Last week I made a trip to my local farm stand and picked up locally-grown butternut squash and kale (I’m all about the local fruits/veggies, even if it is a little more expensive – you’ve gotta support your local farmers!). Besides apples, they were the only locally grown items I could find, and so I decided to combine them together into the perfect late fall/winter dish. I’m still on the whole “Thanksgiving detox” train where I want whole, fresh foods with lots of flavor without being rich or heavy. I decided to venture into relatively unknown territory, and make some vegan cheeze to sprinkle on top. I love trying new things, stepping outside of familiar territory and the further along I go on this blogging adventure, the deeper and deeper I go down the Vegan Rabbit Hole. Because some of my favorite people in the universe have allergies to some nuts, I made my vegan cheeze with almonds, hazelnuts and nutritional yeast as the main components (however, only after my dad mercilessly made fun of the fact that I was about to ingest something called “nutritional yeast”- lots of inapprop jokes followed which, I will do you a favor, and not re-post here). This dish was surprisingly easy, and I was (not gonna lie, I was prepared for the worst) pleasantly surprised as to how “cheesy” my vegan parm tasted! It was SO delicious, and it really elevated the flavor of the roasted veggies to something exceptional and very tasty.
This recipe has all of your fave qualities that you typically find on B&B: fast, easy, nutrient dense and SUPER flavorful. There really isn’t much to it (cooking skill-wise – I’m giving a hard look at you B, and all my readers who are a little cooking-challenged – you can DEF handle this one). 😉 I will definitely be making this dish again for my family for the holidays, and will wait until after my dad has eaten an entire serving before I kindly inform him that he just ate nutritional yeast. 😉 It would be a great additional to your holiday table – healthy, hearty and sure to be a crowd-pleaser because of the AMAZINGGG flavor. If you’re not down with the yeast, I would still make the topping sans yeast because the nuttiness is an excellent addition to the roasted veggies.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale with Vegan Parmesan Cheeze
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 bunch of kale, washed, patted dry and roughly chopped
- 1 medium-sized shallot, diced
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Step One: Prep your veggies. Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1″ chunks (Hint: make sure your knife is sharp enough, without a sharp edge, it will make prepping this squash a doozy). Dice the shallot. Make sure you give that kale a good rinse and either pat dry or put it into a salad spinner after roughly chopping.
Step Two: Transfer your butternut squash and shallot into a shallow baking dish. Toss with a little bit of extra olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the pieces. Stick in the oven and roast at 400°F for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
Step Three: Meanwhile, while your squash is roasting away and filling your kitchen will all sorts of delicious smells, make your cheeze. In a food processor (or even in a mini food processor, or personal size blender), combine the nuts, yeast, olive oil and salt. Blend until the cheeze becomes mixed and pretty well chopped but still retains some of the nutty texture.
Step Four: Once your squash is done roasting, add the kale directly into the baking dish. Toss with the butternut squash to combine, and allow the kale to slightly wilt. Then, pour the cheeze mixture over the entire pan of veggies and toss to combine, until the cheeze is well distributed.
Step Five: Turn the oven down to 350°F and place the butternut/kale mixture back into the oven for an additional 6 or so minutes. Be careful not to burn your “cheeze” (you wouldn’t want to bake it for more than 8 minutes).
Step Six: Enjoy!! 😀
This dish is stellar. Even your omnivore friends will be down with this buttenut/kale/cheeze combo – it’s delicious. It’s a great side dish, or if you want this to be a major player, put over your fave grain like quinoa/farro/rice/pearl couscous/whatever and throw some L’s Best Baked Tofu Ever on the side. I ate mine with some leftover Spanish Style Lentils a la L that I made earlier this week – it was a fantastic, super healthy dinner (which I give at least partial responsibility to my supreme ass-kicking in 5:45 am bootcamp this morning – BOOYAH!). As for the “is the juice worth the squeeze?” rating, I would give it an 8 out of 10 for labor input to flavor output (if you use pre-chopped butternut squash, it would skyrocket to at least a 9, and if you’re wondering – only smoothies are ever a 10 out of 10 because there is no chopping involved). 😉 😉
Also (one last thought before I send this off to the interwebs) – why nutritional yeast? Well, nutritional yeast is a great vegan source of vitamin B12 (if it’s fortified). I use Bob’s Red Mill brand nutritional yeast which provides 133% of your daily value of B12 (it’s fortified with B vitamins). B12 is super important: it plays a key role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system and the formation of red blood cells (for all of us active, vegandos out there – we need it!). I actually just got a vegan multivitamin with a whoooole bunch of B12 in there for that reason (I went a little cray on Amazon Black Friday sale and bought like $50 worth of natural foods and vitamins. Don’t believe me? See my haul below). Another important guy for us veg folks is Vitamin D (I got some of that, too). Last year when I was tested in January during my annual physical, my vitamin D level was 7. Yup, that would be in the category of extremely deficient (which was alarming, and I had to take those super prescription-level of 50,000 IU of vitamin D for two weeks to bring my levels back to normal). Remember, I’m a fair redhead (which means I don’t leave the house without SPF 30) and I live in the Northeast. Everyone is different, but just wanted to put a little personal PSA from L out there for you all to ponder. Just sayin’. (Also, the Vitamin D Council offers a $50 in home testing kit – I found this from all my Googling to find the best vegan Vitamin D supplements, just in case your insurance really sucks or you don’t feel like seeing your doctor, or you’re fiercely independent and stubborn and science-y like me and just want to do it your DAMN self).
I hope you all have a fantastic day today!!! Enjoy this butternut/kale recipe – it f***ing RULES.