This week I decided the theme was vegetarian. I have a savory butternut squash pie that is a hit whenever I serve it and I combined it with a raspberry mint beet salad and petite pea and mint salad. This is a wonderful time of year for fresh vegetables. Once again all of these dishes are gluten-free so you can rest easy if you are trying to avoid gluten.
We try to have at least three vegetarian meals each week. As you get older, moving towards a more plant based diet is recommended; the challenge is always how to get enough protein and fiber. Have no fear, this week your protein and fiber are provided by the vegetables, nuts and quinoa; a wonderful mixture of nutrient dense foods.
The two salads need to be made a few hours before serving so let’s start with them.
Raspberry Beet Salad:
- 6 medium sized beets
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. canola oil (cold pressed)
- 1/3 cup olive oil or cold pressed canola oil
- 3 Tbsp. raspberry vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 tbsp. chopped mint
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place beets in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until fork tender. Remove from the water and cool. Wearing rubber gloves, so as to not stain your hands, peel and slice the beets.
- Saute the onion until translucent and add to the beets. Set aside.
- Slowly stream the oil into the vinegar, whisking vigorously until a smooth mixture forms.
- Add the raspberries and continue to whisk until blended. Add mint, and salt and pepper to taste (you can also do this mixing in a blender).
- Mix in the mint and salt and pepper.
- Toss the beets with the raspberry dressing and serve hot or cold.
** Taken from Plenty – A collection of Sarah McLachlan’s Favourite Recipes with Jamie Laurita. ISBN 1-894160-01-0 Page 16
Petite Pea and Mint Salad
- Bag of petite peas (frozen)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. dill (fresh is best)
- 2 tbsp. fresh mint chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Empty frozen peas into a medium size bowl.
- Stir in the mayonnaise, dill, fresh mint, salt and lemon juice. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Put salad in the fridge and let the flavours mix for at least 4 hours. If you can make this a day ahead, you’ll find the flavors are better. You can eat this salad for three or four days if you keep it in the fridge.
The Savoury Butternut Squash Pie is an easy dish to make. You need to bake the squash before adding it to the pie crust to give it a “just roasted” flavour.
- Butternut squash contains many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins. Similar to other Cucurbitaceae members, this too is one of the low-calorie vegetables, which provides just 45 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, it is a rich source of dietary fibber and phyto-nutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables that is often recommended by dieticians in their cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
- It has more vitamin A than pumpkin. At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceous family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like α and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body.
- It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like foliates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamine, and pantothenic acid.
- It has a similar mineral profile as that of pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Information taken from the following website. If you’d like more information, please visit:
Savory Butternut Squash Pie with Quinoa and Hazel Nuts
- 1 (3 lb.) butternut squash
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and cut the squash in half, scooping out the the seeds. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle the Olive oil over the squash cubes and toss to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread the oiled squash on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven at 400 degree and roast for 25-30 minutes. Turn cubes over once or twice so as to brown the vegetable on all sides. Once the pieces have browned, take out of the oven and transfer into a large bowl and let rest.
- ½ cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 1/2 cups cold water in a sauce pan.
- Dash of salt in the water.
With the lid on the saucepan, heat the quinoa, salt and water until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down and cook the quinoa for 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add to the bowl of squash and let cool.
- 1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Splash of dry white wine
- 2/3 cup of grated Romano cheese
- ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts lightly chopped
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 frozen GF pie crust (Whole Foods has these)
Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until browned. Add the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed.
Add the onion to the bowl holding the squash and sprinkle the Romano cheese over the mixture. Add the hazelnuts, egg and salt and pepper to taste and gently combine. Put the mixture in the pie crust and press down lightly. I find this filling is enough for two 9-inch pie crusts.
Place in 400 degree oven and cook for about 40 minutes. The filling and crust should be golden brown and the filling should be hot.
You’ll find one piece is very filling. This recipe makes enough for 8 people.
A beet green salad was an addition to the original menu. When I went to visit my friend Ellen on Sunday afternoon she showed me her vegetable garden that was filled with carrots, beets, beans, squash and tomatoes. She asked me to take some beet greens because she couldn’t keep up with them! I gladly accepted and worked them into the menu.
I mixed the greens with maple syrup candied walnuts, dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chevre cheese. The dressing was 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 tsp. Dijon mustard. It was a lovely light salad to finish off the meal.
If you have guests coming to dinner some time and you want a vegetarian meal, I highly recommend this pie. I would definitely serve it to my guests – oh wait, I already did!
And now for another episode of Empowered Health:
I have made this recipe in the blog before but it’s worth showing you the live version of the recipe. My fellow Empowered Health Foodies loved it!