Farro with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Walnuts & Cranberries

If it’s fall it’s time for butternut squash! This delicious recipe was actually from the bag of farro (Nature’s Earthly Choice organic Italian pearled farro). I made it for our birthday party at Aunt Mary’s and it was a hit. Everyone else added salt because I didn’t add it to make it work with my nutritarian diet. I think this would be great with an orange squeezed over it or some balsamic reduction to brighten it up and add a little more liquid (I also omitted the oil called for in the recipe).

farrosquash

This photo was taken of the leftovers after they had been refrigerated for hours. The original looked fresher.

Ingredients:

12 oz pearled farro (2 cups), rinsed and drained

5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium) or water, or a combination – I used 2 c broth, 3 c water

pinch kosher salt

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/2″ dice

1 large red onion, cut into eighths

1 tbsp fresh thyme

2 tsp olive oil (to rub on the pan for squash)

1 bag baby spinach (6 oz)

1 cup walnuts, toasted

1 cup dried cranberries (I used a brand that was sweetened with apple juice, not sugar)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 15-25 minutes. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be al dente, but tender. Remove from heat, drain excess water, and toss with baby spinach in a large mixing bowl to wilt spinach. Set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil [or just rub oil into pan with paper towel], and salt [optional] in a large glass pyrex 9×13 pan or a roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil cover and cook for an additional hour, turning the squash every 30 minutes. Remove from oven , let cool a bit, and chop up the cooked red onions.

Add squash and onions to bowl and gently toss everything together, including walnuts and cranberries. Optional: squeeze an orange on top and toss, or add balsamic vinegar and oil to boost the flavor. A fig balsamic vinegar would be excellent with this. Taste and season as necessary.

Changes from the original recipe: the orig. recipe calls for 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar to cook with the squash and onions, 3 tbsp walnut oil for dressing, and 1/4 cup goat cheese – they don’t call for cranberries, but I like the combination with cranberries better. I omitted all of the oil except a tiny bit, just enough to rub on the pan to prevent sticking.

My new favorite things: natural vegan convenience food!

Sometimes I don’t have a recipe but just a product that I want to remember.  In this case, I have been cooking (and blending) non stop for 6 weeks (hooray for nutritarianism!) and was hoping that somewhere out there someone was making organic, natural, chemical and preservative and sugar free yummy vegan food that I could just buy and heat up. I’m not a fan of processed soy products or tvp or seitan, I just want unprocessed yummy stuff!

I’m sure this would not be an issue if there were a Whole Foods or even a Wegman’s on our little island, but as it is, I’m happy that at least we have a Trader Joe’s.

In this case, Fresh Direct came through! They have all kinds of local yummy and organic stuff, but now they have added some excellent fresh-made vegan food that’s incredible and all made here in New York.

Flourish Baking Company makes 4 vegan pot pies that look awesome. I had the Lentil Simmer vegetable pot pie a couple of days ago, which is not liquidy, despite the sound of the name. It’s so good! Spinach, broccoli, lentils, other veggies, cumin, and a whole grain crust. I just nuked it for 3 minutes and then heated it in a 350 F toaster oven for 10 minutes. So good and no chemicals or sugar! Next time I’m going to try the two potato pie, but I’ve bought them all to test them (yay, research)! You can also buy them from the bakery website.

lentilpie

It really does look just like the photo on the box!

I just ate Hunan Dumplings from Macro Vegan tonight… they were so delicious! Whole wheat, organic veggies and delicious flavor. They were great hot or cold! They make a ton of other dumplings (Shanghai and Thai) and noodle dishes (Soba, Pad Thai, etc). I don’t know if they sell this stuff anywhere else…. sooo good. The portions are great too, 300 calories for half of the container (7 oz, about 9 dumplings). I had mine with some liquid aminos.

hunandumpling

I took this photo before I tore into the package  🙂

dumplings

Leftovers as today’s lunch… yum!

 

Veggie Marinara Sauce (cheat)

I love Victoria marinara sauce (so does Chris). There are no scary ingredients (such as chemicals or sugar) in it, but there is olive oil and salt, the two ingredients that I try to avoid in the early stages of this nutritarian diet (I have just finished week 6 so now I can go back to olive oil as a treat! Yay!). This sauce is delicious, it’s the one food that I will not give up entirely.

I thought I would have some whole wheat pasta (I love DeCecco’s 100% whole wheat spaghetti) and wanted to sneak some veggies into the meal. The only hard part is limiting my portion to only 2 ounces of pasta… this is why adding more veggies is so important! Kids would definitely love this. It’s so yummy and you’d never know there was zucchini in it!

dececco

Next time I will definitely add spinach to it, I just didn’t have any on hand.

  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced small
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 small), shredded and drained
  • 2 containers cremini mushrooms (about 10 oz each), cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach (I didn’t add this but definitely will next time)
  • One 25 oz. jar Victoria marinara sauce

Directions:

  • Grate the zucchini using the small shred holes of a box grater. Let it drain in a mesh sieve. While you’re waiting for it to drain, prep other veggies.
  • In a large pan saute (in a little water) the garlic and onion until it starts to get soft. You could also add some red pepper flakes here if you like your sauce spicy.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and cook some of the water out.
  • Then add sliced mushrooms and cook down further, until you don’t see water in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add 1 jar of sauce and simmer on low for 10 minutes until it thickens.
  • Then add baby spinach, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes or until leaves are wilted.

Serve over whole wheat pasta with a big romaine salad on the side. Yum!

zuccmush

Zucchini, onions and mushrooms cooking down

sauce

Simmering away…

UPDATE 10/7/13: Tonight I heated up some of the remaining veggie sauce and sauteed 2 bunches of swiss chard with some shallots and then heated them together. This on top of a serving of whole wheat pasta (2 oz dry, 5.2 oz cooked) was sooo delicious! The chard made it  even better. Next time I’ll use three bunches of chard to make a full batch. The sauce really thickened up in the fridge, I guess the zucchini and mushrooms really soak up that liquid, but I liked it even more. I don’t like watery sauces.

sep

Sauce and paste before I mixed them together. Yum!

closeup

The red stems and green leaves also add great color to the dish. The zucchini kind of fades during cooking so you don’t see much green from that.