I am a huge fan of Taco Tuesdays. No joke! I try my best to make sure that I have a yummy and unique recipe to concoct each week, during our taco Tuesdays. Sometimes, I have cravings for the classics, such as tacos with carnitas, chicken, or fish. Other times, I want something a little different inside of my corn tortilla. Guess what? If you don’t know me by now, you should know that I am definitely a fan of unique delicacies.
You Butternut Doubt It!
This particular recipe contains an ingredient many of you already admire: Butternut squash. But wait! Before you begin to twitch your eyes and smirk with disgust, please stick with me! Butternut squash makes a really delicious filling. In addition, this yummy gourd is a power house in nutrients. One serving of butternut squash contains over 100 percent of your daily value in vitamin A, approximately 40 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement, approximately 18 percent of your daily potassium requirement, and around 15 percent of daily requirement of Magnesium ¹.
I’ll admit that I’m not the first, nor the last person on this planet to come up with a butternut squash taco recipe. However, I am proud of my version. For this recipe, I coat my squash with a tasty, aromatic seasoning, and then roast the squash, along with a clove of garlic. The roasted garlic really enhances and compliments the sweet and nuttiness of the squash, and cumin-the recipe’s main seasoning. Afterwards, I top this with some deliciously cool avocado. One of the best parts about this dish is that all of the ingredients can be roasted in one pan. Hello, convenience!
For those of you scratching your heads, yes! This butternut squash taco recipe is also vegan, and contained squash locally sourced from my friends over at Steed Farm.
Alright, I’ve spent enough time rambling about this yummy dish. Let’s move onto the recipe now, shall we??
These butternut squash tacos are a deliciously decadent way toenjoy during your next #TacoTuesday!
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Tex-mex
Keyword: vegan, vegetarian
½tsp.red chili powder (to your heat preference)
1tsp.cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Carefully cut squash into 4-5 large sections,and de-seed. Then with a paring knife, gently cut away outer skin layer. Afterwards,dice each chunk into 1” pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all of the seasoningsuntil well mixed. Afterwards add squash and gently incorporate the cooking oil.Gently stir everything until each squash cube is well coated. Place in largecookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, and flip halfway. Make sure toreserve at least 1/3 of the space in the pan.
While the squash is roasting, slice the onionand bell pepper into ¼” slices, add to the same sheet the squash and garlic areroasting in, and place in the oven to roast for the last 25 minutes of thesquash roasting time.
Take everything out, and gently cut and mixthe smashed roasted garlic puree into the squash chunks.
(Optional) Add to your tortilla of choice andserve with avocado .
Nutrition Information per serving (without tortillas or avocado)
In case any of you weren’t aware…I love food. All types! But I’ve got to admit, nothing makes me happier than a warm serving of comfort food.
Here in Central Florida, we have been experiencing a “Winter” all weekend, with temperatures dipping down to the ‘40s (Fahrenheit)! Yes northerners, laugh all you want. But don’t come complaining to me, once you decide to move down here, and then eventually complain about our frigid 40 degree weather!!!
As many of you know, my husband and I try to eat as locally and seasonally as we can. Luckily, we have had some great produce shares from Steed Farm, our local Community-Supported Agricultural system (also known as CSAs). Among this week’s most recent share of seasonal goodies, we received a very large, 5 pound choctaw squash. Now-I know what you’re thinking. The recipe that I’m about to provide is for butternut squash, yet I used a different variety. Choctaws taste almost exactly like butternut squashes, and are very close cousins. If you do not have access to butternut squash in your area, please feel free to opt for choctaw-vice/versa. Trust me when I say that once I saw that beautiful squash, my taste buds became very happy.
After trying to figure out how I was going to prepare this lovely fruit, an ‘A-ha!’ moment came: Why not transform this into a delicious comfort pasta dish? And so I did.
Folks, I would like to present you with this creamy butternut squash rotini recipe. This dish specifically calls for rotini pasta, as it holds its shape and does nicely with absorbing the creamy butternut puree. While you can technically opt for whatever type of pasta you’d like, I went for pasta enriched with protein. Because the squash (and garlic!) are roasted, this recipe takes slightly over an hour to prepare. But please trust me, it’s well worth your time. While the squash and garlic are roasting, you can even do other things, such as yoga, walking, reading, or catching up on Netflix 😉 -You do you! The moment your fork digs into the rotini which later lands onto the tip of your tongue, your taste buds will feel like you gave them one of the creamiest and most delicious bites of comfort food heaven, ever.
Did I also mention that this specific recipe is vegan and dairy-free? Well, in case I haven’t, now you know!
