Monday, March 22, 2010

Meatless Monday

It's Monday, our meatless day, and so today I'm featuring curly quinoa pasta topped with stewed acorn squash.

This heavy-on-the-carbohydrates vegetarian dish is quite filling. It's also predominantly orange-yellow, the color of the acorn squash.

Lacking a variety of color, which would make this a more nutritious meal, I'd serve it with a side, like a green salad or the Winter-to-Spring Salad posted a few weeks ago.

Red, orange, green, purple and white vegetables combined or paired create an edible rainbow choc-full of health-giving phytonutrients.

I received a group email recently about the amazing green-skinned and white-green flesh cucumber; it had been showcased in the New York Times "Spotlight on the Home" series.

Apparently one cucumber contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and electrolytes.

Despite its potential as a superfood, the cucumber doesn't appear on the ANDI list as one of the top 30 foods.

But eat it anyway.

In fact below, I'm suggesting refreshing cucumber side-salad and or cucumber water as a palate cleanser to today's Meatless Monday dish.

Quinoa Pasta with Acorn Squash
1) Quarter a small acorn squash, remove the skin and the seeds, cutting the quarters into small chunks.
2) Line a skillet with olive oil, toss in a peeled and chopped clove of garlic, and the same of a chunk of ginger. Saute gently over med heat.
3) Slice one leek, and using a strainer, wash out any grit.
4) Add leek and acorn squash to skillet, stir ingredients over low heat. Place lid on skillet and let vegetables stew in their own moisture for about 15 mins.
5) There are various options for adding more flavor to the stewed squash and leeks, for instance a) Turn the heat off and stir through a big blob of sour cream or yogurt and finish with the juice of half a lime and some chopped cilantro.
b) With heat still on, pour in a good-quality bottled tomato sauce and a spoonful of capers or perhaps some sliced green olives. Stir over low heat.
c) Or you could simply serve it atop the pasta plain (as in the pic above), but then I added toasted walnuts and feta cheese (not seen in the photo), which added crunch and creaminess.

I chose curly quinoa pasta for this dish to add interest and because quinoa is one of those high-protein gluten-free grains which ground into flour and made into pasta is a great substitute for, or simply a change from, standard wheat pastas.

To Serve: Once you've drained your pasta, coat it with olive oil. Spoon pasta into bowls and top with stewed acorn squash, variety a, b, or c.

As mentioned above, you might like to serve a side of the spinach-based Winter-to-Spring Salad or a bowl of peeled and thinly-sliced amazing cucumber doused with organic rice-wine vinegar.

On the other hand, you could add the cucumber slices to a jug of water. Cucumber infused water is a refreshing palate-cleansing beverage, the perfect accompaniment to a starchy, but nonetheless delicious, bowl of pasta and stewed acorn squash.

No comments: