I don’t know about you, but I spent the holiday season indulging a bit more than usual.
It’s the time of year when I find it hardest to turn down perfectly baked Christmas cookies and red wine while I cozy up by a fireplace.
I spent a week in Steamboat Springs, Colorado with my sister-in-law’s family the week before Christmas and Chanukah. To say it was delightful would be an understatement.
I cooked almost every meal for 11 adults and 2 children and I didn’t hold back on the heavy cream or decadent cheeses.
While I’m not big on skiing, I love the culture around the sport. Meaning I thrive at sipping on hot cocoa or coming in from the cold for a big bowl of chili, and if I am very lucky, taking a dip in the hot tub to help relax the muscles.
I skied a total of one half day the entire trip, but partook in all the other activities like a boss.
The holidays are now over and reality has set in, which isn’t a bad thing.
I am not going to come at you with any New Year’s Eve clichés, but I thought it would be wise to post a recipe that you may want to make when you’re feeling kind of lazy, looking to stay on a budget, and want to eat a delicious, healthy dish.
Here’s a little tip from me to you: MEAL PREPPING AHEAD OF TIME IS WHERE IT IS AT MY FRIEND! Planning what I am going to eat for the week and chopping ingredients in advance has saved me SO much time, money and stress in the long run. It’s simple- Meal planning makes cooking more enjoyable.
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I love going to restaurants, but it’s usually not cost effective. The urge to dine out is tempting since I live in Manhattan which is arguably the food capital of the world.
Not only is eating at a restaurant expensive, there is a good chance that there are hidden calories laced into every scrumptious bite.
Also, when I spent that week in December with my two adorable nephews who are 2.5 and 8 months old, I realized that eating at home is much preferable for many families because… have you ever been at a restaurant with a toddler and a baby? Suddenly the idea of cooking even for 13 people for the week became tremendously more appealing.
I love the results that staying home and cooking new dishes has had on my skillz. The more I cook, the more I enjoy figuring out which meals scale easily and can be prepped in advance to accommodate various diets and food allergies.
The recipe I am sharing today is the perfect meal post-holidays when it’s time to put down the hollandaise, renew your gym membership, and make healthier choices. Aside from being vegan, this dish is easy to make and Sam and I LOVE the way it tastes! It is so versatile that it started off as a dish on it’s own, but then one day I had corn tortillas on hand, so I turned this meal into lentil tacos. Hello new taco Tuesday recipe!
I am also going to give you another little tip to make this recipe 100 x easier: If you don’t have the time to do your prep work in advance, buy your butternut squash pre-cubed at the grocery store. You will kiss yourself later for spending the few extra shekels and ultimately saving yourself a little time and effort.
Eating the filling on it’s own with baked tofu + cabbage soup is another great dinner option!
- 2 lbs medium butternut squash (I used pre-sliced butternut from Whole Foods), peeled and sliced into 1-inch cubes
- ¾ cup black lentils
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
- 8 corn tortillas (certified gluten free if necessary)
- Optional garnishes: shredded lettuce and guacamole
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
- To roast the squash: On your prepared baking sheet, toss the cubed butternut in enough olive oil to lightly coat all sides, about 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the butternut in a single layer. Bake until the butternut is tender throughout and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway.
- Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
- Combine lentils, butternut squash, goat cheese, if using.
- To warm the tortillas: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm each tortilla on both sides before transferring to a plate and covering with a lint-free towel to keep warm. Repeat with each tortilla, stacking each warmed tortilla on the last.
- To assemble the tacos, spoon an ample amount of filling down the center of your taco, top a spoonful of guacamole down the side. Top with garnishes of your choice and serve immediately.
- 1 large avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ cup diced tomatoes (optional)
- Pinch of salt, more to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the diced avocado, lime juice, tomatoes and salt. Mash with a fork until the mixture is blended and no longer chunky. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.