Maple Miso Adzuki Beans

I rarely know what to do with adzuki beans. They’re one of the easier beans to digest, but they’re not the prettiest, say, blended into a hummus. This, however, is a quick and tasty way to add some protein to a plate of colourful veggies (prepared however you fancy).

a splash of olive oil
1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 c. cooked adzuki beans (or one can from Eden Foods, drained and rinsed)
a splash of maple syrup
a splash of tamari soy sauce
1 rounded tsp. unpasteurized miso paste (I use a mellow one) mixed into a splash of water

Heat the oil in a small-medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Mix in the beans, syrup and tamari, and cook until the beans are heated through. Turn off the heat and stir in the miso mixture. Serve hot.Makes 2 servings. (It’s gluten free and nightshade-free)

Submitted by Jae Steele
First published in The Chronicle (Winter 2010)

jae steele is a local holistic nutritionist and author of two vegan cookbooks: Get It Ripe and Ripe from Around Here. She has also been a working member of Karma since 2003. More information at HyggeMama.

Roasted vegetable medley

I love beets, squash, and sweet potatoes partly because of their colour, but also because at Karma I get to meet the farmers who grow them. This roasted vegetable dish is easy to make, and actually doesn’t need proper measuring—well, unless you’re the measuring type. Beets make your bowels happy as they are fibre-rich, and are also full of vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.

6 sweet potatoes
1 bunch chives or green onions, chopped
1 c. maple syrup
5 beets, pre-steamed
1 butternut squash
5 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
3 red onions
3/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. salt
1 handful tarragon
1 handful parsley

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel and boil the sweet potatoes until soft. Mash and mix them with the maple syrup, chives, and 1 tbsp. each of salt and pepper. Spread them evenly in the bottom of a roasting pan. Scrub and chop up the beets and steam until about halfway cooked. Peel and slice the butternut squash into thin pieces. Chop the garlic and red onions. In a bowl, toss the beets, squash, garlic and onions with the olive oil, the rest of the salt, and the garlic powder. Throw the whole lot on top of the sweet potatoes and roast for 40 minutes. When you take out the pan, the veggies should be browning on top and the squash should be fully cooked. Throw in the peppers, tarragon, and parsley. Roast on broil for about 10 minutes or until the peppers are slightly brown. Enjoy!

Submitted by Sophie Muller
First published in The Chronicle (Jan/Feb 2010)

Fall squash and how to squish it

At harvest time, the season of Thanksgiving and Halloween, one of the mainstays in our kitchen is squash, of which the popular pumpkin is just one variety. Native to North America, pumpkin and many other varieties of squash were introduced to European settlers by the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. “If it were not for pumpkins, we’d be undone soon,” said an early North American colonist in his 1693 diary, highlighting the importance of these native squash to early settlers. Catherine Parr Traill also describes planting squash near her homestead, close to what is now Lakefield, Ontario, in the mid-1800s.

The numerous varieties of squash can be divided into two main categories: summer squash, which has a soft skin and includes zucchini and crookneck, patty pan, and yellow squash; and winter squash, which has a harder rind and includes acorn, buttercup, butternut, hubbard, pumpkin, sweet dumpling, and spaghetti squash.

Both types of squash have a high nutritional value, providing us with carotenoids (an antioxidant) and vitamin C, as well as potassium, niacin, calcium, iron, and fibre. Winter squash and other deep orange vegetables are especially high in beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A.

Cooking with Squash

Squash and pumpkin are among my favourite vegetables to cook with. Beyond all their nutritional goodness, they seem to contain the golden warmth of the sun in their beautiful green and autumnal orange shades, and all the sweetness of the earth in their bountiful pulp. They are a flavour sensation no matter how simply or extravagantly one prepares them, and their versatility is a bonus.

Many of the winter squashes can be used interchangeably, although each has its own particular strengths. Squash is a tasty addition to a stir-fry, soup, stew, or as a side dish baked or sautéed in a little butter or olive oil, its sweetness offsetting some of the other autumn vegetables. Because of this sweetness, squash can be used in both savoury and dessert dishes such as the classic pumpkin pie. Other desserts include butternut pie, zucchini bread, and pumpkin loaf.

I recommend using organic squash in your recipes. Squash can be stored in a cool, dry place such as a garage or porch for up to six months. Ideal temperature is 5 to 10 Celsius.

Baked squash

Cut squash in half, and scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Brush the surface of the flesh with melted butter or olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange cut side down in a baking dish and add water to a depth of about a quarter inch. Bake in a preheated oven at 375*F for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the squash.

Variation: after 20 to 30 minutes, stand the squash upright and brush with more melted butter or olive oil, salt, and pepper. Brush with maple syrup and nutmeg and continue cooking.

Baked spaghetti squash

Bake squash as described above. When cooked (make sure it is tender and soft), scoop the flesh out of the skin and mix it together with a little extra butter, freshly grated cheese (parmesan, swiss, or cheddar), minced parsley, basil, coriander, or dill for garnish, and salt and pepper to taste. For those who do not eat cheese, it is just as tasty without it.

Stuffed squash

Bake squash as described above. Scoop the flesh out and saute it in a bit of butter and add diced vegetables such as onion, carrots, beans, peas, or broccoli. You can also add cubed apples or raisings, breadcrumbs, or grated cheese or quark if you like. Then fill the skin with the prepared squash mixture.

Variation: pre-cook a grain such as rice, quinoa, or couscous, and when the vegetables are cooked, add the grain to the veggie mixture in a little butter (which adds a nice flavour to the grain). Fill the squash. You can also bake it again to brown the top.

Squash and carrot soup

1 large onion
3­–5 medium to large carrots
1 medium-sized squash
2–3 cups water or soup stock
thyme, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste
garlic (optional)
apple (optional)

Sauté onion in butter or olive oil. Peel and chop squash into large cubes. Cut carrots into large pieces and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes. Add enough water or stock to just barely cover the vegetables (don’t put in too much liquid or the soup will be runny instead of thick). Add peeled and cored apple or peeled and mashed garlic if using. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Serve with a garnish of fresh herbs.

Submitted by Karen Fliess

First published in The Chronicle (Fall 2003)