Welcome to this week's Scrumptious Sunday! Ever since the weather has turned a bit chillier, I've been craving the comfort only a yummy rice dish can provide. However, the cheesy risotto I used to make almost weekly won't quite fit in my new dietary plan (no dairy and no arborio rice). So, I've come up with a lighter, veggie rich version which fits my bill.
So, since I've started using my oven, I truly can't get enough of it! I've become a bit of a roasting fool. It just adds such a depth of flavor that cooking on the stove top can't provide.
Also, enter another first for me--cutting my first butternut squash. Yes, at 36, I bought my first butternut squash and cooked it from scratch. I used to think it took so much time to peel and chop, so I'd only buy the pre-chopped squash in the deli or the freezer section. But it was so easy to do!
I know....I know....I'm actually admitting this out loud to ALOT of people. Eh, I'd like to think being so open about these types of things add to the charm which makes me "me". But, I digress....
Lets talk about ragu. This type of ragu (not to be confused with the company) is an Italian sauce made with ground meat and veggies--or, in my case, beans and veggies!
Let's dive in shall we?
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this dish (feel free to customize based on your liking):
I cooked this dish on my day off from work, when I had time to complete multiple steps and cook multiple meals. I like to prep ahead for the week....hey, I've gotta have options!
Now, I will say cooking this dish quickly would be a cinch too...just do it all on stove top using the pre-cut/frozen varieties.
I peeled and chopped the squash into cubes and mixed it with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, salt, and pepper. I roasted the squash in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes. Once you remove squash from oven, set aside to let squash cool.
At the same time, I brought 2 cups of water plus a glug of apple cider vinegar to a boil. After the water comes to a boil, add in 1 cup brown rice. Once the combo comes back to a boil, cut the heat down to medium and let the rice simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. If you need to add more water (either because it was absorbed too fast or you'd like the rice to not stick to the bottom of your pan, please add in 1/4 cup increments. It's always easier to keep adding water if you need to rather than take water away!) Once the rice is done to your liking, cut off the heat and set aside while rest of dish comes together.
Now, the stove top part....
Peel and dice onion into small pieces. Chop carrot into half moons. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium high heat. Once the oil has melted, you add onions, carrots, salt and pepper to the skillet. Mix well and cook 5-7 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.
While the onions and carrots are softening, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Once onions are soft, add entire can of chickpeas, 1 to 1 & 1/2 tsp chili powder (depends on your preference of spice), and about 4 oz of water. I'm adding the water to help get the yummy onion and carrot bits off the bottom. Let it simmer until the water has almost evaporated.
Once the water has almost evaporated, add in your cooled, roasted butternut squash and 1/2 cup frozen green peas and stir to combine.
After combining all together, I realized I had some leftover steamed cauliflower in my fridge. So, I chopped it up and added it into the dish. The veggies in this dish are flexible....I was trying to use up what I had left in my fridge and freezer. For some reason (must be another one of my cooking quirks), I love using up the all the veggies I bought the week before. It makes me feel economical and creative all at once....and also energizes me to get ready to grocery shop and replenish my stock for the week ahead.
Yeah, I just admitted I love to grocery shop! It's such a fun way to experience new, healing foods to nourish my body. Before I go more into the giddiness I get while grocery shopping and planning my meals for the week, I'll continue with this recipe. 😉
Guess what?? This dish is now ready to serve!
I dished up a serving of rice, topped it with my ragu, and with diced avocados.
Some other ways you could choose to serve this dish-- put this dish over salad greens; add in meat if you'd like; squeeze lime and chopped cilantro over the avocado; add extra steamed veggies; add extra spice (cayenne pepper, cumin, or curry powder for example); the options are limitless!
Also, this dish lasted in my fridge for 3 days, and it kept getting better each day. Guess it was all the extra time for the rice, spice, veggies, and beans to meld together in complete yummy matrimony.
As the Italians would say, Bon Appetit!!!
I'd love to see what you'd make--tag your post on IG with the #scrumtioussunday hashtag. Can't wait to see what you create!!