Some days you want to whip up something easy for dinner and you reach for one of those tasty vegan burgers that only require you to add your favorite fixings and on other days you feel like channeling your inner professional chef and getting all up in the kitchen and whipping up something wonderful.
Enter, gnocchi. I LOVE gnocchi because I am a potato-a-holic and proud of it. I don’t eat it nearly enough but when I do, I devour it like a starving woman finally getting a meal in her belly. In fact when I bought this gnocchi it wasn’t even on the shopping list but there it was and I knew it would be a perfect meal to whip up when you least expected it. And it sat on a shelf for a week, maybe two untouched.
Then we realized–too late–that we were a day late on a trip to the market and…Eureka! I reminded the hubs that we had gnocchi in the pantry, squash in the veg bowl and plenty of ingredients for at least three different sauces.
Which did he choose? Squash, of course.
In our house we love all types of squash although that wasn’t always true for my husband who used to consider it ‘pig’s food’. One day back in 2006 or 2007 I made a butternut squash soup and he was a changed man. As proof of that, this was one of his dishes.
Hokkaido squash is a small orange squash that is easy to cut with minimal fuss. It tastes delicious and it blends well with plenty of different dishes, savory or sweet. Not to mention it is low calorie (just 80 calories per 1 cup!), high in fiber, potassium and folate which means pregnant ladies should gobble it up all year round!
Once you cut up the squash you can use any cooking method you wish but we boiled it until soft and then added the squash to a food processor along with plenty of herbs & spices. Add a splash of coconut milk to give it the creamy sauce-like texture and you can use this with anything. In fact, this is one of my go-to options when I’m in the mood for vegan mac & cheese.
Since we try to keep meals mostly healthy, this dish had mushrooms, onions and bell peppers because we had a few of each on hand. Saute them up however you like but for this particular recipe the hubs used water because he is dedicated to limiting our oil intake wherever he can. It works like a charm and I swear, unless you love the taste of oil, you won’t know the difference!
Turmeric, basil, salt & black pepper and coconut cream completed the ingredients for the sauce, giving it a thick and hearty taste that’s perfect when the temp drops to the single digits.
Mushrooms are the perfect way to give your vegan dishes a hearty ‘meaty’ feel that will satisfy your appetite without giving you a big fat food baby.
Sadly we didn’t have a cocktail to go with this meal but I think warm tuica or maybe even a mulled wine would be the perfect addition to this dish to keep you warm.