I can practically hear your stomach grumbling form here…so let’s move onto the recipe, shall we??
This roasted creamy butternut squash rotini pasta dish is warm, creamy, garlicky, delicious, and oh-so-nice!
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pasta, vegan, vegetarian
½cupunsweetened almond milk
3tbsp.extra virgin olive oil
1tsp.cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whileoven is preheating, carefully cut the squash in half, remove the seeded coreand then cut each of the half pieces, until the squash has been cut into largequarters. Take 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, to lightly grease the bottom ofa large sheet.
Take the remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil andgently lather each quarter and place into the tray, skin side up. Place thegarlic bulb into the same tray. Allow to bake for 50-60 minutes, until the skinof each piece can be gently pierced with a fork. Allow to cool down for about 5 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of roasting time,begin to boil a large pot of water. Once water is at a rolling boiling point,lower heat to medium-high, place pasta into water, and allow to cook for 7-9minutes until al-dente. Drain, and then place back into lot, with a cover. Setaside.
Once squash has cooled down, gently scoopsoftened squash and garlic, and place into a large food processor. Gently addin the almond milk, salt, pepper, and remaining spices. Puree the mixture for1-2 minutes until the blend has turned into a thick liquid consistency.
Once the puree has been created, gently mix intothe pasta until well-combined.
These curried chickpea collard wraps serve as a delicious way to eat a savory curried dish-on the go!
A while back, I went to my fridge, and was trying to figure out what to do with all of the borderline produce that was about to go bad. After scratching my head, I thought ‘Why not make a curry??’
So I did. If you have not caught on, Curried anything is one of my favorite ways to eat my food. Ther’s something about that combination of spices and creamy consistency you get when you ingest that morsel of goodness.
Back to my story.
I decided to make a curry with some leftover veggies, and added chickpeas for their protein and delicious flavor. I wanted to take it up one step and turn my curried medley into wraps. I realized that I had some leftover collards, so I decided to use the collards as the wrap vessels. Doing so gave this a nice, lower carb bite with a hearty dose of vitamin K. While many boast using lettuce as wraps, I really think that using collards is the way to go. The leaves are large, pliable, and can easily fit a decent amount of food. You just have to make sure that the collards are blanched, and I will guide you through that step in the recipe.
I used a vegan mayo to make this recipe completely plant-based, but you can use whatever type of mayo you want! Don’t have access to dates?? Sub dates for 1 small pear or apple, and that will taste just as mouth-watering!
If you are looking for a simple and delicious way to enjoy chickpeas (and your veggies!), I highly recommend that you give this delicious curried chickpea collard wraps recipe a try. So let’s move onto the recipe!
These Curried Chickpea Collard Wraps are a delicious way to eat a savory curried dish-on the go!
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: gluten-free, vegan
32oz.can of chickpeasdrained
4collard green leaveslarge
Prepping collard leaves-Allow large pot of water to boil. While boiling water, afterrinsing collards, gently remove stalks from center of collard leaves. Oncewater is at a rolling boil, gently place collard leaves and Blanche for 30seconds. Immediately remove, place in ice cold water for 25-30 minutes, oruntil collard leaves have softened. Pat down with clean towel, and set aside.
Finelydice the onion and carrot until there are 1/4” cubes. Set aside
Take askillet and preheat and add the cooking oil to the skillet.
Oncethe skillet is warm enough, add all of the ingredients (except mayonnaise andchickpeas) together, and sauté on medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes,until the carrot/onion mixture has some light golden brown charring. Add thechickpeas during the last 4 minutes of the sautéing.
Once the chickpea mixture has finished sautéing, turn off skillet & remove fromheat. After cooling off for about 2 minutes, add in the veganaise, and mixwell. Serve over your favorite type of bread (or wrap/ or leafy green wrap!)and enjoy!!
Nutritional information per serving (without bread):
WARNING: These zucchini fritters are extremely addictive.
This year, my husband and I decided to become members of a local CSA (Community-Supported Agricultural system), and decided to become members of Steed Farm, the local CSA in our hometown. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a CSA is a system where the consumer has the opportunity to subscribe to the local harvest of a local farm or collective of farms (Click here if you’re interested in seeing my CSA video-its good stuff!).
I recently received my first share of produce, which was super exciting. No joke…we probably came home with about 7 pounds worth of produce. Among all of the goodies I received, I had two very large and hefty zucchini fruits. After trying to figure out how I was going to prepare them, I had an ‘A-ha!’ moment: Why not turn them into fritters?!?! I had most of the ingredients, to do so.
