Roasted Butternut Squash with Garlicky Spinach

12

When you first go vegetarian or vegan, it can be a bit stressful, especially if you are short of time. That’s because we’re so used to being able to ‘stick a steak under the grill’ or ‘put a chicken in the oven’ or ‘grill a chicken breast’ and so on and so forth. I got stressed about it myself when I first went fully veggie this time last year, which is why I try to come up with EASY vegetarian meals. I still have to cook meat for my husband, so it would be a hell of a lot of work if I was making highly intricate meals for me along with his meals. What I try to do is either a variation of whatever he’s having, or something simple, especially during the week when it’s all rush rush rush. But on nights like last night, he is more than happy to be part of vegetarian night because the food is so good!

I love butternut squash, I probably cook it in some variation at least once a week (by the way, speaking of butternut squash, you must try Raine’s Butternut Gnocchi!) Butternuts are high in fibre, low in calories and high in Vitamin B Complex which I need lots of for my nerve problems caused by long-term arthritis. They are also high in polyphenols (like acai berries and blueberries) which are great anti-oxidants. An all round brilliant vegetable!

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (half per person)
1 small bag of spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan salt

Method

Preheat your oven to 180. Cut the ends off the butternut and cut it in half, lengthways. Place it on a baking tray and bake for about an hour.

Take it out the oven after an hour and remove the seeds with a spoon – they should come out really easily now – and throw them away. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt over it and put back in the oven for half an hour.

9

Meantime, cook the spinach by heating 1 tsp of the oil in a saucepan. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the spinach, in small batches, along with some salt. It wilts to nearly nothing so a whole bag will end up just about filling the holes of the butternut. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes (should be less) for the spinach to be ready. Leave to the side, remove the butternut halves from the oven and fill the holes with the spinach. Serve on its own or with any accompaniments you choose. I served it with my vegan falafel, homemade tahini and some avocado.

14

 

Peace and Love!
Lauren

Chai Coconut Milk Chia Pudding

chai chia pudding2

That might sound like a mouthful, and it is… a mouthful of deliciousness and health! “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” and these little seeds were prized for their ability to provide long-lasting energy. They provide high nutrition for low calories (almost all of their carbohydrates are in the form of fibre) so this is a great food if you’re trying to lose weight. They are high in protein, fibre, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants.

You can sprinkle chia seeds over your breakfast or add them to smoothies, but my favourite way to eat them is by making chia pudding. When you soak these little nutritional powerhouses in liquid, they swell and absorb the liquid. The result is a creamy and delicious pudding. Great for breakfast or dessert… and who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast?!

I prefer to grind my spices fresh in a coffee grinder as the flavour is much more intense, but you could use pre-ground spices if you don’t have whole spices or a coffee grinder.


Ingredients

1 stick of cinnamon (3/4 tsp ground)
1 star anise (1/4 tsp ground)
the seeds of 8 green cardamom pods (1/2 tsp ground)
about 1/5 of a whole nutmeg (1/4 tsp ground)
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1 – 2 tbsp raw honey or organic maple syrup
2 cups coconut milk (I make my own but you can use an organic tinned one which contains only coconut and water)
90ml chia seeds
60ml hemp seeds

Method

Firstly, grind the spices until you have a fine powder. Place them in a bowl with the honey and salt and a few drops of the coconut milk. Use a whisk to dissolve the honey, and then add the rest of the coconut milk. Add the chia and hemp seeds and whisk well so that the seeds are well distributed through the liquid.
I normally leave it overnight in the fridge, stirring once before I go to bed. If you’re in a hurry, you could stir every hour or so and it should be ready in about 4 hours.

I layered mine with fresh mango, banana, brazil nuts and goji berries for a delicious and energising breakfast.

Health and happiness!

Love,
Raine