Harissa Roasted Chickpea salad with acorn squash, mint and pumpkin seeds

This recipe is so delicious and full of exotic flavors, well at least I think so. LOL.

This salad will fill you up and give you tons of plant based vegan protein. You do not have to be a vegan to enjoy this salad. It’s important to incorporate more plant based foods in our diets, because it will help you look and feel better and it will give you tons of energy. I maybe help drop a few unwanted pounds. Who doesn’t want more energy and a few pounds out the way?  Me, me, me!!

I got something for you, in this simple to make salad. I hope you enjoy the flavors and how you feel later. Harissa maybe a new ingredient you are trying, so let me break it down for you.

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Roasted Harissa Chickpea Salad with acorn squash, mint, pumpkin seeds and micro greens

Harissa is a North African hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, saffron, rose or caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation.

This Harissa I used in this recipe is a powder form that I got form my local William Sonoma.

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Roasted Harissa Chickpea Salad with acorn squash, mint, pumpkin seeds and micro greens

For Chickpeas

1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, harissa seasoning or cayenne pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Set aside to cool.

For the Lentils

1 cup dry lentils

3 cups of  vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of  vegetable broth to 1 cup of dry lentils. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. For whole lentils, cook time is typically 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Vegetables

1 small acorn squash, chopped in to 1 inch slices

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 small red bell pepper, cut in slices, save a couple of slices to chop up to top the salad

1/4 cup  poblano peppers, chopped

1 cup red cabbages, sliced thinly

1/4 cup red onions, diced

6-8  mint leaves, small to medium

1 cup micro greens, or baby arugula

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

After the legumes are cooked and cooled, turn the stove on medium high heat, place a large saucepan on the stove. Add your oil allow to heat up, then add the acorn squash, red bell peppers and poblano peppers to the  pan. Season with salt and black pepper.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or  until the squash is golden brown, but not mushy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble:

In a salad bowl add the roasted chickpeas and lentils, gently toast together. Add the cooked vegetables and the raw cabbages, mint, red onions and the chopped raw red bell pepper. Top with micro greens and pumpkins. Squeeze some lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over top the salad with a pinch of sea salt and gently toss, incorporating all the ingredients.

Enjoy. This makes a large salad for 4-6 or a great meal for lunch and dinner for 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Roasting Acorn Squash 3 Ways

This week has been about entertaining friends and family. Last night my husband and I had dinner with some of our best friends we love dearly. It was such a bittersweet dinner together, because they will be moving soon to another state. I prepared our guest one of their favorite dishes, Jambalaya and for dessert Double Chocolate Chip Brownies. We laughed and talked almost till midnight.

This afternoon I had the privileged of having lunch with my old class mate. We have known each other since third grade. We have stayed in contact over the years, but have never had a chance to sit down and have lunch together. We had such a wonderful time building each other up and sharing memories. The last time we saw each other she came to my housewarming party and brought me a very nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I promised here I would not open it until we had lunch. Well we enjoyed it with our lunch, it went perfect with the recipes I am about to share with you.

I also received a bonus guest, one of my dear friends who has a gorgeous baby popped over as well. It was definitely an awesome afternoon. We all cooked together and enjoyed each others company.

So what did we make. Acorn Squash 3 ways. I bought an acorn squash this week and was wondering what to do with it.

Simple. Acorn Squash Soup, Roasted Acorn Squash and Apple Quinoa Risotto and  Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash seeds as a garnish and a healthy snack. Okay so here we go. I hope you enjoy these recipes.

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Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro
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Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro

 Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with  Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro
Acorn Squash and Apple Risotto with Roasted Acorn Squash Soup garnished with Roasted Autumn spiced Acorn Squash seeds with apples and cilantro

The Seeds

1/2 cups raw squash seeds, if the acorn is small to medium

1 3/4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp clove

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Gather seeds from squash and place in colander.  Rinse thoroughly in colander to remove any excess squash. Once clean, spread out in an even layer on a cookie sheet and allow to dry. Seeds can be patted dry, but roast much better when they are completely dry.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Toss dry squash seeds with seasonings and olive oil and place in a single layer onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until seeds are golden brown. Remove and place in a bowl.

The Soup

Ingredients
1 medium acorn sliced in half (through stem) and seeds removed

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped honey crisp apples ( garnish)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro ( garnish)

1 small clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 tbsp. organic honey

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

⅛ tsp. clove

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups almond milk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper. Place squash, cut-side-down, onto baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until flesh is tender and easily pierced. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Once cool, remove flesh from skin by using a spoon and scooping out the flesh. Discard skin and set flesh aside.
In a Vitamix, Ninja or Fast Speed Blender, add the squash, remaining seasonings, olive oil and 1 cup of the almond milk. Blend well until very smooth. If the soup is thick and it maybe add the other cup of almond milk. Blend and taste. If you need to add more seasonings this is the point to do it. Blend if you add more spices. I like to add the soup to a pot and let it heat up a little more for a few minutes. Add to bowls and garnish with the roasted seeds, cilantro and apples pieces. This soup is sweet so adding the seeds gave it more depth.

The Risotto

1 1/2 cups acorn squash, cubed

1 1/2 cup quinoa

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp. clove

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the quinoa to the pan. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Add in one cup of vegetable broth and stir for a minute or two until liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir.

When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the remaining cups of broth 1 cup at a time, stirring and simmering until each cup of liquid is absorbed before adding the next one.  During the third cup of broth you want to add the cubed acorn squash and allow it to cook and get tender.  Once the liquid is absorbed you want to add the fourth cup of broth, once it is absorbed, add in the fifth cup of broth and also add in the diced apples. During the fifth cup of broth you want to add all your spices, the sea salt and black pepper and stir. Allow the liquid to absorb. Drizzle a little olive oil over the risotto and gently stir. (The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes; you are looking for a quinoa that is al dente.  Taste and see if you need more sea salt or pepper.

I put my quinoa in little bowls and turn the bowl upside down onto a plate, this made a nice little presentation. I also took some of the seeds, diced apples and cilantro to garnish my plate. I drizzled it all with olive oil before serving. Enjoy!!!