Another new person to welcome to the VBU! family! Please meet Bridge, author of iheartcrapkitchen. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Bridge and I’m a vegan (for ethical reasons) from Dublin, Ireland. I recently started a food blog and would love to join veganbloggersunite. I mainly do recipes, some my own, some replicated (credit given, obviously!). I also do some reviews of places to get vegan food in Dublin and hope to put together a list of places to get difficult to find vegan ingredients in the city too. In whatever time I have left I’m a visual artist and psychologist studying for an MSc in counseling and psychotherapy. Please follow her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I wanted to do something really exciting with butternut squash the other evening. Unfortunately I had a tremendously misspent day that wasted a large chunk of my time which would have been better spent thinking about a gourd. This involved me driving to Nutgrove (I have a weird affinity for that place – it’s basically a rudimentary shopping centre that’s nowhere near where I live), getting a ton of shopping, letting the nice cashier scan it all and then realizing I didn’t have my wallet.
So by the time I got around going back to get my wallet and redoing my shopping closer to home, I just wanted to eat anything. So I went with a straightforward stuffed butternut squash, which was fine, but it was a little like something someone would give a vegetarian on Come Dine With Me:
Fortunately the second dish I made with the remaining squash was infinitely better; a triumph if you will. The soaked cashews are optional but add the extra creaminess. Soak them overnight or to quick-soak them, put them in a bowl of water and microwave for 1½ minutes. Put aside for as long as possible (preferably an hour), then microwave again for 1½ minutes.
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto with Spinach
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
1/2 large or 1 small butternut squash, cubed
handful of spinach leaves
1 cup of risotto rice
1 onion, finely chopped small
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of white wine
3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/4 cup of cashews, soaked
1.5 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
olive oil, for frying and roasting
1. Place the butternut squash in a roasting dish and toss in a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven to roast for about 25 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC/Gas mark 6.
2. In a large frying pan over a low heat, sweat the onions and celery for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Toss in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove 1/4 cup of the heated veg mixture and set aside.
3. Add in the rice and stir well. Allow it to cook for a minute until the edges become translucent.
4. Pour in the white wine and allow it to fully evaporate, then add in 1/2 a cup of stock.
5. Allow the rice to soak up the stock, adding a further 1/2 cup each time the liquid gets absorbed. Stir when new batches of stock gets added but don’t over-stir – the rice will get smushy. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente – about 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, put the 1/4 cup of reserved celery and onion, 1/2 cup of roasted squash, nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of water into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.
7. When the rice reaches it’s al dente stage, add in the chunks of butternut squash, creamy mixture from the blender and handful of spinach. Stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Serve it up! (PS. poor image alert!)