Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Gratin

Meatless? Check!

Vegan? Check!

Delicious? Check!

This recipe is worth every minute that you spend on it.


Avoid buying prepeeled or chunked butternut squash for this dish.


6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
2 pounds onions, halved and sliced thin
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 pounds butternut squash
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and panko in 12-inch skillet and toast over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until water is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons water and cook until onions are caramelized and water is evaporated, about 5 minutes longer. Add 2 teaspoons sage and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; set aside.

3. Trim ends from squash and peel. Cut in half lengthwise, then quarter each half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut each piece into 1/4-inch-thick slices (you should have 11 cups). Toss squash, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 2 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Arrange half of squash evenly in prepared dish. Spread half of onion mixture evenly over squash. Arrange remaining squash evenly over onion mixture. Spread remaining onion mixture evenly over squash.

4. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until squash is nearly tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle panko mixture over top and continue to bake, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer dish to wire rack. Combine parsley and lemon zest in bowl and sprinkle over gratin. Serve.

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Meatless Monday: Kale + Slivered Brussels Sprout Soba Noodles

I love nutrient dense cold salads for lunch.  I love them even more when they are meatless.  This one is from one of my favorite food blogs called Sprouted Kitchen.  The beauty of this one is that my husband came one day and heated up said noodle combination and doused it with Sriracha.  So, it is tasty warmed up and the next day too!

Kale + Slivered Brussels Sprouts Soba Noodles


Serves 4 as a main course

Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison:Vegetable Literacy

The recipe originally calls for 4 brussels, but I wanted to finish up the bunch I had. I ended up using around 10 and discarding the tough core (I did not discard the core.  Mine were small and tender). There is enough dressing to bulk up the greens here, so the recipe below reflects that change.

1 bunch tuscan kale
5 tsp. toasted sesame oil
10 brussels sprouts
1 plump clove garlic
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
2 pinches red pepper flakes
4-8 oz. soba noodles
4 slivered green onions, for garnish


  1. Slice the kale leaves from their stems and discard the stems. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll them up tightly lengthwise, and then thinly slice them crosswise into narrow ribbons. Put the ribbons in a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until they glisten.
  2. Discard any funky outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. Slice them paper thin (mandoline works best) then toss them with the kale.
  3. Pound the garlic until smooth in a small mortar (I used a bowl and minced the garlic fine). Stir in the vinegar, remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss well. This much can be done in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve, or enjoyed alone as a salad.
  4. Bring the water to a boil. When starting the noodles, finish the salad with the sesame seeds, pepper flakes and green onions. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain well. Toss the noodles with the greens. The noodle salad can be served warm or cold.

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Meatless Monday: Tomato Jam

What do you do when you have waaaaay too many tomatoes?img_1540

Jam out!

With just a quick simple search: tomato jam, you can find TONS of recipes.  Here’s the one that I liked best.  It is from The New York Times.  I also have some limes that are almost on their way out so that was helpful too.

1 ½ pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

  1. Directions:
    Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

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Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Soup

America’s Test Kitchen is unparalleled in their quality and precise testing of recipes.  After getting oneimg_1534 of their magazines: Cook’s Illustrated for years, I still refer to my back issues for the interesting articles and beautiful back covers.  In addition, if you haven’t heard their radio show on NPR, check it out.

Soup is amazing for many reasons.  This soup is outstanding.  It feels and tastes indulgent.  But, when you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see that though there is butter in it, it is a simple wholesome recipe that will feed your body and your soul.  And, dare I say, it could be a very impressive 1st course for your next dinner party.

Cauliflower Soup


1 head cauliflower, (2 pounds)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
4 ½ – 5 cups water
½ tsp sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp minced fresh chives


1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
4. While soup simmers, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
5. Process soup in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN White wine vinegar may be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly trim the cauliflower’s core of green leaves and leaf stems, which can be fibrous and contribute to a grainy texture in the soup.

NOTE FROM QUIN: If you need heat, like my husband does, you can swirl some hot sauce or chile oil on top before serving.

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Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese

Sounds awful right?  The whole point of mac and cheese is the warm comfort of creamy cheese and noodles.  I’m trying to eat less dairy so when I saw this recipe while perusing Butternut Squash recipes, I found this Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese and thought I might as well try it.  It comes from the blog: Veggie Inspired Journey.  This is the first recipe I have tried from this site, so I’ll keep you posted on the others that I find.

Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese


1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in half and roasted at 350 for an hour
1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
16 oz package small macaroni noodles, cooked according to package directions (use gluten free noodles, if desired)
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid (from the squash/onion or the noodles…either one will work)
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp nutmeg


  1. Add onions to a 12″ sauté pan with EVOO and sauté until tender.
    Meanwhile, cook macaroni noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid once noodles are done cooking and before draining. Place noodles back in pot and set aside.
  2. Once onions and squash are cool, add them to a food processor or high speed blender with the cashews, lemon juice, salt, dijon, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, nutmeg and reserved cooking liquid from either the noodles. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Add butternut squash sauce to the macaroni noodles and stir, making sure every noodle is covered in sauce. Warm through if needed.

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Meatless Monday: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tacos

Let me explain…Taco Tuesday is a thing in our house.  Every.  Single. Tuesday.  While the boys are img_1448good with variations like: Turkey, Steak, Bison etc. I sometimes long for more exotic additions like plantains, cauliflower and…BEETS!  The boys are pretty adventurous eaters but, they are purists when it comes to their tacos.

I was excited to find plethora of delicious and easy recipes for Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese tacos.  However, each recipe had something I didn’t want in my taco.  So, I created my own.

img_1447A note on tortillas.  For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan of corn soft tortillas.  I found them to be bland, mealy, and they often fell apart.  However, I have found a delicious brand that is full of flavor,  thick, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious.  Most importantly, when you roll them they don’t break apart in your hands.  Success!!!  They come in white corn as well as flour and several different sizes.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tacos

2 bunches ruby beets, with the greens

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz of goat cheese ( I used a garlic and herb version)

1-2 avocados (optional)

hot sauce

1/2 tsp ground cumin


sea salt

freshly ground pepper

street taco style corn tortillas

quick pickled onions (slice onions and cover with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper for an hour)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse beets and greens.  Cut greens from beets and set aside.  Place beets on rimmed baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil.  Roast for 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven.  Leave oven on.
  2. Meanwhile, rough chop beet greens.  Then sauté the greens in EVOO over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.  Add minced garlic sauté for about a minute and then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Once the beets have cooled, peel and cut into a 1″ dice and place in bowl with EVOO, cumin, salt pepper and toss to coat.
  4. To assemble: on a cookie sheet place desired amount of tortillas on sheet and drizzle a small amount of EVOO on each side and place in oven for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Fill your tacos by placing sautéed greens, diced beets, crumbled goat cheese and pickled onions in modest amounts.  Don’t overfill your tacos!  Add sliced avocado hot sauce if desired and enjoy!


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Meatless Monday: Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions

I’m always looking for meal ideas to send in the boys’ lunches.  Their school is vegetarian and nut-free, so that can get tricky.  In addition, there is not a microwave or manner in which they could warm up their food so, a cold lunch is always on the menu.

I can always count on Cook’s Illustrated to provide tested and delicious recipes, often with multiple options!  Below is the most recent one I’m going to try.  I’ll add a picture tonight after I make them.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions


4 Russet Potatoes

Vegetable oil

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 cups broccoli florets (cut into 1 inch pieces), stems discarded

Sea salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp powdered mustard

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

3-4 scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup half and half

ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven 400 degrees.  Scrub, dry and lightly rub them with vegetable oil.  Bake potatoes on foil-lined baking sheet until a skewer can be inserted into an removed from potatoes with little resistance, 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool on Baking sheet 10 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are baking, heat 2 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides; add broccoli and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp water, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Uncover and continue to cook until water evaporates, about 1 minute.  Transfer to bowl and stir in lemon juice.
  3. Halve each potato lengthwise.  Using a soup spoon, scoop the flesh from each half into a bowl, leaving about 3/8″ thickness of flesh.  Place shells cut-sides up on the baking sheet and return to oven until dry and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth,; stir in melted butter, 3/4 tsp salt, powdered mustard, 1 cup cheese, scallion, sour cream, half and half, and pepper to taste, then stir in broccoli.
  5. Remove shells from oven; heat broiler.  Mound filling into shells; sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and broil until spotty brown, 6 to 10 minutes,  Cool 5 minutes and serve,

Other flavor combinations:

  1. Bacon, cabbage and cheddar
  2. Ham, Peas, and Gruyere

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Meatless Monday: Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut Scones

IMG_1288I love my Crockpot and will try just about any recipe in it.  When I saw this recipe I thought to myself: Oh, I hope this is good.  I posted it initially not having tried it, which I don’t normally do. But I made an exception because it looked like fun to try.

