I’ll start out right now by saying that I am not vegan. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a really good vegan recipe. Even though we consume a lot of grass fed beef and pork, we are trying to ensure that meat is a side dish and not the main focus of our meal. So when the publishers of a new vegan cookbook contacted me and offered to send me a review copy of a new cookbook, Clean Food, and told me the author was passionate about local and seasonal eating, I was certainly willing to give it a try. I had a large kabocha squash siting around (since I can’t actually resist buying one whenever I hit up Mair Taki at the University District Farmers Market, so I searched around and found a recipe for roasted kabocha squash with kale. Perfect! Two of my favorite winter produce.
Full disclosure: I received this cookbook free from the publisher. There were no expectations put on me to receive it and so far, I’ve only managed to try one recipe from it. I’ll review the cookbook in more detail in a later post and since the cookbook focuses on local, organic, and seasonal ingredients, I am sure it will be used often in our house. For now though, I did really enjoy this recipe.
- 1 small kabocha squash
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 tsp oil (note: this is for caramelization and I prefer butter, but this makes the recipe NOT vegan)
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch of kale, chopped
- 1 small bunch of collard greens, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Cut the Kabocha squash in half and scoop out the seeds. You can reserve the seeds and roast them.
- Cut the squash into chunks, leaving the skin on.
- Mix the squash with the balsamic vinegar, oil, and salt.
- Roast the squash for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the butter/lard/oil over low heat, stirring regularly. Your goal is to caramelize the shallots and get them slightly crispy.
- Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
- Remove the squash from the oven when tender and set aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic for 2 minutes, or until very fragrant.
- Add the kale and collards in small batches, stirring constantly, until the kale and collards have started to wilt and turn bright green.
- Add squash to the kale, mix, and serve, topped with the caramelized shallots.
Notes: This is a beautiful dish. The original recipe called for the shallots to be mixed in with the squash when roasting, but I completely forgot to mix them in. So I adapted the recipe to caramelize the shallots, thus making the recipe not vegan (since I caramelize in a mixture of butter and oil). However, I am sure that the flavor would be excellent the way the recipe was written as well. Plus, I like crunchy things topping my food. You can certainly caramelize shallots in oil to preserve the vegan-ness of the dish.
You can eat the skin of kabocha squashes. In fact, a lot of the nutrients are in the skin. So don’t be afraid to leave the skin on. If you chose a green kabocha squash, you’ll have even more green brilliance in this dish. The original recipe was all kale, but I had some collard greens on hand that needed to be used up, so I mixed half and half. The kale is a brighter green and I think it gives a slightly better texture than the collards. You could even add spinach or turnip greens to this dish as well. You don’t want to cook the greens too much. Just cook them long enough for them to wilt nicely and reduce in volume by about 1/3 to 1/2.
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