Yesterday, I slept in for the first time in weeks. I also didn’t wake up feeling like my back teeth had been chewing cardboard (I have an inkling I’ve been stress-grinding), which safe to say was a pleasant surprise.
Although this term and my unfathomable workload is far from over, as I write this my completed dissertation is sitting in a folder on my desktop (which I have named in caps for emphasis, of course), waiting to be printed, bound and promptly handed in.
I’ll feel a lot better once it’s actually in, but just knowing it’s done (three days before the actual deadline, might I add) is a huge relief.
Anyhow, in light of this, a leisurely sunday was most definitely in order. Cue the aforementioned lie-in, mooching around in my pyjamas till way past noon watching the London Marathon, and of course – a delicious meal.
Butternut Squash and Quinoa Casserole
- 2 heaping cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (a little less than 1/2 a cup dry)
- 1/2 a cup of pureed chickpeas
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp oregano and/or herbs de provence
- A dash of nutmeg (optional)
- 3/4 cup un-sweetened soy milk
- 1 tbsp flour + a pinch of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (use ground up GF pretzels or crackers for a GF option)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Start by lightly steaming the squash for 8 minutes or so – you don’t want it too mushy, just cooked through.
- If you’re making from scratch, cook the quinoa in water or vegetable stock (I used half and half).
- In a cup or small bowl, prep the bechamel sauce by stirring the flour and arrowroot (or thickening agent of choice) into the soy milk, and add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Sautee onions and garlic in a little cooking oil or two tablespoons of vegetable stock (I used the latter and it still tasted great) for a few minutes on medium heat until onions are a little translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a minute or so before adding the soy milk and flour mixture. Bring to a boil stirring frequently until thickened. Add the rosemary, parsley and dried herbs and nutritional yeast.
- Add the pureed chickpeas (you can keep them whole if you like), butternut squash and quinoa and mix till well combined. Wilt a few large handfuls of spinach on top and add a pinch of nutmeg.
- Pour the mixture evenly into a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs (plus a little more nooch and rosemary if you like). Bake for about 15 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Serve, and marvel at the insane combination of creamy squash, nutty quinoa and crunchy breadcrumbs.
Be thankful that you didn’t have to share, and thus have leftovers.
Very thankful indeed.
Just a few notes:
– This would work equally well with kale in place of spinach, or even some zucchini if leafy greens aren’t your thing.
– Feel free to add some sort of melty vegan cheese before you pile on the breadcrumbs – I didn’t have any on hand (but to be honest the nooch really holds its own here)
– You can also use cannelini beans or any other white bean in place of chickpeas.
– If you’re dubious about water/veg stock sautéing, don’t be. I was until I tried it and I have to say I honestly can’t tell the difference in terms of flavour – it’s a great way to cut down on refined oils if you find yourself cooking with them a lot.
Have a great week, all!