Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

I’ve mentioned my love of squash before, so it’s no surprise that I always seem to have one sitting around waiting to be used in some recipe or another. This time it was an acorn squash, and I wanted to use it to make something fit for a Minnesota winter (usually pretty cold this time of year, but we’ve been experiencing  a warm streak), something warm and comforting, AKA soup.

 Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

Acorn Squash and Pecan Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans, drained and puréed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Mix the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and 1/4 tsp cumin together in a small bowl. Brush the squash halves with the mixture and set cut side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool. Meanwhile, place the pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Once the squash has cooled scoop it out into a blender or food processor. Add the pecans, vegetable broth, agave nectar, and remaining spices. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and stir in the puréed cannellini beans. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

Source: Adapted from Food 52

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked beans are not the healthiest thing ever, but they are delicious. Most canned baked beans have meat or meat products in them, and even the vegetarian variety are loaded with sodium. I wanted to make a vegan variety and found this relatively simple crockpot recipe. You can further reduce the sodium content by using reduced sodium broth in this recipe.

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked Beans 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans for a minimum of eight hours or overnight, according to package directions. When they’re done soaking, rinse and drain the beans and set them aside.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the beans and bay leaf to your crockpot. Mix together. Add the beans and bay leaf and stir.
  3. Cook for 8-10 hours on high or 12-14 hours on low, checking to make sure there’s enough liquid in the crockpot after a few hours. Once everything has come together and beans are as tender as you’d like, remove the bay leaf and serve.

These finished cooking fairly late at night so I didn’t get the chance to try more than just a bite or two until today. They’ve got a bit of a kick to them (though I’m kind of spicy-averse these days, so take that how you will) but they’re really good. You could add a touch of maple syrup to them if you’d like, to add some sweetness and/or combat the spiciness.

Source: Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

Butternut Linguine with Crispy Sage

I’m sticking to my (mostly) vegan diet, and also trying to incorporate dietary restrictions due to a somewhat recent rosacea diagnosis. I’m still trying to figure out what my food triggers (things that make my face flush/make my rosacea worse) are, but I’ve heard that tomatoes are one food that can make rosacea worse, and I’ve had mixed results when I’ve eaten tomato products. It’s a tricky disease to figure out.

Anywho, I’ve been avoiding most tomato products for some time, which means no pasta with red sauce (one of my favorite things!). I stumbled upon this pasta recipe a few days ago while searching for ways to use up the butternut squashes sitting on my counter. While it’s definitely different than a tomato-based sauce, it’s still delicious. And, now I want to put crispy sage ON EVERYTHING. So. Good.

Butternut Linguine with Crispy Sage

Butternut 1

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 to 4 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea salt and/or kosher salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 12 ounces whole grain linguine
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the sage and toss it around in the skillet so it’s coated with oil. Crisp it up, then remove from the pan and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Set aside for later.
  2. Add the squash, onion and garlic to the skillet. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is nice and soft, 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions, until it’s al dente. Drain the pasta.
  5. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from the heat and let cool a bit. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Keep the skillet handy because you’ll be using it in just a bit.
  6. Combine the pasta, squash purée, and ¼ cup water in the skillet and toss until the pasta is coated, adding more water as needed. You could also use almond milk for a creamier, nuttier pasta sauce.
  7. Top the pasta with the crispy sage before serving.

I can’t do spicy foods anymore, but if you want a bit more flavor feel free to add black pepper, cayenne, or whatever other spices suit your fancy.

This recipe makes A LOT of pasta. The original recipe says it yields four large servings but you could easily get six servings out of this (or more if you add a side like a nice spinach salad).

Source: Adapted from Cookie and Kate