Happy Meatless Monday everyone!
A few weeks ago I went down to pick up my mother so that she could spend a few days with us. This happened on a Sunday which has been used as the week’s menu-planning-list-making-grocery-shopping day. Obviously none of that excitement happened due to the travelling. Naturally being list obsessed, not having one gives me a little anxiety.
My creativity usually takes place at home where I have time to thoroughly go over all the details in my head before coming to a conclusion. There’s so much pressure involved when coming up with a meal plan on the spot in a busy crowded store (I would not do well on a cooking challenge show). My mom did give me a bit of direction though. She was absolutely adamant about having beets. She loves them! The last time she stayed over we made Isa’s beet burgers, which are awesome, so she wanted her fix again. Although those burgers are great I wanted to do something different. I have really been trying to up my creativity level (hopefully it shows).
So in the store quickly trying to think, while people were all around wanting to get their shopping done probably wondering why I’m standing in their way, I grabbed the usual suspects. One of them being squash. We have squash at least once a week. I have repeatedly mentioned how much we love squash. You can do just about anything with all the different types of squash there are. How many times can I type squash in one paragraph? Squash, squash, squash, and more squash (that would be 9 times so far). It has been a while since we had spaghetti squash so that’s what I picked out along with our other favorite butternut. After throwing a few other things in the cart I had no idea what to do with (and of course the beets) we got out of there and went home where it’s mostly anxiety-free.
All day I was preoccupied with thoughts of beets a million ways. What on Earth was I going to do with the random things I bought and whatever random things we had in the pantry? Dinner was fast approaching and the idea slowly came together. I’m rather proud of what came of it. It’s probably the most visually appealing dish I have presented thus far. That’s the beauty of beets, they offer most meals an elevated appearance with their bold color. I didn’t get any process photos for this one since I wasn’t sure what I was going to do until I did it.
Squash to the Beet
- Feel free to peel the beets, but if they are cooked thoroughly the skin will easily slide off after they cool down from roasting.
- I used Lacinato kale, the one with long straight and bumpy leaves. I believe it’s also called dinosaur kale or just dino kale. It’s my favorite kale for no particular reason. You could use regular curly green kale if you’d like. You could even use chard or spinach if kale isn’t your thing.
- To make the mold all I did was tightly pack a 1-cup measuring cup, turned it over on a plate, and it came right out.
- medium to large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 small to medium beets, both ends trimmed
- 1 cup black lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- small red onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- half bunch Lacinato kale, washed and stems removed
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- juice from 1 lemon
- leaves from 2 mint sprigs, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil on the insides of the squash and place cut side down in a glass baking dish.
- Individually wrap beets in foil and place in baking dish with squash. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan boil water, add lentils and lower the heat. Put the lid on tilted slightly and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once squash and beets are done flip squash over and unwrap beets. Let them cool until you are able to handle them without burning yourself.
- Remove skin from beets and place in a food processor with broth, tahini, lemon juice, mint, garam masala, and ginger. Blend until smooth which could take 5 minutes.
- Drain the lentils. Take a fork and loosen squash. Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until brown and fragrant, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted.
- Add squash, lentils, and sauce. Toss together until well mixed and heated through.
- Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds.