Monday, November 8, 2010

Squash with Root Vegetable Lentil Stew

Sunday dinnertime. My favorite squash and Jacqui's root vegetables, all carefully chosen at the farmers' market, come out to play for dinner.

First, the squash. Second, the stew...lots of white vegetables. with brightly colored skins and some gold beets to color the broth.

1 large blue-skinned (orange flesh) squash
1 cup live oat groats
1 cup green lentils
8 cups water
3 small white onions, chopped
3 small yellow beets, peeled and chopped
3 small Yukon potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 purple turnip, scrubbed and chopped
1 purple daikon, scrubbed and chopped
1/2 black turnip, scrubbed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp sea salt
dried sage
dried rosemary
dried thyme
1 bulb roasted garlic
1/4 cup (or more) nutritional yeast

What to do
First, I cut up a large squash. Jacqui helped me scrape the seeds out. Then, we placed it in the over at 400F for 40 minutes (until soft enough to be pierced with a fork). Jacqui asked why I was making holes in it -- to see if it's ready to eat! :D If you don't have roasted garlic on hand (for the stew), cut the top off a bulb, wrap it in aluminum foil, and put it in the oven with the squash. It will be ready when the squash is done.

The squash will be finished baking before the soup is done cooking, so it makes a great first course/appetizer. Jacqui and Aji, like their mother, *love* all things squash, so they really ate it right up. You can add some vegan butter if you want. Jacqui actually ate almost the whole squash (and seriously, this was a large squash) by herself. Squash lovers outnumber the non-squash lovers in my home!

Second, while the squash was baking, we started the stew. In a large soup pot, add the water, lentils (rinsed), and live oat groats. (Any whole grain will do here. I used the oat groats because that's what I had on hand, fresh from the farmers' market.)
While the lentils and oat groats start cooking, wash and chop the vegetables (onions, beets, turnips, daikon, potatoes). Add them to the soup pot as you chop them. Chop as large or as small as you'd like and your kids will eat. :) Add the pressed garlic at this point too. (But not the roasted garlic.)
Add dried sage, rosemary, and thyme. I used fresh herbs that we bought a few weeks ago at the farmers' market and dried. I took the dried leaves off the stems and crushed them in my hands before adding. Jacqui became an expert at this. Add as much or as little of the herbs as you'd like.
When the vegetables are soft and the lentils and oat groats fully cooked, add the roasted garlic (just squeeze the cloves right in) and the nutritional yeast. Reduce the heat, stir to combine, and let the stew cook on low for a few minutes to combine the flavors. If you want some more herbs, add them now.
Serve in large bowls and enjoy!

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