This dish containing three grains, mushrooms with fresh herbs and onion squash is a nice healthy and hearty option served as a main or as a side dish. It is a meal that can be vegan like this or made into a vegetarian option like this curried butternut squash by adding some cheese like some crumbled feta or halloumi
As the autumn kicks in with temperatures dropping slowly but surely, as expected, I prefer my food to get warmer, heartier, go for healthier choices and….of course, have a bit of a kick.
I do love mixing grains and here I have mixed three grains, nice long grain rice, another brown short grain and two types of quinoa, red and black, all organic. Amazing!
This is that perfect autumn dish for colder weather or even for Halloween which is just around the corner.
Talking about the Halloween now, I do like Halloweenish food but that’s to a certain extent and I’m now talking about that Halloween food that I would never dare to put on the table, stuff that’s pretty yucky and gruesome with chopped fingers, skulls, bleeding body parts etc.
I could probably just about go with some spiders, ghosts and ugly eyeballs staring back at me but the rest is a no, no, thank you but no, thanks!
I clearly don’t see the point in putting some food on the table that creates repulsion, you are supposed to eat it, right?!! haha, eat and not dream about it.
I thought of this dish for this time of the year and for Halloween since it contains seasonal ingredients, it’s served in squash it’s hearty, it is comforting and not the least nutritious and it’s super delicious.
In the autumn and winter, in particular, we need to load ourselves on good nutritious food so we give our body a good variety of nutrients to heal the damages in our body.
Going healthy, choosing healthy…
Staying away from the takeaway and kebabs shops it’s not always easy especially when you get into that kind of habit but falling into a habit of making that kind of meal instead it’s not hard and it’s only about 1 million times better for us. Home-cooked food is good in soo many ways, good for our body, for our skin, for our energy levels and for our whole well-being in general. It’s all about choice, good choice, knowing what is good, what isn’t.
I was talking in my previous recipe - flapjacks with honey and pomegranate - about my 11-year-old daughter starting to make really good choices for food, not sure it’s the peer pressure to look good or it’s the education given by her mother ;-), I believe it might be a bit of both or simply her clever way of being. Smart cookie, you know… yes, she is mine but she really is making me proud in many ways.
I strongly believe that children need to know and need to be taught from early stages what food to choose and why, they will remain with good memories, good habits for the rest of their life.
My kids know that they can eat anything in moderation and make healthy choices. It is hard work, for us and also for them with soo many temptations, it requires perseverance and persistence, willpower, setting a good example which is not always easy for us the parents but once this becomes engraved it becomes a lifestyle. I feel responsible to give my children an informed choice, I’m sure many parents feel exactly the same.
Fall food is best!
I was lucky enough to still find quite a few herbs in my garden so I thought of making the most use of those while they still last, not long at all left now. Not sure what else could bring such good energy, vibrancy and flavours to a dish more than some freshly picked herbs.
We served this dish with some organic lamb noisettes which are such a lovely cut of meat, so flavoursome and so ridiculously tasty.
I’m not sure about how you feel about this but for me, I did not care so much when young but since I have children and also with age, getting a little wiser, I really care about what I put on the plate, it doesn’t have to be a lot but little and of good quality.
I do buy organic as much as possible because I love it!
- It sustains local farming;
- It gives us the best- nutrition-wise- and
- It’s seasonal which is very important.
I remember years ago going to the supermarket filling up the trolley with everything I fancied (being hungry never helped) and spending a lot of money on so much stuff that I would never touch nowadays.
Since I have changed my way of shopping for groceries, food is costing us less, paradoxically I know because organic is more expensive, but that is because we buy less, we buy better quality, we buy what we need and I never throw away food. Ever!
In any case, food has always been an important aspect of my life and it will always remain that way, I’m sure.
It took me a lot less to get this dish ready since I had the rice, quinoa and pumpkin already cooked - had them as leftovers.
I am sure you know what it’s like when you have a handful of this a handful of that that makes it quite difficult to know what to make with all these little leftovers.
This dish is great at gathering all these little quantities of leftover ingredients.
* if you are not cooking this from scratch and you have it leftover you will need to warm this up at some point either in a pan or in the oven for a few minutes.
* squash preparation it’s easy, just wash thoroughly, cut it into two halves, scoop out the seeds and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Wash the seeds, season them (salt and pepper) and throw them in the oven too on a tray. They’re way too good to throw away.
* I do this a lot and I do recommend it to you too especially when you know the next day is a busy one- whenever I bake something in the oven here it goes a pumpkin or some potatoes that can be a next-day lunch or supper. It saves quite a bit time and energy. Planning ahead a little it’s magnificent.
Many of my friends and family ask me quite often, how can I possibly cope with cooking every single day- well, this is how.
What is Dudhi?
You may or may not have heard of this vegetable before. It is actually known under a few other names, depending on where you are in the world - it is also known as calabash, doodhi, bottle gourd or lauki. It is a nice vegetable but you need to make sure it is not bitter as that is an indication of this veggie being poisonous. Preparation is simple. Peel, wash chop, making sure it is not bitter once again. I never eat it raw but always cooked.
* to infuse the balsamic vinegar simply add fresh thyme to the balsamic vinegar you will be using for at least half an hour before using or dry thyme to a larger quantity that can be used in the future. Use your instincts. 😉
* herbs used - lemon thyme, lovage and parsley, all from my own garden.
* it serves 4 people if served on its own but it will serve 6 with some meat as a side depending on the pumpkin/squash size. This was a rather larger one.
Vegan Stuffed Kabocha Squash
- chopping board
- ovenproof dish
- 1 whole onion squash organic *
- 400 g mushrooms divided into half
- 100 g brown rice organic I used brown short-grain rice (organic)
- 50 g rice long-grain rice
- 150 g quinoa I used red and black mixed
- 10 sprigs fresh herbs *
- 150 g dudhi finely diced *
- 2 sticks celery organic
- 2 small red peppers finely diced
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 drizzle Tabasco sauce (optional)
- 4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (or a mix of both) *
- Boil or steam quinoa and both rice and bake the squash* if not cooked or baked already. I’ve had these leftover from the night before.
- Chop half of the mushroom quantity into thin slices the remaining half pulse in a food processor until they become like small rice grains or couscous size.
- Place a slightly deeper pan on medium fire, add ½ of the coconut oil and brown slightly the mushroom slices. When ready, take it out on a plate and set it aside.
- In the same pan add the other half of the coconut oil, the diced dudhi, and the celery and cook for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and the riced mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring every so often.
- Add the rice and the quinoa mix well for 3 minutes. Mix in the finely chopped herbs along with cooked mushroom slices and mix well for 1-2 minutes stirring almost constantly. Turn off the heat, spoon this into the squash boats and serve.