RAW Vegan Nut Free Basil Pesto

My mama always taught me to use everything I have without waste. She also encouraged me to use it, in as many ways as you can think of. NO WASTE. She was the queen of taking a bag of potatoes and making it breakfast, lunch dinner and a snack and no one complained. My mama’s food was that incredible. Flavor and creativity was her gifts.

I went and bought a bag of GO RAW Sprouted Watermelon Seeds and I have had a field day with these nutritious little protein packed and not to mention delicious seeds. I must say, they do make a wonderful snack, but I think I channelled my mom because my mind starting racing. What else can I use this for? What about a pesto, the seeds can substitute for pine nuts. They have that same buttery, creamy texture as pine nuts, so why not?

This is a great alternative for people who have Nut Allergies. You can now have your basil pesto, without blowing up like a blow fish, or if you are like me, look like you got too much collagen injections in your lips. LOL. 🙂

Well here’s the recipe. I also added it on my RAW Squash Noodles, threw in some tomatoes and a touch of salt and pepper and you have Squash Noodles with Pesto. Oh yes one more thing, I topped it on my Watermelon Gazpacho. Delish!! 

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Ingredients~

4 cups basil
1 cup Go RAW Sprouted Watermelon Seeds
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions~
Place the garlic, basil and watermelon seeds in the food processor, and rustically chop.
Slowly add in the olive oil and blend until you achieve your desired consistency.
Then gradually add in salt. Spread on veggies, add to raw vegetable pasta, make it a base on pizza dough, or the base of a raw lettuce wrap. You will have plenty leftover, so enjoy. It keeps in the fridge 3 days.

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!!!

Roasted Maple Butternut Squash Soup ( Vegan)

I love this time of the year. FALL is upon us. I enjoy the bounty of this season. Fall brings us so many wonder vegetables like squashes, apples, pumpkins, parsnips, cabbages and so much more.  Well I found the most beautiful butternut squash and decided to make it two ways. A vegan Roasted Maple Butternut Squash soup and a Raw Butternut Squash and Red Cabbage Slaw. The bought were divine. This soup is so sweet, buttery and has a little kick. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Oh yes! Remember to Set the Table with Love

Ingredients

1 (2-3 lb) butternut squash, peeled and seeded

3 Tbsp olive oil ( 1 tbsp will be used for roasting)

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Roasted maple butternut squash soup
Roasted maple butternut squash soup

Directions

Peel and roughly dice squash, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over the squash, then roast for about 35 minutes or until squash is tender, not mushy.  This soup has lots of texture. Add roasted squash to a Ninja,Vitamix or high-powered blender, stir in maple syrup, all your spices, vegetable broth and add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Blend. You can add more vegetable broth, if you want a thinner soup.  If you need more seasoning add sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste. The soup should be still warm, but if it is not, add it to a pot and warm it up for a few minutes.  Bowl your soup and drizzle a little olive oil over the top before serving and as Chef Elliott Farmer said, add a few chives and it’s the bees knees. Lold. 😁

This makes about 6 small servings of soup.

Polenta with butternut squash veggie ragout

All day my son and I have been spending time cooking some creative dishes. He is out of school for Spring break so we get to have some fun in the kitchen. I love trying new things, so today I mixed butternut squash into my polenta recipe. It tasted delicious!  I also made an organic ragout. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

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Polenta with butternut squash with a veggie ragout

You will need:

Polenta:

1 1/2 cups of yellow corn grits

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of organic butternut squash ( frozen)

1/2  cup of 5 Italian Blend shredded cheese

Dash of black pepper, salt and garlic powder

Ragout

1 tbs of  olive oil

2 small zucchinis ( diced)

1 half of a med onion( chopped roughly)

1 med tomato (  deseeded and chopped size of the onions)

1/2 cup of smoked sundried tomatoes ( have that bacon taste)

2 garlic cloves ( chopped finely)

1/2 cup of dried porcini mushrooms

1/2  tsp of dried fennel seed

1/2 tsp of italian seasonings

1/2 tsp of sea salt

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

Dash of black pepper to taste. I like it a little spicy. 🙂

1/2 cup of water to keep ragout wet until veggies are tender ( I add water as needed, this is optional the tomatoes should give you enough water)

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Ragout

Sauté  onions and zucchini until transparent.

Add the the raw tomatoes and the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add all  your spices and stir all the veggies.

Bring everything to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the dish is done add the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes to rehydrate. Continue to cook.

Serve on top of the Polenta

Polenta

Bring water to a boil. Add Butternut Squash. Allow to cook for 10 minutes remove the squash and mash most of it up in a bowl. Leave some pieces whole it makes the polenta look pretty. Add squash back to water. Bring the water back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Pour in polenta steadily, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until polenta is thickened.  Add the cheese, black pepper, garlic and sea salt.  Stir throughly. It should come away from sides of the pan, and be able to support a spoon. Cooking time 20 to 30 minutes.

To plate with LOVE:

Put polenta in a nice plate or bowl.
Add the Ragout and top with some of the 5 italian cheese blend or some parmesan. Sprinkle some parsley flakes for garnish and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Oh yes one last thing. Set the table with LOVE.

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