Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

Every year in November, I like to post one new vegetarian main dish recipe. I find that Thanksgiving hosts often like to have a special option for vegetarians at their table, especially if they are newer to the family. But what people don’t know is that, for the most part, herbivores are usually just as happy to fill up on stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, roasted veggies, pumpkin pie, and more.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri ingredients

So this year, my “main dish” is doubling as a side dish. Instead of making giant acorn squash halves stuffed with everything and the kitchen sink, leaving me way too full to eat anything else, I’m making a platter of acorn squash quarters, filled with warmly spiced chickpeas and topped with a tangy chimichurri. It’s a delicious dish with unexpectedly bright flavors that everyone can enjoy.

I made these a few weeks ago for dinner for my extended family (which is how I test out Thanksgiving blog recipes) and they were a big hit next to some yummy mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts (that I will tell you about in a future post). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, all of these fresh ingredients can be found so easily and affordably at ALDI. I often spend hours (and hundreds of dollars) at the grocery store for a big family dinner, but Jack and I gathered everything for our entire family meal in about 20 minutes at ALDI, including these seasonal acorn squashes.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

For the recipe, you’ll first quarter the acorn squash and get it roasting.

As the squash roasts, start the chickpeas. I cooked the chickpea filling with yellow onion, and braised them in a little vegetable broth seasoned with lemon, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. I know, it sounds like an odd combination, but it really works – the pinch of cinnamon brings out the sweet flavor of the acorn squash. I also want to mention that ALDI’s Dakota’s Pride chickpeas are my favorite canned chickpeas of all time – they have a more al dente bite than others, which means that they hold their shape nicely as you cook them.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

For some fresh herbaceous flavor, I made a topping that’s a riff on chimichurri. Or rather, it started as a chimichurri, but I wanted the sauce to be thick enough to sit on top of the chickpeas, rather than fall within the crevices, so I added some ground pepitas for texture. They also provide a nice nutty flavor.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

A drizzle of lemony yogurt adds a creamy touch. And for a little spice, I sprinkled each squash piece with a few red pepper flakes.

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

Happy Thanksgiving month! Stay tuned for some awesome mashed potatoes coming up next week, and until then, go check out all of the affordable fresh finds at ALDI!

Acorn Squash with Chickpeas & Chimichurri

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding

Skip pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, and make butternut squash pudding instead! This yummy pudding is creamy and oh so pumpkin-like, but it’s made with fresh roasted squash. It’s super easy to make – just roast, blend, and chill.

Here’s how this one came about. A few weeks ago, I made these butternut sandwiches, and multiple tests of this butternut curry. By the end of that week, I had lots of squash parts leftover (particularly because those sandwiches required just the long plank pieces). My first thought, of course, was to make soup. My second thought was to ask Jack if he had any ideas. Very often, he likes to shy away from these type of (forced) brainstorming sessions, but he surprised me when he said Butternut Squash Pudding! And I think I surprised him with a “YES! I love that idea!”

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding ingredients

This recipe requires just a few ingredients (see above), but it’s so flavorful because the butternut squash itself is naturally creamy and sweet to begin with.

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding squash on a roasting pan

Look at all that squash! This is dessert, yet it’s almost as healthy as eating soup!

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding

You could top these however you like, as they’re a bit of a blank canvas. At home, we eat it plain… for you, my guest, I topped them with coconut cream and chocolate shavings. I also think toasted pecans or granola would be a delicious touch.

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pudding

Fall Farro Salad w/ Halloumi & Pomegranates

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Halloumi & Pomegranates

As we approach Thanksgiving, I feel like foods become more and more brown. I know – we all love cheesy, bready things, and of course dark whole grains are wonderfully wholesome… BUT if I’ve found one calling in life (er.. in blog-life), it’s to find and bring forth the colorful foods of every season.

