Friday, December 5, 2014

Green Grain Gourd Salad

You might know the stereotypical vegan recipe: Take a pot. Add a green vegetable, a grain, and a bean (or legume), cook, and call it "dinner." This recipe is a derivative of that. I first tasted it at a Thanksgiving potluck. Here's my (renamed) version. It took an hour to make, so I wouldn't recommend trying to add it to the weekly rotation. It is better suited as a party dish or for making on a weekend to eat from during the week.

Green Grain Gourd Salad

1. Prepare the gourd. The original recipe called for sweet potato, but my hostess made hers with butternut squash. Because Dear Husband doesn't eat sweet potato, I decided to try my hand at butternut squash, too. It was the first time I had ever prepared this fruit of the vine, and I dare say it nearly got the best of me. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon? No problem. Cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks? You got it. Peel this sucker? Holy moly, I'm lucky I didn't lose the end of a finger trying to get the rind off. This was easily the longest step of the whole process, and it gave me great respect for anyone who makes butternut soup from scratch. Once you've got those gourd cubes, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until fragrant and soft.

Butternut squash and farro pilaf with sauteed kale and walnuts (original title was Sweet potato quinoa pilaf with sauteed kale and walnuts -- so you can substitute out different orange vegetables + grains if you'd like!)

2. Prepare the grain. The original recipe called for quinoa. My hostess used a package of 10-minute farro that yielded 2 cups cooked. I had ~3/4 cup of pearled barley in the cupboard and simply boiled that.

3. Prepare the green. As a hardy leaf, kale is probably your best bet for this dish. Wash and dry the kale, then remove the ribs and tear into pieces. Heat garlic and (optional) onion in some oil in a large pot. Add the kale all at once and stir frequently to coat and cook evenly. Remove from heat when bright green but still crunchy. Salt/pepper as desired.

4. Prepare the salad. Combine all three major ingredients in one large bowl. Add about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon), 1/2-1 cup of chopped walnuts, and 2 tablespoons of minced flat-leaf parsley or other spices (I used ground sage). A little salt might be necessary. Best served warm.

Green Grain Gourd Salad + Lentil Loaf

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