy  :)

Honey nut squash breakfast porridge:

I could not imagine pumpkin or squash in a breakfast porridge initially, and then I saw a few recipes around which made me give it a go, especially since it is good to have those complex carbohydrates in the morning. Many recipes on the web call for canned pumpkin puree, but since I avoid anything canned, I decided to use fresh squash instead. More so as I live in an area where we get this in abundance locally. I would also recommend making this with sugar pumpkins

  • Honey nut squash - 2 small-medium
  • Mix of raw almonds/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds - 1/2 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Nutmeg -1/4 tsp (freshly grated)
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Himalayan salt - a pinch
  • Coconut palm sugar - 1-2 Tbs
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Raisins - handful (optional for topping)
  • Some fresh fruits chopped - (optional for topping)

  • Wash and skin the squash. make 1 inch slices and lay on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes in your toaster oven.
  • Blend the soaked almonds with a cup of water, to make a thick almond milk.
  • Add roasted squash and sugar to the almond milk and blend till nice and creamy.
  • Transfer to a saucepan, add the spices and warm it a little bit.
  • Top with coconut, raisins and fruits.

Honey nut squash Halwa
This is a quick'n'easy dessert inspired from the Indian dessert 'Carrot Halwa' and can be made under 10 minutes. So on one of those fall evenings when you feel like having a warm dessert that does not compromise on your healthy regime, go ahead and try this :-) 

  • Honey nut squash - 1 medium
  • Raw almonds - 1/4 cup
  • Coconut palm sugar - 2 Tbs
  • Nutmeg - a generous pinch- freshly grated
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp

      • Wash and skin the squash. Remove the seeds and grate.
      • Powder almonds coarsely in a dry blender, or coffee/spice grinder. You just need almond meal consistency.
      • In a shallow pan, start cooking on medium heat stirring constantly.
      • When the squash is soft and tender in about 5-6 minutes, add coconut sugar, and spices and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes more.
      • Serve warm :)

      Butternut squash tomato soup: 
      This is kind of transition from summer to fall, when there is an abundance of tomatoes as well as fall squashes. This pureed soup is perfect for a fall evening when you are not in a mood to cook an elaborate dinner. Just whip this up in no time to sit, relax and enjoy :-)

      • Butternut squash - 1 medium
      • Tomatoes  - 5-6 medium
      • garlic - 2-3 cloves
      • bay leaves - 2
      • black pepper corns - 1 tsp (adjust as per your spice level)
      • Sea salt - as per taste

      • Wash and skin the squash. Cut into rough chunks (if the squash is tender, you don't need to discard the seeds and core)
      • Wash and slit the tomatoes into halves.
      • Heat a soup pot or a deep sauce pan on medium heat, add a drizzle of virgin coconut oil and roast garlic.
      • Add bay leaves, pepper corns and sauté for a few seconds.
      • Add tomatoes, squash and 3 cups of water and bring to boil.
      • Simmer on medium heat till squash is just cooked enough.
      • remove the bay leaves and puree the soup in batches.
      • Return to the soup pot to warm.
      • Add salt and serve warm.

      Butternut Squash Chapatis: 
      Chapati is a staple in most Indian households.There are plain chapatis (rotis) and stuffed chapatis (parathas). Then there is another kind where you replace some of the flour with another kind of better carbohydrate. That is what I have tried here by replacing some wheat flour with squash, giving you a delicious and healthier version of the chapati.

      • Butternut Squash - 1 cup (cubed) 
      • Whole wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups + extra if needed for kneading and/or rolling
      • Water - enough to make dough (about 1/4 cup or less)
      • Omam/Ajwain (carom seeds) - 1/4 tsp
      • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
      • Sea salt - as per taste

      • Puree the squash using blender or food processor.
      • Grind the spices using a coffee grinder.
      • Mix wheat flour, salt and spices in a bowl and add squash puree and start making a dough adding just enough water needed to form the dough.
      • Knead the dough for 5 minutes and keep aside covered for about 30 minutes or more.
      • Divide into balls and roll into 6 inch circles and make chapatis.

      Honey Nut Squash Buckwheat Crepe:

      One more for the breakfast menu :-). Once you master the art of crepe making and get the right consistency of batter, this will become such a quick and easy breakfast. 

      • Honey nut squash - 1 small-medium
      • Buckwheat groats - 1 1/2 cups
      • Apple cider vinegar - 1 Tbsn
      • Sea salt - as per taste 

      • Soak the buckwheat in about 1/2 cup of water and apple cider vinegar for about 30 minutes
      • Wash, skin and cut the squash into cubes.
      • Add soaked buckwheat along with soaking liquid into blender jar. Add squash and salt and blend till you get a smooth batter.
      • Add extra water if needed. You can try making one crepe to see if you have the right consistency. You should be able to pour the batter and tilt the griddle around to spread the batter to a circle.
      • This makes about 12 crepes.  Serve with homemade Nutella spread and sliced banana. Enjoy :)

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