The execution of the recipe is straight forward and simple.  One note, I have a large oval shaped Crockpot so the dough does NOT cover the entire crock.  That didn’t seem to matter.  The texture was perfect in my opinion.  I am a fan normally of thick dense cream scones.  The almond flour in this recipe gives you that same dense texture.  In addition, the outer edges have a nice crispiness that is delicious.  And the flavor is divine.  Sweet but not too sweet.  And, if you use fresh berries, just be sure to be gentle with them so you don’t crush them.  Enjoy!

If you have any thoughts on your experience, please put them in the comments section below!

Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut SconesIMG_1291

1 egg
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar
1½ cup Almond Flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz Fresh Blueberries
¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder

1. Line a 4 qt crock pot with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl beat egg, sugar, and coconut oil until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries. Mix thoroughly. Add the blueberries and gently fold them in.

3. Press the batter into the parchment lined crock pot and cook on high for 2 – 2.5 hours or low for about 5 hours or until the scones are baked through. You will know when the center is firm.

4. Turn off the crock pot and remove the lid to allow the scones to cool completely before removing. Let them cool at least 30 minutes.

5. Then slice and serve.

6. Store uneaten scones in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.

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Meatless Monday: Sesame Noodles

You’ve got to love a dish that can be almost anything: lunch, dinner, snack, vegetarian, vegan, clean, hot, cold and IMG_1285kid friendly.  I’ve made the base recipe several times in the last couple of weeks with different variations and they have all be delicious.  My copy of Clean Eats has been getting a workout with the kiddos being at camp.  That’s where this recipe comes from and you won’t be disappointed.

Now, you don’t have to make the recipe “clean” but I did.  The noodles for the recipe are delicious and I feel a great addition to your noodle repertoire.  I found mine on “Thrive” market, but you can find them at International markets, Whole Foods or your local Co-Op.


Noodle base:

1 package King Soba Black Noodles

1 medium carrot, grated

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 roughly chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds


1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp wheat-free tamarin (soy sauce)

1 red chili (optional

2 garlic cloves

1 inch chunk ginger

Optional “mix-in” ideas: chicken, smoked salmon, edamame, cucumber, bell pepper, and radish


Have all the mix-in items prepared and the dressing blended before cooking the rice noodles, so the noodles will still be warm when you combine everything.

In a blender or small bowl, puree or whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package (being sure NOT TO OVERCOOK THEM!), then drain them well and transfer them to a large bowl.  Toss the warm noodles with the mix in items.  Dress the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat everything thoroughly.  Serve immediately.  If you have any leftovers, you can reheat them or eat them cold.

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Meatless Monday: Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

The name alone had me wanting one.  I am a fan of the breakfast cookie.  Plus, the kiddos love them too.  I IMG_1270found this delightful recipe on a new to me blog called: Love and Lemons.  Take a look around on this blog, it is pretty darn creative.  And, you can buy an actual cookbook, which is always tempting.  As you may remember, Ryan and I are trying our darnedest to eat clean, so this recipe fit the bill.

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

1 cup oat flour (made from 1¼ cups whole rolled oats)*
1 cup (additional) whole rolled oats* (see note)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely shredded carrots
2 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons warm water
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup nuts and/or seeds (I used walnuts + pepitas)
½ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Use a food processor or a blender to process the 1¼ cups rolled oats into a fine flour and measure out one level cup.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, the remaining 1 cup whole oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt. Fold in the quinoa and then the shredded carrots, stirring until the carrots are completely coated with flour.

4. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir well to incorporate. Stir in the flaxseed mixture.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in just until combined. Stir in the walnuts, pepitas, and cranberries.

6. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter for each cookie onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When cookies are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.
*Be sure to use certified gluten free oats to make these gluten free.

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