Winter Squash Casserole
Here is a fantastic main or side dish for a delicious and, shhhh… good for you warm meal. With some prep help from my friend, Shannon and Granny, we served a vegan version of this recipe at the Fall Holy Yoga Beach Retreat. It was a big hit but I thought it could be even BIGGER! I started with this recipe http://www.simplyhealthyfamily.org/2010/04/autumn-casserole.html
I ended with this amazingly colorful and divine dish.
Makes 2 13×9 pans
1 cup cooked wild rice medley (any kind without seasonings)
1 lb cooked ground turkey or beef
1 medium yellow onion (a little bigger than a tennis ball)
1 medium butternut squash
1 large sweet potato or yam (I can’t tell the difference, and I don’t need to)
1 small apple, any kind
2 cups spinach leaves (Didn’t chop it. Too lazy.)
2 cups apple juice
1 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground thyme (because who has fresh thyme laying around!)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
About 5 turns of freshly ground black pepper
Butter to grease your pans
Cook the rice.
Peel, cut, seed and cube the butternut squash or buy it already done.
Pour 1c apple juice into one roasting pan and add squash.
Peel, cut, and cube the sweet potato.
Pour 1c apple juice into the other roasting pan and add sweet potato.
Dice the apple really small. I don’t peel it but you can. Throw it in with the potatoes for the last 5 minutes of roasting.
Cook them separately because the potato cooked faster than the squash for me. Take them out while they are still firm but not hard. No idea how long. Depends on your oven, moisture in your fruits and whatnot. Check around 15 minutes and then every 5 until they are almost done. Don’t overcook!
Chop onion, small so they don’t need to pick it out or huge so it’s easier for them to pick it out. Depends on your thems. I go small. Season meat with salt and pepper and cook. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes-ish. Remove from heat.
Wilt spinach in microwave and add to meat and onion.
Use a big bowl and put the cooked rice, squash, potato and apple with apple juice from the roasting, meat and onions, spinach, cranberries, cinnamon, thyme, parsley, 1 t salt and 5 turns of pepper. Gently mix everything together. Add a little extra apple juice if it seems really dry.
Butter your dishes and put half into each one. You may have extra. This is not a problem. Get another dish, butter it and celebrate the bounty.
Cover the dishes and bake them at 400 degrees. Check them after 20 minutes and then every 5 or 10 until the squash is the texture you like. I prefer mine with no squish so it cooked about 30 minutes total.
I kept this for over a week in the fridge and reheated it a bowl of it everyday for lunch. I probably added more salt, too. It got better each day and I was very sad to finish it.
When I make a new recipe I follow the directions exactly. The next time, I change things according to my taste if I need to. Trust yourself. It’s only food.
Can I use another kind of squash?
Probably but maybe not spaghetti squash.
Can I use fresh herbs?
Of course! You may want to add more of them as they aren’t as concentrated. Then come over and plant me an herb garden. I already have a spot.
Can I use another liquid besides apple juice?
Sure, if it’s wet. Water, broth or maybe even orange juice.
Can I make it vegan?
Duh. Eliminate the meat and butter.
Can I use other kinds of meat?
Yes. I’ve used grass-fed beef and my beef eaters preferred it. I liked the turkey. The pic shows the beef.
But I like my squash squishy.
Cook it longer.
I can only find wild rice with seasonings.
Save the seasoning for something else or throw it out.
So when you have an opportunity to retreat with me, do it. Eating is so very important and I am excellent at it. I promise.