The Moment of Truth
After experimenting with this dish three different times, and modifying each of the ingredient quantities, I am proud to announce that I finally came up with a recipe that I am super proud of. Folks, I present you with my very tasty zucchini fritters. These fritters contain feta cheese, which naturally gives these the salt and amount of zing these babies need. If you don’t want to fry them, no worries! I included a step which shows you how to bake ‘em. These fritters are pretty low in carbs, which is why I opted for Almond flour in my recipe. But you can use whatever other type of flour you’d like! The flour ratio should still be the same.
A couple disclaimers before I proceed:
The quality of the skillet you use matters (take it from me). If you opt for frying, these fritters are prone to sticking on the bottom of the skillet and WILL crumble a part if you do not make sure that you do not have a non-stick surface.
WARNING: These fritters are addictive. Even though they are low in carbs (per serving), you may wind up wanting to eat the whole batch. Just a heads up…
WARNING: These zucchini fritters are extremely addictive.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword: low-carb, vegetarian
1tbsp.crushed red pepper flakes
Finely dice onion into ¼" cubes, and set aside.
Coarsely chop zucchini into 1” Cubes, separate them into three batches. Place each batchinto a food processor and pulse for about three seconds, two-three times, untilthe zucchini pieces are roughly ¼” in size. Repeat this step for each batch.
After all of the zucchini has been pulsed, take a cheese cloth, and squeeze as muchof the water out of the zucchini chunks, until almost all of the liquid has drained out. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl, except the oil. Gently stir untileverything looks evenly mixed.
Cookyour zucchini fritters using one of two methods:
Frying:Heat your large skillet to medium heat, and add the cooking oil. While theskillet is heating, take your batter, and create balls which are about one-one anda half inches in diameter. Creating the mini patties is best to use with atablespoon. Gently drop each medallion-sized patty into the skillet, and allowto fry on each side for about 2 minutes on each side (no more than three minutes),until each side is golden browned. Try not to fry more than five patties at atime. Repeat until all pieces are cooked.
Baking:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once oven has pre-heated, lightly grease a largebaking sheet, and form mini patties the size of 1-1.5 inch medallions. Bakefritters for about 25-30 minutes, until the fritters have golden browned.
Enjoy your zucchini fritters with some marinara sauce, or sour cream!
Nutritional Information per serving (serving size- 4 fritters):
This dish is fun, delicious, and a definite crowd-pleaser. I hope you enjoy creating (and eating) this as much as I do! 🙂
For those of you who may not know, my family comes from Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Therefore, I am what you call a ‘Dominirican’. Both nations often intersected my household, through the collaborative sounds of salsa, bachata, and merengue filling the living room crevices. It was never a true Saturday, unless our Dominican Hair Stylist was playing an episode of Sabado Gigante on her large screen television. Family gatherings often consisted of dancing, and some fiercely competitive matches of Domino.
One of the joys of being a Dominirican is the rich and delicious array of cuisine our countries have to offer: We always enjoyed some crispy & flaky empanadas filled with piping hot goodness. Yucca served with ajo (garlic) was always a delight. A party was never reallya party (fiesta), unless a giant calderon (rice pot) of arroz con gandules (seasoned rice with pigeon peas) was served.
One of my favorite dishes is what is known as platano relleno, also known as stuffed plantains, in English. Stuffed plantains usually came in the form of a few iterations. One version of platano relleno is known as mofongo, a Puerto Rican delicacy that uses deep-fried green plantain. The version of this particular recipe uses platano maduro, ripened plantain. While unripened green plantain has a more savory, bread-like flavor and firm consistency, platano maduro is much softer, and sweeter in flavor. Ripened maduros form black spots-don’t be intimidated by that, at all!
This version of platano relleno is made with a very Funky Spork twist. To add additional mass with a lower carb intake, I incorporate cauliflower into this recipe. While most traditional recipes call for ground beef, this version is vegetarian (and with the utilization of textured vegetable protein in place of the Morning Star griller crumbles, this version can be veganized, as well!). To top things off, this baby gets baked, instead of deep fried-reducing both calories and fat!
This dish is fun, delicious, and a definite crowd-pleaser. I hope you enjoy creating (and eating) this as much as I do! 🙂
·4 ripe plantains
·1 small head of cauliflower
·12 oz. Morning star griller crumbles/ pre-soaked textured vegetable protein
·1 small yellow onion
·2 large peppers or four small peppers
·1 tsp. adobo seasoning
·4 cloves garlic/ ¼ tsp. garlic powder
·2 tbsp. tomato paste
·2 tbsp. Cooking oil
1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, preheat medium-large pot and allow water to boil. While water begins to heat, coarsely chop the cauliflower head. Once water begins boiling, gently place diced pieces into boiling water and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender with the touch of a fork. Drain and set aside.