This post is in partnership with POM Wonderful because, in our house, we flipping love pomegranates! The bright pop of sweetness and the ruby red color from little pomegranate arils add vibrancy to any dish. I love sprinkling them on everything throughout the fall and winter, especially over hearty salads like this. They’re also known for their antioxidant goodness, and they’re a good source of fiber – like we needed more reasons to love pomegranates.

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Halloumi & Pomegranates

Here’s what else I have going on in this recipe. There’s a mix of roasted ingredients like acorn squash, roasted onions, and roasted halloumi cheese. And a mix of raw things: thinly sliced kohlrabi, carrot ribbons, micro greens, and of course the pomegranate arils. The combination of roasted and raw elements makes this so hearty and delicious, yet bright and poppy. And yes, I firmly believe that “poppy” is our 6th flavor sense, the one that comes after “umami.”

Visually speaking, I love “playing” with colorful foods, especially when cloud shapes appear:

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Halloumi & Pomegranates

You might be asking: what the heck is kohlrabi?! It’s that alien-like vegetable pictured above, and it’s delicious when sliced paper thin (it’s also good roasted, pureed, and baked, but that’s for another post). Here, it provides a crisp, fresh texture to this hearty salad.

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Halloumi & Pomegranates

POM POMS (the arils, or seeds, derived from fresh pomegranates), are available October through December in convenient 4.3 and 8-ounce packs. Find them in the cut fruit produce section of most grocery stores. When you bring them home, just try to keep yourself (or your husband) from snacking on them before they make it to this salad! Or better yet, get extra.

Fall Farro Salad with Roasted Halloumi & Pomegranates

Butternut Squash Pasta with Chili Oil, Feta & Mint

Butternut Squash Pasta with Chili Oil, Feta & Mint

Happy post-Halloween! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday. Ours was… I guess you could say, a little low key. We worked late and then went to the bar at Whole Foods for drinks and dinner. Because these types of activities are actually really fun when you’re an old married couple like we are :).

Another thing that’s fun for us – pasta! But not just any pasta – spicy butternut pasta!

Butternut Squash Pasta with Chili Oil, Feta & Mint

I’ve been on a butternut squash kick lately, see here and here.

For this post, I had originally planed to make a more traditional fall pasta with herbs like sage and rosemary. Then suddenly, we had a streak of sunny warm-ish days here in Chicago, and I craved something bright and zesty instead. I mean, I’m always craving bright and zesty things (hence the name of our blog), so essentially, this is my perfect fall meal.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Chili Oil, Feta & Mint

I had some beautiful mint from the farmers market and 3 Thai chiles left on our little deck plant, which inspired the rest of the recipe. I made a quick chili-garlic oil that gets tossed onto the pasta with the roasted squash, olive oil, lots of lemon, hazelnuts, and a good bit of tangy feta. If you don’t have Thai chiles, you can use regular red pepper flakes instead… or in addition, if you like things extra spicy.

I hope you enjoy this quick weeknight pasta!

Butternut Squash Pasta with Chili Oil, Feta & Mint

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

It’s Halloween week! That means that it’s the official(?) final week for everything pumpkin to appear on the blogosphere. I know, it’s sad, but not to worry – I have some majorly delicious Thanksgiving recipes in the works. But before we get there, here’s my last pumpkin hurrah for the year, and it’s a good one!

I think you will love this French toast whether you’re vegan or whether you just happened to have run out of eggs. The pumpkin puree acts as the custardy base so perfectly. I love this version even more than my original vegan French toast, which continues to be one of the most popular recipes on our site.

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

This is made with just a handful of ingredients, see above. The most important one is the bread. Your French toast will only be as good as your bread, so grab a nice sourdough or ciabatta loaf, and slice it into thick slabs. Day-old bread is preferred, just stay clear of thinly sliced sandwich bread.

Once you’ve mixed the batter together, pour it over your slabs of bread. Then use your hands to slather it all over (that step is not pictured because it was not so photogenic).

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

Cook it up in a skillet, then serve your French toast with lots of maple syrup and whatever toppings you like!

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

With your extra pumpkin puree, you can make Vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake, Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, or Pumpkin Waffles.