Tag Archives: squash

Raw Zucchini Noodles and a Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

Do you know what this is?

It’s zucchini noodles!

What are zucchini noodles? Well, they’re not really noodles, but rather, they are very thin strips of raw zucchini. I have a spiral slicer, and thought I’d put it to use making noodles. I wanted something grain-free to eat with a chicken curry, and this was just the thing.

The spiral slicer does make this super-easy, but if you don’t have one, you can use a vegetable peeler to make wide, flat noodles. Just peel the zucchini lengthwise into long strips, rotating as you go, until you get to the seeds. If you want, you can saute the noodles really briefly (like for a minute, tops), but I even enjoy them totally raw. They make the perfect base for any saucy dish. While I enjoy spaghetti squash as well, zucchini is a lovely change. (and since zucchini is in season, why not?)

So how about that curry?

This is definitely an easy weeknight curry. I didn’t make the curry paste from scratch. (shocker, I know) I used Thai Kitchen red curry paste. This made the whole dish come together much more quickly. While it’s not a traditional Thai curry (I haven’t seen many Thai curries with red cabbage and yellow squash…I just threw them in there because I had a ton of vegetables in the house that needed to be eaten, and it sounded tasty to me.), the flavors still worked well together. It was warm, slightly spicy, and comforting – all great attributes in a curry. (Aren’t saucy curries like, the ultimate comfort food? They are to me – and it doesn’t matter if it’s an Indian curry, a Thai curry, a Jamaican curry, or a totally-new-invention curry. They all make my belly happy.) And those zucchini noodles? They kept it from feeling heavy. In the summer, that’s a definite plus.

Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry

2 T coconut oil, divided

1 T Thai Kitchen red curry paste

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c coconut milk

1 5-inch piece lemongrass, smashed with side of knife (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or omit)

3 Kaffir lime leaves (you can find this at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery, or sub a bit of lime zest)

1 medium yellow squash, sliced

1 ½ c sliced red cabbage

1 tomato, chopped

2-3 T cilantro, chopped

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Swirl to heat, and add curry paste. Stir the paste around for a few seconds to get it sizzling. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, and add to the skillet. Stir until the paste is evenly coating the chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened well and flavors have melded. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While the curry is simmering, heat another skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining coconut oil and swirl. Add the squash and cabbage and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the squash is lightly browned and the cabbage is starting to wilt. Add the tomatoes and stir for a moment. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables to the curry and stir. Serve on top of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 3-4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

A few weeks ago, my husband surprised me. Little did I know he’d been tucking away money, but he sat me down, whipped out some cash, and told me that it was for a new VitaMix. I nearly cried, I was so excited. I ordered it right away, and it arrived at my doorstep a few days later.

Of course, the first things I made with it were my morning smoothies. No real recipe there – often I toss a fruit or two, some spinach, some protein powder, and give it a whirl. But now, the smoothies are creamy. No more chewing bits of spinach! This Blueberry Spinach Mint Smoothie is even more of a delight in my new blender. Lately, I’ve been throwing fresh, ripe peaches in the blender and making creamy peachy concoctions. Delish.

But the VitaMix can do so much more than just make smoothies. You can actually “cook” soup in the blender – just blend on high speed for a few minutes, and I promise you, your soup will come out creamy, smooth, and HOT! It’s amazing. But it can also blend batters for baked goods. My first attempt? A chocolate zucchini muffin – without the addition of oils.

I wanted a little treat for breakfasts that wouldn’t be too rich, too sweet, or too indulgent. This muffin definitely delivers. You’d never know there was zucchini in the batter, as the VitaMix takes care of all of those little pieces. The muffin is denser than some, but I found it really enjoyable. Just the right amount of texture for a good, hearty muffin.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1/4 c brown rice flour (30 grams)

1/4 c potato starch (35 grams)

1/2 c sorghum flour (60 grams)

1 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

2 T cocoa powder (12 grams)

1/4 t guar gum

1/4 t salt

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

1/4 c egg whites

1 t vanilla extract

2/3 c coconut palm sugar (100 grams)

2 c coarsely chopped zucchini (255 grams)

1/2 c chopped pecans

1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with papers.

Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, guar gum, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl. Whisk until completely blended.

