Veggin’ Out

Butternut squash chili and portobello post roast

No matter what the weather has been like the last week or so, fall has begun! The official day of fall was Friday — even though the temperatures consistently have been in the 80s. No matter — it’s still technically fall, my favorite season, so I have prepared a few fall-inspired recipes for you, my fine readers.

Fall, or autumn as some may say, brings us more of the hearty foods, comfort foods — foods that warm your belly and make you feel cozy. Fall also is a great time for soups, stews and crock pot meals. My first recipe uses one of my favorite veggies — and now my daughter’s too — butternut squash in a nice vegan version of chili.

Butternut squash chili

(Adapted from www.savorytooth.com)

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks

28 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1.5 cups vegetable broth plus 2 tablespoons

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 jalepeno peppers, diced (or

pepper of your choice)

5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1/2 tablespoon cracked red pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon parsley

Dash chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth in a 5-quart dutch oven, or large pot, over medium heat.

Add garlic, jalapenos (or other pepper) and butternut squash to the pot, cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more vegetable broth if the pot gets dry.

Add the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes (including the liquid in the can), 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, quinoa and all of the spices. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Garnish with sour cream and-or cheese (or non-dairy options) of your choice, if you like.

You can substitute the black beans and pinto beans for the beans of your choice. I also like to include lentils, garbanzo beans or kidney beans, too.

You also can add, remove or change the amounts or types of spices to your own personal taste.

My next recipe is a nice twist on pot roast, using portobello mushrooms. Another great hearty fall recipe.

Portobello pot roast

(From avirtualvegan.com)

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

1/2 cup white wine, divided

4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 3/4-inch pieces

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, pressed

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon basil

3 cups vegetable broth, divided

4 large potatoes, quartered

4 large carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce

4 sprigs thyme

1 sprig rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit, while stirring them. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Keep an eye on the onions so they don’t burn.

Mix the flour, sage and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth to create a paste and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.

When the mixture starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings you prefer.

Add the potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, add more broth.

Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Other cooking options:

• If you have a large, heavy pot such as a dutch oven that can go from cooktop to oven, you can prepare the dish in that.

• If you would like to cook the recipe using a slow cooker or crock pot, prepare as directed and when you get to the point to add potatoes and carrots, dump it all into a slow cooker and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for around 4 hours or until the potatoes are tender. Add a little more liquid (broth or red wine) if it starts to dry out.

Stellfox is the Lifestyle editor at the Sun-Gazette.

Her award-winning column is published on the fourth Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section.

She can be reached at jstellfox@­ sun­gazette.com.

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