Weeknights are often busy. Between 2 jobs, I work a long day, then come home, tend to my dog, & squeeze in yoga or exercise, & try make a fresh, nutritious meal. Some meals are healthier than others, & sometimes cheating is involved…
By cheating I mean taking reasonable short cuts. A Gardein Chik’n Breast & steamed or roasted vegetables with rice is a staple, as is spaghetti & veggie meatballs, or a frozen Amy’s roasted veggie or vegan pizza & a salad. Other times, I’ll make a little more effort, but still just cheat a bit, as I did here, by using a pre-made red curry sauce instead of making the real deal.
A few weeks ago I received a gem of a kabocha squash in my CSA share. Kabaocha is a rare gift in terms of squash & I was determined to do something special with it. That is when I came across this recipe & flagged in on my “Veganize It!” Pinterest board. Veganize & simplify – that was my mission. A Thai restaurant in my neighborhood makes a gorgeous pumpkin curry that I often crave, so why not make a semi homemade version?
But let’s talk a bit more about our star ingredient – kabocha squash. It is a centuries-old variety of Japanese squash that is often referred to as a Japanese pumpkin & is popular in dishes ranging from soup to sushi. Kabocha is a hard winter squash available from late fall to late spring. It has a brilliant yellow-orange flesh & as its rich orange flesh indicates, it is high in the powerful anti-oxidant beta carotene. One 3/4 cup serving of cooked Kabocha squash is only 30 calories yet provides 30% of your daily recommended vitamin C & 70% of vitamin A. It’s also high in dietary fiber, especially if you eat the skin, which turns soft when cooked. Both the texture and flavor of Kabocha squash is reminiscent to a sweet potato: the soft, moist, fluffy flesh is delightfully sweet & slightly nutty.
- 1 large kabocha squash
- 8 oz firm tofu, cut into bite sized chunks
- 1 large handful green beans, cut in half
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ¾ jar of vegan Thai Red curry sauce
- Cooked jasmine rice for serving (to save even more time I love the frozen rice packages from Trader Joe’s - throw in the micro for 3 minutes!)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a foil lined sheet tray. Slice kabocha squash, remove seeds, & place cut-side down on the sheet tray. Roast squash halves for about 30 minutes until tender. Remove & let cool completely.
- Press tofu for 20-30 minutes & drain excess water. Cut into chunks.
- Heat oil in a large pot, add red bell peppers, green bean halves & sauce & simmer for about 15 minutes until vegetables are just cooked but not mushy.
- Peel kabocha squash, or leave peel on for extra nutrients. Chop into large chunks & add along with the tofu to the curry sauce. Serve curry over jasmine rice.
So simple, nutritious & tasty. That is what an easy weeknight meal is all about. Prep the veggies & tofu while the squash is roasting. Then throw everything into a pot & simmer away while enjoying a glass of wine.