Butternut Squash Soup & Sage Crostini

butternut squash soup & sage crostini / @loveandlemons

This soup recipe is a version of an old favorite. It’s not from my childhood or anything, but it was one of the first soup recipes I posted and it’s become one of our most searched, pinned, and most often made recipes. It’s based on a spicy combination of coconut milk, red curry and pumpkin.

As I was making it again a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but tweak a few things to make the recipe easier and more straight forward. I swapped butternut squash for the pumpkin and reduced the number of ingredients. In three years if I’ve learned anything – it’s that less is more and simple is always better. Especially when you’re using really good seasonal ingredients.

butternut squash soup & sage crostini / @loveandlemons

Speaking of really great ingredients, it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Whole Foods – it’s five minutes from my house and I shop there all the time. I was excited to hear from American Express that they were working in partnership with them on a new, amazing offer for the Blue Cash Card. To create excitement for the offer they asked me to make two dishes with seasonal ingredients available at Whole Foods, aka #2Ways2Percent. What does that mean? Right now when you use your enrolled Blue Cash Card from American Express when shopping at Whole Foods, you’ll get an extra 2% cash back.

butternut squash soup & sage crostini / @loveandlemons

The project: show 2 ways to use butternut squash. I knew I wanted to share my simplified soup recipe and then I figured – what goes better with soup than crostini? These little crostini are topped with ricotta, roasted butternut squash and crispy sage. Both of these recipes would make perfect starters for your Thanksgiving meal.

butternut squash soup & sage crostini / @loveandlemons

What do you like to make with butternut squash? Share your ideas with me on social media using the hashtag #2Ways2Percent. For more information, terms, and where to enroll, click here.

Simple Lemon Green Beans

Simple Lemon Green Beans / www.loveandlemons.com

Every fall when Jack and I talk about Thanksgiving-inspired recipes to make for the blog, “reinvent the green bean casserole” always comes up. And every year it never happens. I guess I just think that some traditions just shouldn’t be messed with… even if one of them involves processed cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans and canned fried onions. It’s an American family favorite so I’m not going to make fun of it this time.

Simple Lemon Green Beans / www.loveandlemons.com

However, if the infamous green bean casserole isn’t part of your tradition and you’re looking for an easy last minute veggie side, how about this one? Make a little lemon-garlic oil and toss it with lightly cooked fresh green beans. It’ll take you longer to boil the pot of water than to put this “recipe” together.

Simple Lemon Green Beans / www.loveandlemons.com

If this is too simple, jazz it up with some toasted almonds, fresh herbs, or a little shaved parmesan cheese… maybe even a few fried onions, I won’t judge.

Simple Lemon Green Beans / www.loveandlemons.com

For a few more vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe ideas click here.

Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Ice Cream

Sweet Harvest Black Tea Pumpkin Ice Cream / @loveandlemons #vegan

Are you all pumpkin-ed out yet? Hopefully not – but even if you are, you just have to try this one. If you’ve been following for long you know I have just a slight love for ice creams made with coconut milk. But this one? This one not only takes the cake but probably the pumpkin and apple pies too. It’s a rich & creamy, yet healthier, take on holiday desserts.

Sweet Harvest Black Tea Pumpkin Ice Cream / @loveandlemons #vegan

I’ve had tea ice cream on my mind ever since tasting a tea-infused sorbet while visiting Celestial Seasonings last month. Their Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea is warmly spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – and it’s so delicious with the coconut milk and pumpkin puree. This recipe has only 4 main ingredients and is naturally sweetened with maple syrup instead of regular sugar.

Tea is such a flavorful addition here that I’m already dreaming up other combinations to pair with Caramel Apple Dream, Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland, and Sugar Plum Spice.

Sweet Harvest Black Tea Pumpkin Ice Cream / @loveandlemons #vegan

avocado & quinoa stuffed acorn squash

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

The year I first became vegetarian I truly missed the turkey part of turkey day. It seems like ages ago now, but back then I barely knew how to cook for myself, let alone embrace seasonal foods like squashes, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (you know, the kind without marshmallows).

Fast forward to now – I eat *mostly* vegetarian every day and whenever anyone asks me how I do it, my answer is almost always: avocado.

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

In my opinion, avocados might be the world’s most perfect food. I eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (even dessert) – and now, thanks to Avocados from Mexico, I’ll be eating them for Thanksgiving dinner too. I’ve posted a lot of veggie side dishes so far this year, but if you’re looking for a fresh twist on a vegetarian main course, give this one a try. It’s stuffed with quinoa, black beans, green chiles and pepitas and diced avocados - all of my favorite delicious (and, by the way, healthy) flavors.

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

Depending on the size of your acorn squash, you may have some of this avo-quinoa filling leftover. My leftover suggestion: make post T-giving tacos!

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash / @loveandlemons

For more recipes and ideas, check out Avocados from Mexico on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We’re also giving a special Avocados from Mexico price pack worth approximately $200. To enter, leave a comment below telling me about your own Thanksgiving avocado recipe idea. Giveaway ends Dec. 5th. Open to US residents only.

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #vegan

I made a half batch of these cookies, which was clearly a mistake. I ate the last one for breakfast this morning and I could really go for another one right about now. Chewy, oaty, nutty… slightly sweet and warmly spiced… it’s the kind of cookie that’s just healthy enough to get by as breakfast but would be even more perfect as a 2pm snack. If only…

Pistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #veganPistachio Cranberry Cookies / @loveandlemons #vegan

This recipe is just slightly adapted from Amy Chaplin’s book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, which is hands down one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever held. I’ve been a fan of Amy’s for the longest time – among other things (like being Natalie Portman’s private chef), she’s the former executive chef of Angelica Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in NYC that I’ve adored for years. The book is full (really full) of vegan and vegetarian whole food recipes and ideas. Some great basics like miso mayo, homemade curry powder, and homemade kimchi to brownies, cakes, pies, stews, curries, pastas, and beautiful noodle bowls.

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin

One page is prettier (and more delicious looking) than the next – I had a hard time deciding which pages to show you but here are just a few of my favorites.

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy ChaplinAt Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin