Friday, September 12, 2014

Fall in love with this....Vegan Freekah and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

While technically it is still late summer, you would have no idea here in Chicago.  It feels more like November around here.  It has been in the 40's/50's and rainy.  Ummm, no thanks.  This weather just begs for a  comforting fall dish!

 We were on a mini vacation last weekend and hit up some more U-pick farms (which may possibly be my most favorite activity).  I picked an abundance of succulent peaches and Michigan apples.  On top of that, I still have a ridiculous amount of produce from another trip to an Illinois farm a week prior.  With that said, I really needed to come up with something that involved kale, red cabbage and apples.  So clearly it is time to get cooking!

If you haven't heard of freekeh, you are not alone!  I came across the grain by navigating the bulk section of my local grocery store.  Then, one night Ryan came across a food trivia game.  The question was "What is the oldest grain used for food".  For some reason, I said freekeh.  Ding ding ding.  Oddly enough, I was correct.  I found that pretty cool.  It is now considered the "newest-oldest superfood".  It is chewy, with a nutty flavor...think somewhere between barley and brown rice.  The nutritional value is quite impressive too! It is a great plant based protein and high in fiber.  So while quinoa has been on the rise, don't forget about other terrific protein blasted grains as well!

Of course any squash is perfect for the fall.  A little sweet, a little nutty...hmmm that kind of sounds like a description of me :/.  Anyway, it tastes great with the nuttiness of the freekah, sweetness of a fresh picked fuji apple and the bitterness of kale and cabbage.

Vegan Freekah and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash 

Ingredients (yields 4 servings)
2 acorn squash
1 tbsp evoo
1 c freekeh
2 1/2 c vegetable broth
2 small fuji apples, diced
1/3 c chopped red cabbage
1/3 c chopped kale
3 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 lemons, juiced
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Preheat oven 400.   With a sharp knife, cut acorn squash in half, spoon out seeds, and cut off about a 1/2 inch of the bottom of each squash, so they stand up straight.  Lightly brush evoo each squash and sprinkle with evoo.  Bake in oven for about one hour or until you can easily place a knife through the squash.

In the meantime, bring the vegetable broth and freekeh to a boil, cover, turn to low and simmer for about 45 minutes.  

When the freekeh is done cooking, transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add in chopped kale, cabbage, apples, scallions and parsley.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, evoo, vinegar, nutritional yeast and s+p.  Pour the dressing over the freekeh salad and mix together. 

Remove the acorn squash from the oven, spoon in the salad mixture, garnish with more fresh parsley and serve.  Enjoy!

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