September 26, 2018

Maple-Cinnamon Butternut Squash

This maple-glazed butternut squash roasted to perfection is an easy autumn side dish and no-fuss recipe for your Thanksgiving or holiday table. Warm, cozy, and a wonderful taste of fall! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Autumn arrived last week and right on cue I began roasting all the squash 💛 I really enjoy the fresh change of flavors and produce that each new season brings. Butternut squash is an autumn delight with it's sweet, nutty flavor and warm color that makes a welcome addition to Thanksgiving and holiday tables. This simple side dish roasts buttery squash cubes to tender perfection after being tossed in a sweet maple-glaze with a hint of cinnamon. Plus it fills the house with the most amazing, comforting aroma as it roasts... pure autumn bliss!

This past year my parents introduced me to Ceylon cinnamon. After some research, I discovered Ceylon cinnamon (from Sri Lanka) is known as "true" cinnamon while the more common cassia variety from China (which I'd been using) is lower in nutrients, and has been found to contain high amounts coumarin which is supposedly harmful in high doses. Most commercial cinnamon is the cassia variety unless it specifically says "Ceylon". If you're interested in reading about the benefits/differences between the two, check out this article from - very interesting & informative. (I find I enjoy the taste of Ceylon cinnamon much more than cassia as well!)

Hope you enjoy this beautiful taste of autumn! Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this. I love seeing your recreations!

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Makes about 4-6 side servings

1 large butternut squash* (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp. cinnamon (I use Ceylon cinnamon)
1 tsp. salt
Optional: dash of nutmeg
Garnishes if desired: pecans, cranberries, walnuts, fresh rosemary, etc.

Preheat oven to 400.
Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
Carefully cut the butternut squash into about 1-inch cubes (seeds removed and peeled).
Place cubes on pan.
Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until desired tenderness, turning halfway through.

If buying pre-cubed squash from the produce section, use roughly about 6-7 cups cubed (or alter other ingredients as needed.) It's a forgiving recipe so don't be too worried about precise measurements.
Feel free to increase the maple syrup for an even sweeter taste, or add a dash of nutmeg.
Ovens vary so keep an eye on them as they roast!

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September 24, 2018

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Garlic-Balsamic

Roasted Vegetables with Orzo tossed in a garlic-balsamic vinaigrette! Easy to modify, full of flavor, and great for packed lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc. (Vegan & oil-free, with gluten-free options)

We love this dish! Flavorful roasted veggies are tossed with fun-to-eat orzo, and finished with a quick & easy garlic balsamic herb dressing. It's only 9 simple ingredients, but bursting with beautiful colors, flavors, and textures galore. Plus it's an easy recipe to modify based on your own favorites (or what's in season). You can also try it with eggplant, asparagus, fresh herbs, or top it with some dairy-free feta or olives for a tangy, salty pop. (Yum!)

It's not only versatile in ingredients, but flexible in serving & usage too. You can either serve it right away while it's warm, or chill in the fridge for later to stash away for packed lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing your recreations.

Vegan, oil-free (gluten-free options below)
Serves about 4-5 (or 8-10 as a side)

1 medium zucchini
2 bell peppers
1 small onion (or 1/2 large)
8 oz. mushrooms
1 cup orzo, uncooked
3 roma tomatoes* (or cherry/grape tomatoes)
Optional: fresh parsley and/or basil for topping, chives, dairy-free feta, olives

{For the garlic-balsamic dressing}
3 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. salt, more to taste
Optional: try a lemon variation, replacing the balsamic vinegar with fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)!

Preheat oven to 425.
Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper (or Silpat).
Dice zucchini, onion, and bell peppers (cored) into small, bite-sized pieces. Halve/quarter mushrooms.
Place them all on the baking pan and salt if desired. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package instructions. (I simmer mine about 8-12 minutes or until tender.)
While orzo is cooking, make the dressing: mince garlic, and add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Dice tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
When orzo is finished cooking, drain and place in large bowl with the tomatoes.
Immediately add the dressing and toss to combine.
When vegetables are done roasting, add to bowl and stir.
Salt to taste (or add more vinegar if desired.)
Serve warm immediately or chilled.

I also love using cherry/grape tomatoes and roasting them with the other veggies - it brings out incredible flavor!
For a gluten-free version, sub the orzo for your favorite gluten-free pasta or quinoa.
Roast your veggies to desired tenderness - if you like them very soft & tender, roast a little longer.

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Love orzo? Try it in our other favorites as well!

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September 23, 2018

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (Vegan)

This cozy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is a warm, soul-soothing, autumn meal. It's creamy and buttery (without the butter and cream!) and only 6 simple, plant-based ingredients. Make it your own with the toppings you love! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

Autumn's harvest brings such cozy, warm flavors to the kitchen. Butternut squash is a classic fall staple so I wanted to highlight it with this beautifully simple meal. It's only 6 plant-based ingredients yet creamy, buttery, and full of warm flavor. Toppings are totally optional (but recommended for additional flavor and crunch.) I love sweet maple syrup swirls drizzled on top and these easy maple-vanilla candied walnuts. Diced apple, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon are also fantastic and add even more cozy autumn goodness to the bowl 🍁

For this recipe, I like roasting the squash halves for both the flavor it brings out and that way you don't have to mess with cutting the raw squash into cubes which can be a little tricky and time-consuming. (Note: you'll actually roast the squash face down - this photo is just admiring the inner beauty.) 😉 Hope you enjoy and wishing you a happy autumn!

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram 🍓 and share a pic if you make this! I love seeing your recreations.

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves about 4-6

1 butternut squash (3 to 3 1/2 lbs.)
1 small onion (or shallot)
3 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz. can coconut milk (light, unsweetened)
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, more to taste
1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste
Serving suggestions: swirl of maple syrup, maple-vanilla candied walnuts, pumpkin seeds, diced green apple, cinnamon
Soup variation/addition ideas: sage, ginger, carrot, sweet potato

Preheat oven to 400.
Carefully halve the butternut squash vertically and remove seeds.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpat) and place squash halves face down.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until fork-tender and very soft. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a blender* add vegetable broth, coconut milk, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Dice onion and mince garlic.
In a small pan over med-high heat, saute onion for 7-8 minutes (I use 3 Tbsp. vegetable broth/water for no-oil saute method).
Add minced garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes.
Add onion and garlic to blender.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in blender.
Blend until smooth and transfer to a large saucepan on the stove.
Heat over medium for about 10-15 minutes to let flavors further combine.
Serve as is or with any desired toppings.

I use a 9 cup Ninja blender which is just the right size for this recipe. If your blender is smaller, you'll have to blend in batches if need be. (Alternatively, you can skip the blender and heat everything on the stove in a stockpot and use an immersion blender.)
For a large 3 1/2 lb. squash, I bake for about 50 minutes to ensure it's very soft. Baking times will vary based on ovens and size of squash.

More soup & chili favorites!
Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Chili

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