Place egg whites, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, and zucchini into blender and secure lid. Select Variable 1, then turn machine on and quickly increase speed. Blend for 15 seconds or until everything looks uniform. Stop blender and add dry ingredients. Secure lid and continue to blend for 20 seconds or until everything is uniform. If necessary, use tamper to press any ingredients into the blades.

Stop machine and pour mixture into large bowl. Mix in nuts and raisins by hand. Spoon into muffin papers 2/3 of the way full. Bake 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 1 dozen.

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, hosted at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

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Filed under breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Squash and Chard Casserole

Do you remember squash casserole? If you’re from the South, it’s likely you’ve had it before (or quite often) – a cheesy, buttery, creamy casserole filled with squash that has been cooked within an inch of its life, topped with buttery crumbs. I didn’t grow up eating such a casserole (my parents aren’t from the South), but I definitely enjoyed it a time or two, typically in local diners that also served other Southern favorites, such as fried okra, chicken-fried steak, collard greens (with lots of ham or bacon), grits, and lots of biscuits and gravy. While tasty, it’s definitely not something that is friendly on the waistline or to those of us with gluten and dairy issues.

I’d forgotten about squash casserole, truth be told, until Sunday evening, when I was staring down some fresh yellow squash I’d picked up at the farmer’s market. I had unimaginative plans for it as a side dish for roasted chicken, figuring I’d saute it just until tender, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and call it good. But then, out of nowhere, squash casserole popped into my head. Also faced with an overabundance of swiss chard from my garden, the wheels started turning. I could make a squash casserole that would be tasty, but not a guilty pleasure. Something that could still be considered a vegetable. It could be possible to make something gluten-free, casein-free, and even low FODMAP-friendly.

And so this dish was born. It was still creamy from the Daiya cheese I used to top it, but not overly so. The vegetables were tender, but not overcooked. There was still a buttery flavor from the “crumb” topping. The chipotle chile powder added a lovely boost of flavor, so you really felt like you had a treat without a bunch of heaviness. I even enjoyed some leftovers for breakfast. As squash season hasn’t even really begun yet, I’m sure this won’t be the last time this dish graces our dinner table.

Squash and Chard Casserole (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free)

1 bunch swiss chard

2 T olive oil

3 c sliced yellow squash

½ t chipotle chile powder

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c Daiya cheddar cheese (or other vegan cheese alternative)

1 T ghee or olive oil (if you can’t tolerate ghee or prefer to make this vegan)

¼ c almond flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish (mine was an oval one about 9″X6″) and set aside.

Cut the swiss chard leaves from the stalks. Thinly slice the stalks and set aside, and chop the leaves.

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Saute yellow squash and the swiss chard stalks for about 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add swiss chard leaves and sauté until wilted, another 2-3 minutes. Season with chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper to taste. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess juice from the vegetables (otherwise, you’ll end up with a wetter casserole than you desire.) Transfer the vegetables to the casserole dish. Top with Daiya cheese.

Melt the ghee in a small microwaveable bowl for 30-45 seconds. Combine ghee and almond flour along with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Blend together with a spoon until crumbly. Spread over the Daiya evenly.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash at Gluten-Free Homemaker

Today I am a guest blogger over at The Gluten-Free Homemaker for Squash Fest. Go on over here to check out my recipe for sausage-stuffed acorn squash. While you’re there, check out all of the other delicious squash recipes – guaranteed to make your mouth water!

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pork, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Curried Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

Did you know that Linda over at The Gluten-Free Homemaker has been hosting a Squash Fest? Every week, she has a guest blogger sharing a delicious recipe using various kinds of winter squash. It’s a delicious series – there are spaghetti squash casseroles, a butternut squash dessert with dates, and if you need a crash course in winter squashes and how to roast them, check out Linda’s run-down of varieties of squash or a great tutorial on roasting butternut squash. This coming Thursday, I’ll be sharing a stuffed acorn squash recipe. I can’t wait to see what else is featured!

Meanwhile, I had a mountain of acorn squash (I went a little overboard at the farmers’ market) in my kitchen. I decided to stretch it over two meals. The first night, I simply roasted all of the squash halves and served them as a side dish. The second night, I made this soup with the leftovers. While I love roasted squash, this soup was definitely the winner in terms of delicious flavor. Sweet, savory, creamy, and with just a touch of warmth from the curry powder – this soup was one of my favorite soups to date. This recipe made quite a bit of soup – enough for me to freeze leftovers for easy lunches. It’ll definitely make future appearances in my kitchen throughout the winter.

