Friday, November 5, 2010

A Vegan Tale

It all started when my dad and I passed a truckload of pigs driving to school during my senior year.  One of the pigs had his nose stuck and it was bleeding.  After that fateful car ride, I didn't eat meat for 6 months.  I think it was more from disgust than anything else.  Nothing dramatic happened for me to start eating meat again, one day it just wasn't so gross. 

That was 1999...think now 2007. 

Meat is back to being gross.  It started out being about the animal cruelty part of eating meat and transformed into just a more nutritionally sound way to eat.  I love my veggies, so it wasn't hard.  I was a vegetarian for 2 years before I dabbled into veganism.  I followed a vegan diet for 8 months and I felt amazing.  I was  loving all of the experimenting with soy, tempeh, and TVP.  Just one thing was making my veganism difficult...the rest of my family wasn't vegan.  They weren't even vegetarian.  If I would have given my husband a piece of seitan, he probably would have thrown it at me.  The only person I almost had convinced was my son who was only 3 at the time. 

Being a vegan in a family of carnivores was difficult.  Having to balance work, kids, house, and life, I didn't have time to prepare two meals all the time.  Slowly but surely dairy crept back in.  At least then we could order a cheese pizza on Friday nights! 

Now to present day...I eat fish and poultry.  I still feel bad about it. I would consider myself a conscious meat eater, and I try to at least buy free-range organic when I can.  All of that history to basically say that I love cooking a vegan meal.  I love the wholeness of the ingredients, and the full feeling you get when you combine vegetables and grains without being stuffed to the gills. So...when I have the chance, vegan or vegetarian hits my table.  Here is what I came up with yesterday before I headed out on a 3 mile run:

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced red onion
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vegan chicken broth powder (I use Frontier)
1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 tsp rubbed dried sage
1/2 cup black beans
1 baby butternut squash (mine was the size of a pomegranate)
Black Pepper/Parsley

Start by peeling your butternut squash all over the outside with a vegetable peeler to get the tough skin off.  Next cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. 

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add diced onion and saute until tender - about 5 minutes.  Add water, broth powder, quinoa, and sage.  Simmer until the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the black beans.  Stuff the filling into the butternut squash.  Sprinkle black pepper and parsley on the top and then place the squash on a baking sheet.

Ready to go into the oven!
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.  The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash, and the thickness.  Mine was a baby so it cooked relatively quickly.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

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