Butternut Squash Pilaf

Butternut Squash Pilaf is an amazing alternative to perhaps this years stuffing. It’s gluten free and loaded with lots of vegan protein and hey it’s delicious. I was able to make this dish for William Sonoma’s guest yesterday. I did a cooking demo on Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Side Dishes! It was a hit. I love to watch people reactions when they eat food they do not normally eat on a regular basis, especially a spice or herb. This pilaf has garam masala in it, a very popular spice in India. The awesome thing about this spice,  it has some of the same spices we use for our Thanksgiving holiday recipes, such as; cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander and black pepper. What’s different about garam masala, is the cardamom. We usually do not use that is everyday cooking, but now you can with this recipe. It is such an amazing spice. So, the moral of this story, try new spices in some of your everyday dishes.

This dish is super easy and will look beautiful on your Thanksgiving table this year. But first Remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Butternut Squash Pilaf
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Butternut Squash Pilaf

2  cups wild rice blend, gluten free

4 cups water

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed ½ inch

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp dried  NO SALT garlic herb seasoning

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp dried thyme

sea salt and white pepper, to taste. You can use black pepper if you like.

1 med. whole clove, peeled and dice

½ tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp garam masala

sea salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large sauce pan add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of wild rice blend. Cover with a tight fitted lid, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the butternut squash. Stir and add the seasonings, NO SALT garlic herb seasonings, cardamom, dried thyme, white pepper and sea salt. Stir and allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add diced garlic. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the squash has soften but not mushy. The cooking process should take 6-7 minutes.

Toast the nuts and seeds

In a sauté pan on medium heat, add your nuts and seeds. Season them with a 1 tsp of garam masala, sea salt and touch of honey. Toast them for about 1 minute, nuts and seeds can burn because they have a very high oil content.

ASSEMBLE

Add the wild rice to a large bowl. Add the squash and the toasted nuts, seeds and cranberries. Stir everything in the bowl gently, incorporating all the ingredients. Taste and see if you need to add more seasonings. Serve immediately.

 

 

Greens with Garlic Herb Sauteed Chick peas, Green Apples, and Vegan Cheese ( homemade)

This weekend was amazing! I renewed my vows to the love of my life, 20 years and counting. The house was bursting with cheer, family and friends all weekend. It was a blast! Honestly, we both felt this wedding was more exciting and very powerful than our first one. I guess that has to do with 20 years, of experiences, struggles, victories and so much wonderful growth in us both. Well, everyone is gone home. The cajun food, themed reception we had, with Mardi gras mask and all, are all put away and everything is eaten, accept a little jambalaya my husband and son has devoured.  Now back to my food and sharing Set the Table with Love recipes with you guys.  I love this salad, I made today,  because it is made with one of my favorite food brands, Go RAW foods. I used their watermelon seeds, that are loaded with 11 grams of vegan protein, to make my vegan cheese. I added some garlic herb seasonings to it and you have vegan cheese. The watermelon seeds made the cheese very buttery and nutty. It’s a winner, plus loaded with protein and only 4 grams of carbohydrates. YES!!!!

This recipe has 22 carbs and 20 grams vegan protein.  I ate the whole big bowl. Off to my walk.

Well here’s the recipes.

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Ingredients:

SALAD

2 cups chopped kale

1 cup romain, bibb, or any other leafy green, you prefer. I used Bibb lettuce.

Few leaves of your favorite herbs. I used cilantro, from the garden

1 large green apple, chopped

1/2 cup chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 tsp McCormick No Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning

VEGAN CHEESE:

2 tbsp Go Raw watermelon seeds

1 tbsp McCormick No Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning

1 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of sea salt

TIP: I added a few of my sautéed chick peas to the food processor to give it more flavor and depth. That will also increase the protein factor.

Directions: 

Wash, gently pat dry and mix the greens, apples and herbs in a large bowl. Set aside. In a sauté pan on medium heat, add enough olive oil to cover the pan, add in the chick peas and the seasoning. Stir. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the seasonings have browned just a little. Remove from heat. Allow the chick peas to cool, so they do not wilt the greens.

Add the watermelon seeds into a food processor. Process, until you get a small, fine crumbles. Add in the seasons, and gently pulse again, until the seasonings are incorporate into the seeds.

Assemble.  Add the cool chick peas ( with the sautéed spices) and vegan cheese mixture into the salad and gently toss.

Drizzle with a little lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!