Curried Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

2 T grapeseed or olive oil

3 1/2 c mashed, roasted acorn squash (about 4 acorn squash)

1 1/2 c cooked sweet potato, mashed (about 1 large sweet potato)

1 t minced fresh ginger

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled and chopped

1 T fresh sage leaves, chopped

5 c vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock if you prefer)

1 c almond milk

1/2 t cinnamon

1 t Jamaican curry powder (recipe below) or Madras curry powder

1/2 t ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil, for drizzling

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the acorn squash, sweet potato, ginger, onion, garlic, and apple and saute for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add the sage, broth, almond milk, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Remove from heat, and using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, you can puree the soup in batches using a traditional blender or food processor.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and reutrn to heat to warm. If soup is too thick, add additional broth or water. If too thin, allow to simmer until at desired consistency. Serve with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the soup.

Serves 5-6.

Jamaican Curry Powder Blend

4 T Madras curry powder

2 t ground coriander

2 t ground cumin

1/2 t dry mustard

1/2 t turmeric

1/2 t cayenne

1/2 t cinnamon

1 T ground allspice

Mix spices together well and store in an airtight container.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Guest Post at Daily Bites – Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash

Hallie, the owner of Daily Bites, is currently hosting a series called “Cents” – able and Savory, where she is featuring healthy gluten-free recipes that won’t break the bank. So far, she has shared a recipe for 5-minute BBQ sauce, and twice-baked acorn squash. Hallie posts a lot of healthy recipes featuring whole, natural ingredients – which I love, as this is primarily my style of eating. I discovered Hallie by a guest post she wrote for Simply Sugar and Gluten Free a while back, where she featured these amazing carrot cake bites. (I’ve made them several times – they’re addictive!) Hallie has a wonderful passion for delicious, healthy eating, and I am so excited to get to be a part of it! Head on over to Daily Bites today for my quick-and-easy, budget-friendly recipe for Italian-style spaghetti squash.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

It’s not really time for stew. It’s late August, so for a Texan like me, that still means at least 3-4 weeks of hot temperatures to go. The stars were aligned for us last night, however, and a cold front blew in. The high temp yesterday? 80 degrees. It was 107 on Monday. That makes 80 degrees practically feel like sweater weather in comparison! Nearly every day in August has been over 100 degrees here, so we were a touch giddy.

Armed with fresh butternut squash from a local farm, and a desire to make a frugal, simple meal, I set off to make a stew. I cooked beans in the slow cooker while I was away at work, and when I came home, I was able to assemble this dish and have dinner in under 45 minutes. Not bad. If one was in a real hurry and bought frozen, cubed butternut squash, I imagine you could cut that time down to 15 minutes. For me, I prefer fresh – especially when it’s in season!

This stew is a lovely, spicy-sweet blend of flavors and textures. I forced myself to stop after a huge bowlful, but I could have easily had seconds or thirds, in spite of how filling it was. I brought a sample to a coworker for a taste; she loved it. Sounds like a win to me! 

I measured amounts in this recipe, but you can certainly alter as you see fit. Feel free to use canned beans if that’s your desire. Increase or decrease the jalapenos or chipotle chili powder to suit your heat tolerance. It was relatively spicy when I made it, so if you can’t handle a lot of heat, you might want to only use 1 jalapeno. If you don’t have smoked meat, a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon or salt pork might do nicely, or you could simply omit the meat altogether, and add a touch of smoked paprika. That’s what I love about stews – there really isn’t a “wrong” way to go!

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

2 T grapeseed oil

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 c butternut squash, diced in half-inch cubes

3 c cooked black beans (about 2 15-oz cans)

2 c shredded, smoked pork or chicken

1 ½ T ground cumin

½ t ground chipotle chile powder

1 t sweet paprika

3 c chicken stock

Salt to taste

Optional accompaniments:

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat grapeseed oil to medium heat. Add onion and jalapenos and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add butternut squash and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add beans, pork, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Allow to simmer until butternut squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve  topped with tomatoes and cilantro.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetables