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Roasted Kuri Squash with Fruit and Nut Topping

Serves 4

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    Here’s a delicious vegan dish that’s perfect for heart health and a Valentine’s dinner. Red kuri squash hails from Japan and has brilliant orange flesh. And the skin is edible too! It’s not such a struggle to cut, and the flavour almost has a buttery nutty overtone. We paired it with a filling made of powerful nutrients that will keep your cardio ticking well.

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    Flexibility plus

    If kuri squash is hard to find, switch it up with a kabocha or acorn squash. If pomegranates aren’t to be found, substitute with dried cranberries or golden raisins that have been plumped in warm water.

    Chinese five-spice powder

    A tasty seasoning to have on hand for a myriad of dishes, Chinese five-spice powder is delicious sprinkled over chicken, pork, or glazed carrots and is so easy to make on your own. In dry pan, toast 5 whole star anise pods and 2 tsp (10 mL) peppercorns over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to spice grinder along with 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) fennel seeds. Pulse until finely ground. Pass through sieve into small bowl. Stir in 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves. Store in tightly sealed jar for up to 6 months. Makes approximately 1/4 cup (60 mL).   

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    Roasted Kuri Squash with Fruit and Nut Topping

      Ingredients

      • 2 1/2 lb (1.25 kg) red kuri squash
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
      • 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper8
      • 3/4 cup (180 mL) dry wheat berries
      • 3 cups (750 mL) hot water
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pomegranate arils
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) shelled hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) hemp hearts (optional)
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped Italian parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Chinese five-spice powder
      • Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 orange
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) full fat plain yogurt

      Nutrition

      Per serving:

      • calories189
      • protein8 g
      • fat8 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates25 g
        • sugar9 g
        • fibre4 g
      • sodium206 mg

      Directions

      01

      Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

      02

      Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Cut each half into 2 wedges. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, brush inside flesh with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake in centre of oven for 35 to 45 minutes, flipping wedges once halfway through baking, until squash is tender when pierced. Remove from oven and set aside while preparing filling.

      03

      While squash bakes, prepare filling. In large dry saucepan, toast wheat berries for a few minutes, stirring until they become fragrantly nutty. Add hot water, pouring in slowly as it will sputter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and, with lid ajar, simmer berries for about 1 1/4 hours, or until tender but still firm. Drain and strain when berries are as tender as you’d like. Transfer to bowl. Add arils, hazelnuts, hemp hearts, parsley, and Chinese five-spice. Drizzle with orange juice and gently fold together to evenly blend. Add more seasonings, to taste, if you wish.

      04

      To serve, place 2 wedges of squash on each serving plate. Spoon filling overtop. Dollop each with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) yogurt and garnish with sprigs of parsley.

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      Artichokes can be somewhat intimidating. But once you’ve made your way past its spiky exterior and removed the thistlelike choke, there lies a tender heart with a sweet flavour. The meaty bases of artichoke leaves are also edible and make perfect dipping vehicles to scoop up sauce or, in this case, a stuffing with just a touch of Spanish serrano ham and Marcona almonds. Artichokes take a bit of care to prepare—and to eat—but they present a wonderful opportunity to slow down and savour flavourful ingredients. Don’t be afraid to use your hands! How to clean an artichoke Fill a bowl large enough to accommodate artichokes with water. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into water, and drop lemon halves into water. Cut a second lemon in half and set it aside. You’ll use this to brush the artichoke as you trim it to prevent the blackening that occurs as the artichoke is exposed to oxygen. You can also rub your hands with lemon, which will stop your hands from blackening. Wash and dry your artichoke. Remove tough leaves around the base of the stem by pulling them away from the body of the artichoke, rubbing artichoke with lemon as you do so. With serrated knife, cut through artichoke crosswise, about 1 in (2.5 cm) from the top. Rub exposed part with lemon. With kitchen shears, remove spiky tips of remaining outer leaves. Use peeler to remove small leaves near the stem and the tough outer layer of the stem. Rub peeled stem with lemon. Using serrated knife once more, cut through artichoke lengthwise, severing the bulb and stem. Again, rub all exposed parts with lemon. Use small paring knife to cut around the spiky, hairlike choke and then use spoon to scoop it out. Rinse artichoke quickly under water and then place in bowl of lemon water while you prepare the remaining artichoke.