June 23, 2024

An Early Vegan Feast & How to Never Peel a Butternut Squash Again

Thanksgiving is approaching fast. My sister in law reminded me this weekend when she asked what we were planning to bring to the family feast. I hadn’t decided yet. Wait…I still haven’t decided!

On Sunday I was preparing to cook up a slew of recipes to freeze for the next few weeks. These “Sunday Cook-Offs” as I now refer to them, have proved to be quite handy when @isitvegan and I are busy working. The freeze ahead meal thing was something I didn’t think I could do, but I’m now a convert. I love it. I love the ease of healthy weeknight meals and always having lunches and going out to eat because we want to, not because I’m too tired to think about dinner.  I’ve been creating a list of good freeze ahead recipes and some notes on how to do one of these all day cooking adventures. That’s a post to come in a few weeks.

Today’s post is actually about the flavors of Thanksgiving. Everything I made yesterday was full of sage and thyme…and roasted squash and cranberry dressing. The end result was lots of warm cozy comfort food. Between the butternut squash, the sage breadcrumbs and the chickpea patties, I realized as I was packing things up for the freezer, that I had produced an entire Thanksgiving meal. Pictured here is a roasted butternut squash, green beans, chickpea patties (a la Veganomicon) and a vegan mac’n’cheese with sage crumb topping. And it wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving meal without a cranberry sauce.

The most amazing part of this plate for me was the squash. Please tell me you roast your butternut squash, right? Head and shoulders above peel, chop and boil, roasting is by far the best way to get all the sweet earthy flavors of a butternut squash. You also don’t have to load on the calories with oil, margarine and brown sugar. Here’s the story…

Preheat your oven to 400. Wash your whole squash well under running water and dry it (safety first!) With a large knife, trim the ends and slice it down the middle. Scoop out the seeds in the cavity and discard. Brush the cut sides of the squash lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and place cut side down on a baking sheet. (Feeling saucy? Throw 2 cloves of garlic in the squash cavity.)

Roast the squash for 45 minuets or so. Maybe an hour if you forget about it. (oops!)  When done, the skin will be wilted, brown and bumpy. Let it cool for a few and then scoop out the vibrant squash meat, savor the caramelized brown bits, and give thanks that you didn’t have to peel that sucker.

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