2.While waiting for the water to boil, coarsely chop the onion, and pepper until each piece is about ¼ inches in size. Afterwards, finely mince the garlic cloves until they form into very fine pieces, less than the size of corn kernels, but no smaller than the size of a grain of uncooked rice. Add to onion mixture, and then set aside.
3.Take a wok or large skillet and add the cooking oil and let it heat up on medium-high for about 45 seconds. To test heat, add one piece of onion. If you see that it starts to bubble around the edge, it’s time to add in the garlic mixture. Sautee in the wok for about 1½ minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant and becomes slightly more translucent. Gradually add and sir in the chopped onion and bell pepper mixture. Cover the mixture and let it steam for about two minutes, or until the onion begins to turn slightly translucent.
4.Lift the lid from the sautéed onion, pepper, and garlic mixture and stir several times for about a minute, and let the veggies cook covered for about three minutes. During the last two minutes, gradually add in the plant-based meat crumbles and tomato paste, and liberally sprinkle in the adobo seasoning during this point. Once finished cooking, set aside.
5.Un-peel the plantains and then slice them up. Afterwards, add cauliflower mixture and the diced plantain into a bowl, and mash the mixture until smooth, where most of clumps have disintegrated.
6.Take a large flat baking sheet, and either grease the bottom or use parchment paper. Then split the plantain mixture into five sections, and take half of each section and form a flat 3 inch diameter patty. Afterwards, scoop 2-3 tbsp. of the protein mixture on top towards the center of each plantain patty. After forming and topping five patties, you will take the remaining five sections of the patty mixture and gently spoon over the entire protein mixture and patty, until they form turn into mounds: the stuffed plantains.
7.Place the stuffed plantains in the oven to cook for 30 minutes, then allow them to broil on high for about 1-3 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown on top. Enjoy with friends [or by yourself!]!
One of my amazing girlfriends’s recently had me over for a ‘girl’s night in’, a couple Friday nights ago. It was one of the best times that I have had in a while. There was so much laughing, joking, dancing, and eating. More than that, we shared a beautiful moment of bonding. With the hustle and bustle of life, it can be really hard to for me to see my friends on a regular basis. So that particular night was really a sacred time and space for us ladies to let our hair loose, and have a good time!
Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
One of the highlights of our girl’s night in was getting to eat some damn good homemade Puerto Rican ‘street’ food. I wanted to show my friends how to make a classic Puerto Rican dish, called Jibaritos. Jibaritos (Hee-ba-ree-toes) is a Puerto Rican-style sandwich that uses tostones (fried green plantains) as the bread. Typical Jibaritos are simple, and traditionally contain skirt or flank steak, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, and a ketchup-mayonnaise sauce (referred to known as ketcho-mayo).
Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
Since going plant-based, I showed my friends how to make these sandwiches with a healthy, vegan twist. Instead of steak, I used Lions Mane mushroom, and substituted ketcho-mayo with a garlic guacamole. To cut out on unnecessary fat and calories, I opted for baking my tostones, as opposed to frying them. And I must say that my remixed version of the Jibaritos sandwich was a delicious success!
You may be wondering what the heck Lions Mushrooms are. A good friend of mine who is launching a local gourmet mushroom farm gifted me with a couple pounds to try out for my recipes. When raw, they almost resemble miniature white fuzz balls (see photo below).
Fuzzy Lions Mane Mushrooms (left), green plantains (right). Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
When sliced and cooked, these fuzz balls have a resemblance akin to dark meat chicken, and emit a beautiful caramelized color and robust meaty flavor when cooked. Far from unpleasant, these delicious mushrooms make a great alternative for any recipe which calls for the use of sautéed chicken or pork (see pic, below).
Mouth-watering cooked Lions Mane mushrooms. Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are not as common to find around, so if you don’t find any available nearby, you can always opt for fresh oyster mushrooms, which have a relatively similar flavor and will work just as well! If for SOME reason you cannot find oyster mushrooms, you can always use sliced portabella mushrooms. Just keep in mind that they won’t have the fibrous meaty-texture like the Lion’s Mane or oysters do. But the flavor will still be tasty!
