Butternut squash rice bowl

This butternut squash rice bowl is so creamy, so decadent, you will never believe that it’s dairy-free.  This is one of the most sinful-tasting healthy dinners I’ve ever had.

Not only does this dinner taste fantastic, but it can also be quick and easy, ready in 20 minutes.  I say “can be” because if you have cooked rice and butternut squash ready, it comes together quickly and you can have a healthy dinner, super fast.

Even if you don’t have cooked rice and butternut squash, while it takes a little longer, that part is totally hands-off preparation and it’s still an easy dinner.

I’ve made this both with and without chicken, and it’s great both ways.  I’m including the chicken version in the recipe because that’s what Tim prefers (typical husband, right?), but it’s easily made vegan by leaving it out and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

This recipe was inspired by my vegan butternut squash enchiladas, which I can’t have while I’m not eating gluten.  I love that recipe, it’s easily one of my favorites, but I might like this one even better.

 

 

Vegan Butternut Squash and White Bean Enchiladas

I hate when I’m really excited about a meal, and then I look at the pictures and think, “Oh, no!  It doesn’t look as good as it tasted!”  Clearly, I tried extra hard with this one.  See that little piece of parsley I even added to brighten up the photo?  Seriously, though, this meal is outstanding and the picture does not accurately depict its goodness.  If you are looking for a decadent vegan recipe to take the place of your standard dinner for a night, this one would be an amazing choice.  And even though these enchiladas taste decadent and feel like an indulgence, each enchilada is just over 100 calories.  I didn’t feel guilty at all when I took a third one after scarfing down the two pictured above.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can either make 12 enchiladas or you can make 8 enchiladas and have leftover filling to serve over rice for a leftovers lunch.  I chose the latter option, as you know how I love my leftover lunches!

Vegan Butternut Squash and White Bean Enchiladas

Makes 12 enchiladas or 8 enchiladas + leftover filling

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1/4 onion, diced

1 leek, white part only, cut in half and then sliced thinly, so you have half-moon shapes (reserve light green part for another use and throw out the stalk)

1 medium butternut squash, cut into small cubes and cooked

1 1/2 cups (or 1 15 oz can, rinsed and drained) white beans (I used Great Northern beans that I cooked in my slow cooker)

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (I used regular, but lite would probably work)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon arrowroot+1 tablespoon water (cornstarch can be substituted)

8-12 whole grain tortillas (I used Smart and Delicious High Fiber Whole Wheat Tortillas)

If you haven’t already, cook your squash.  You can simply steam it, or roast it.  {Hint:  I cooked the squash during Meghan’s nap time so this step was done} In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until it is just starting to brown, about 6 minutes.  Add the leek and continue to saute until both the onion and the leek are nicely browned, about 6-8 more minutes.  Add the coconut milk, broth, ginger, lime juice, coriander, cumin, salt, and a generous helping of freshly ground black pepper.  Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Combine the 1 tablespoon arrowroot with 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and mix until the arrowroot is dissolved in the water.  Add to the sauce and stir just a few times.  Give the sauce a minute or two to thicken a little, then take out about 1/4 cup of the sauce and spread it into the bottom of a casserole pan.  Then take out an additional 1/2-3/4 cup and reserve it.  If you are making 8 enchiladas, you’ll need about 1/2 cup.  If you’re making 12, you’ll need closer to 3/4 cup.

Gently stir in the cooked squash and beans to the remaining sauce.

Add a small amount of the squash and bean mixture to a tortilla.  I added about this much:

Wrap it up tightly and place in your casserole pan seam-side down.  Continue until you have filled all of your enchiladas.  They should fit snugly in the pan.  Cover with the reserved sauce.  I used a silicon brush to ensure the tortillas were evenly covered. If you are making 12 enchiladas, you will likely need two pans, unless you have a giant casserole dish.  If you are making 8 vegan enchilada babies, you will have this delicious leftover filling:

Just waiting to be eaten up as a leftover lunch!  This filling is so incredibly good on its own, it definitely doesn’t need to be wrapped in a tortilla to be enjoyed.

Bake the enchiladas in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Serve alone or with brown rice.

I am pretty enamored with this vegan dinner, and Tim likes it, too.  These were his exact words:  “The flavor’s really good.  It’d be even better if there were some chicken in there.”  Too bad, buddy.  We had salmon for dinner last night and we don’t follow up a fish meal with a meat meal.  Duh.

Meghan does not like messy food, so I knew better than to try to serve her part of an enchilada.  I deconstructed hers, serving her some white beans and butternut squash separated.  Beans are hit or miss with her.  Sometimes she gobbles them up and asks for more, other days she won’t touch them.  Butternut squash (and most orange vegetables) are normally a no-go with her, but I continue to offer in hopes that her palate will develop a taste for it.  I added some avocado sandwich (mashed avocado+nutritional yeast) to her plate to add more bulk to her meal.

She gobbled up the avocado sandwich and asked for more, ate about 5 beans, and ate exactly 0 bites of the squash.  For dessert, she devoured an apple.

Oh, the joys of feeding a toddler.