You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite comfort foods to eat healthily
If you’re looking to eat healthier in the new year, that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to comfort food favorites. With nutritious spins, you can still enjoy staples like mashed “potatoes” (say hello to cauliflower!) and Buffalo chicken dip.
Keep reading to get culinary inspiration…
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Stuffed Butternut Squash
2 medium butternut squash, halved, seeds removed
4 teaspoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tri-colored quinoa (any other quinoa is fine too)
1 ⅓ cups vegetable broth, homemade or low sodium
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves rough chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, to taste (optional)
15 oz. cooked chickpeas (if using canned or bottled, rinse and drain)
1 medium orange, zested
½ juice of half of the zested orange above
⅓ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
¼ cup pine nuts (raw or toasted, optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 425F, place rack in the middle of the oven
- Arrange the butternut squash halves, cut side up on an unlined sheet pan
- Drizzle and spread 1 tsp of avocado oil on each of the 4 cut halves of butternut squash, lightly salt and pepper each half
- Bake uncovered for 55-60minutes, or until fork-tender.
- While the butternut squash is baking, use a fine-mesh sieve to thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with the broth and bring to fast simmer.
- Cover the saucepan with the quinoa with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Removed the quinoa from heat (keeping covered with the lid) and allow to sit and steam for another 3 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
- Using a large skillet, 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
- Add to the skillet the torn kale leaves and cook until just slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add to the kale the thyme sprigs, salt and pepper, to taste. Heat until slightly fragrant. Remove thyme stems.
- Add to the skillet the chickpeas, the cooked quinoa, squeeze juice from the half orange, and add the orange zest. Remove from heat.
- Once butternut squash is fork-tender and slightly caramelized on the edges, remove from the oven and allow to cool (while still on the pan).
- Using heat-protective gloves, scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Reserve this for later use.
- Add the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts to the kale and quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Ready for filling!
- Stuff the butternut squash halves with a heaping amount of the kale and quinoa mixture. Ready to serve! (Reserve any extra stuffing for later use for a buddha bowl)
- Can use acorn squash instead of butternut squash
- Can use cranberries instead of pomegranate seeds. In this case, add cranberries to the stuffing when adding the quinoa to the kale.
- Can use other nuts instead of pine nuts: chopping toasted hazelnuts, chopped pecans, toasted almond slivers.
- Can add vegan parmesan to the top of the stuffing and warm in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.