Before I get to the lovely food & photos above, I need to share a bit of a back story. This past summer a good friend, invited me to a vegan cooking class at a wine bar in her neighborhood. Of course I accepted the invitation – vegan food & wine? Totally up my alley! Who knew that class would be the first of many & the start of some great new friendships?!
The classes are taught by plant-based chef, Katie Gluck, who is a recent graduate of The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (my dream cooking school) where she was trained in the art of vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic & raw cuisine. Upon graduating, Katie returned to her home town of San Diego & launched Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Katie teaches monthly cooking classes at The Wine Vault & Casa de Luz, caters small scale events, & hosts private cooking classes & kids’ cooking parties. In addition, she kindly volunteers her time with the International Rescue Committee’s “Youth Food Justice,” an after school gardening program at local high schools, where she teaches healthy cooking classes to students using the organic produce they grow. Katie is passionate about harnessing the power of food to heal disease, & her it’s her lifelong goal to inspire others to make the connection between the food they eat & its effect on their body, the environment & the world. I am so inspired by Katie & the wonderful work she is doing. Her recipes are always vegan, gluten-free, & refined sugar-free. She has a gentle spirit & a genuine enthusiasm for spreading the good word about living a healthy & healing lifestyle. Her classes are fun & informative & her food is delicious. I have made many of her recipes over & over in my own kitchen. If you are San Diego based, I highly recommend visiting Katie’s site & signing up for her newsletter so you can get up to date info about her class & event schedule. And FYI, space is limited at Katie’s classes & they fill up fast!
So back to the food! Last weekend’s theme was “Plant Powered Thanksgiving,” the faire for this festive fall menu was scrumptious:
And yes, it was certainly as delicious as it looks! Katie’s recipes are healthy, yet hearty, thoughtfully crafted, easy to follow & absolutely delectable. I enjoyed each & every one of these dishes, but the star of the evening for me was definitely the stuffed squash, which will be making an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And if you are still in search of a main event for your turkey-free celebration, look no further, ‘cause you’re in luck! Katie graciously allowed me to share the recipe!
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- Sea salt or tamari to taste
- 4 winter squash, delicata, acorn or kabocha
- avocado or olive oil
- Squash - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash down the middle, & scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven.
- Onion - warm saute pan (with a fitted lid) over low heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion & cover with the lid. Stir every 5 minutes until onion is caramelized (about 40 minutes)
- Rice - In a medium pot, over medium heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once oil is hot, add the garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add rice & vegetable stock to pan & bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer & cover, about 40 minutes or until rice is done. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook lentils according to package directions.
- Combine caramelized onion, lentils, & rice together. Season with salt or tamari. Stuff squash with lentil rice mixture & bake at 400 for 10 minutes
What a perfect centerpiece on a compassionate Thanksgiving plate! Katie served the dish topped with simple steamed kale, a sprinkle of mushroom “bacon,” & a side of maple dijon roasted brussels sprouts. Yum! When I recreate this dish, I’ll likely add some chewy dried cranberries to the rice & lentil mixture.
Now before I set you free to go whip up this lovely dish for yourself, I want to introduce you to the talented photographer behind the gorgeous photos you see above. Amy Angelo, of Amy Angelo Photography, is a San Diego based photographer who specializes in babies & children, but also takes beautiful wedding, event, family & food photos. Amy is responsible for all of the photography on Katie’s website, helping to bring her dishes alive on film. Amy is also vegan, a cat lover, an activist, & makes a delicious raw pumpkin pie! If you are looking for a photographer who is as compassionate as she is talented, then Amy is your gal!
I am super grateful to have these talented ladies as friends & am so excited to share the wonderful work they do to spread wellness, beauty, & compassion.
If you are San Diego based, why not join us for Katie’s next class, “Make Your Own Christmas Presents.” We’ll sip on minty hot cocoa & nibble on Christmas cookies while we learn how to make vegan friendly giftables, (think vanilla coconut body scrub, hot chocolate gift bags, baking mix). Also includes: adorable packaging and take-home recipes. Visit katieshealingkitchen.com/classes/ for more info. Hope to see you there!