Before I move onto the recipe, itself, I wanted to share a couple words of wisdom. Folks, no matter how busy your life schedule gets, please do yourselves a favor, and never forget to regularly carve time out to spend with your friends. Be intentional about cultivating the relationships you have with those around. Be purposeful in surrounding yourself with individuals who will uplift, inspire, challenge, motivate and accept you for YOU! We can either choose to allow the relationships around us lift us up, or tear us down. Make every moment and relationship count.
Photo courtesy Victoria Saunders
Photo Courtesy Victoria Saunders
Two large green plantains
Approximately 16 oz of fresh Lions Mane or Oyster mushrooms
Two ripe hass avocados
3 large garlic cloves
4 tbsp cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
1 small red onion
2 tsp adobo seasoning
½ tsp salt
1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
1 sliced tomato (optional)
2 tbsp ketchup (optional)
2 tbsp veganaise (optional)
Recommended Kitchen appliances:
1-8.5”x10” baking tray
1 tostonera (plantain smasher), or a plate flat enough for smashing
1 skillet (minimum 10” diameter)
1 set of tongs
1 medium bowl
1 large fork or smasher
1 sharp cutting knife (one you like to use for chopping produce)
1 cutting board
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is pre-heating, take each of the green plantains and with your knife, slice off both ends of each plantain, and gently slice open the peel, lengthwise on each side. The skin peel is about 1/8”- 1/4” deep, so at this point, be able to have sliced the peel open and can take each plantain out of their tough exterior skin (images below).
Photo Courtesy WikiHow.com
2. Take each plantain and split them directly in half. Then, take each half and carefully slice down the middle, until you get two halves from each piece. Those will serve as the ‘bread’ for your sandwiches (image of slices, below).
Photo Courtesy Carribbeanpot.com
3. Take two tablespoons of the cooking oil and gently massage each of the plantain halves with the oil until they are well-coasted. Take your baking tray, and line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Once the plantains are coated, line them individually on the parchment paper and let them bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. While the plantains are baking, this serves as a good opportunity to begin preparing your onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Take each garlic clove place each clove on the cutting board. Gently place your knife over the garlic clove with the blade resting parallel to the garlic clove (away from you), ball your fist, and smash the knife. Doing so breaks each clove down, while also cracking open the skin. Repeat until all the cloves have been mashed and skin completely unpeeled. Set the garlic aside.
5. Take your onion, and slice into approximately ¼” thick slices. Set aside.
6. Take your mushrooms and cut into ½” slices. If you are slicing the Lion’s Mane, slice with the grain. Set aside.
7. Take your plantains out of the oven and either place them on the cutting board or another flat surface. Take your tostonero or plate and gently smash each of the tostones until they are about ¼” thick. Place each of the smashed plantain pieces back into the tray and take the salt and season them during this time. Place tray back into the oven and allow them to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
8. While the tostones are baking the second time, heat your skillet on medium-high. Place the remaining two tablespoons of your cooking oil into the skillet. Place 1 ½ of the mashed garlic cloves into the skillet and allow them to sauté for one minute, until the smell becomes fragrant. Gradually add the mushrooms into the skillet by gently placing them down flat-wise with the tongs. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with half of the adobo seasoning and then place the sliced onions around and on top of each mushroom. Let the mushrooms cook for about three minutes, and season the top halves with the rest of the adobo seasoning. After three minutes, gently flip each mushroom and onion piece over and allow to finish cooking for three minutes, until the other side also has a caramel brown coloring to it. If the tostones have not yet finished baking, turn the heat down to low, to keep the mushroom/garlic/onion mixture warm.
9. Slice each of the avocados in half. Place the avocado halves and remaining 1 ½ garlic clove chunks in the medium bowl and with a masher or fork, mash mixture until the avocado mixture is smooth-similarly to a guacamole. Lightly season with salt (optional). To prevent the avocados from turning brown, place the avocado seeds into avocado mixture.
10. (Optional step) in a small bowl, take your ketchup and veganaise mixture and mix well until the mixture turns into more of an orange hue. Then you have created a vegan ketch-mayo!
11. Once the 15 minutes are up, check on the tostones (the mashed baked plantains). They should be golden brown. Take out of the oven and allow to cool down for a couple minutes. Take each long half, and layer with the mashed avocado, and then take the mushroom/onion mixture and gently pile on each ‘sandwich’. Layer with some spinach, tomato, and even the ketcho-mayo mixture.
12. Eat, and enjoy the hell out of this potentially messy sandwich eating experience!! 🙂
397 Calories/ 7 grams protein/ 24 grams of fat/ 46 grams of carbohydrates/ 9 grams fiber
Did you try this recipe? Did you do any substitutions?? Comment below!
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