Blue Ballet Squash Boats with Black Rice, Swiss Chard and Cranberries

Oh, how I LOVE autumn! Because with autumn comes so many delicious and amazing varieties of squash! It’s so much fun going into Whole Foods and seeing the shelves covered with the brightly coloured squashes so when I saw this Blue Ballet Squash sticking out amongst the red, orange and yellow varieties, I knew I had to have it!

P1050438

I mean, look at how gorgeous this Blue Ballet Squash is!  I nearly didn’t cut it up and was thinking about having it for decoration.  My four kids even thought it was the coolest looking vegetable they’d ever seen.

P1050407

I don’t think we all actually realise what  a power house of a food squash really is.  I mean, look at its size – these guys are big players in the game of well-being.  They’re like the big linebackers on an American football team. Plus, they simply are delicious!

P1050422Although winter squash has long been recognized as an important food source of carotenoids, only recently have research studies documented just how fantastic winter squash can be when it comes to these key antioxidants. For some groups of study participants, winter squash turns out to be the primary food source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in the entire diet! For lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin (three other health-supportive carotenoids) winter squash also comes out among the top three food sources in several studies.

P1050443

And don’t forget about the SEEDS!  Seeds from winter squash make a great snack food, just like pumpkin seeds. If you scoop the pulp and seeds from inside the squash and separate out the seeds, you can place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and lightly roast them at 160-170°F (about 75°C) in the oven for 15-20 minutes. By roasting them for a relatively short time at a low temperature you can help minimize damage to their healthy oils. Linoleic acid (the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (the same monounsaturated fatty acid that is plentiful in olive oil) account for about 75% of the fat found in the seeds.

P1050433

So this lovely, quick and easy recipe serves four.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large ballet blue squash (or another type of round winter squash will do just fine!)

A large bunch of Swiss chard

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup black rice

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup brown lentils

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Sea salt and black pepper

P1050423

Heat the oven to 180C and cut the squash into four boats.  Remove the seeds and save them for later!  You’ll want to roast them for a delicious snack!  Place the squash into the oven and let them back for app. 20-25 minutes or until the flesh is beautifully bright orange and soft!

Bring two and a 1/2 cups of water to the boil, add the black rice and reduce to simmer until all the water is absorbed.  Rinse then let it cool.  Next, melt the coconut oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.  This is a great way to really fragrant the lentils.  Allow the mustard seeds to start popping to release their flavour and then add the lentils and just enough water to cover 1cm above the lentils.  Again, bring the bowl and then let simmer until all the water has been absorbed.  Then, mix the cooked lentils in with the black rice.

P1050429

Coarsely chop the Swiss chard and steam for seven minutes or boil for two minutes.  Again, add to the black rice/lentil bowl along with the cranberries and toasted pine nuts.  Season with sea salt and black pepper and scoop a large dollop onto each of the boats so that they are overflowing with goodness!  And voila, you have the most gorgeous looking, delicious tasting, nutrient dense meal for a cold autumn night!

P1050471

Advertisements

30 Comments Add yours

  1. I have not seen this variety where i live, but I will check the farmers markets….such a cute and perfect size! Thanks for you beautiful post!

    1. juliemontagu says:

      And thanks to you for visiting!

  2. Annabel says:

    This looks so good! I love lentils recipes, and you have beautiful pictures!

  3. Hi there:) Awesome picture, awesome recipe, #Congrats

      1. You’re very welcome! Have a great weekend!

  4. nco04662 says:

    This looks delicious!

  5. Laura says:

    The color contrast is amazing! This looks and sounds delicious!

  6. Bekka Poo says:

    Beautiful presentation and yes, it looks scrumptious!

  7. xbox2121 says:

    Love the pictures and the facts about squash I was unaware of. This dish looks and sounds very good

  8. Abbi says:

    Yum! I love squash. Unfortunately my favourite, gem squash, is not really available in Europe so I have to eat loads of it when I am visiting in South Africa.

  9. This looks like it taste awesome..

  10. iBourgie says:

    Reblogged this on iBourgie and commented:
    This is one of the many reasons I love fall!!

  11. zeldab2013 says:

    This looks great! Can’t wait to try it.

  12. Chef LeeZ says:

    On first look this squash looked so much like our Thailand pumpkin I had to look at the article picture in full.

  13. Stacey says:

    Thanks for following my blog, and glad it led me to yours! Based on your “about me” we have a lot of similar interests and views on health. I start my certification in plant based nutrition from Cornell next week and am super excited about it!
    I look forward to trying some of your recipes 🙂

    1. juliemontagu says:

      That’s fantastic news about your course! I hope you enjoy trying out my recipes and if you have any questions at all then please feel free to get in touch!

  14. EricaR says:

    Reblogged this on Erica Rascon and commented:
    Think you don’t like squash? You’ll reconsider after you see FlexiFooodie’s excellent post on the varieties and health benefits! Of course, there is a delicious recipe and vibrant photos.

  15. EricaR says:

    You’ve got a great blog going here! Informative, great food photography (yum!) And recipes that make sense to the tongue and the mind. Congrats!

    1. juliemontagu says:

      Thanks! I hope you continue to visit 🙂

  16. Vinny Grette says:

    I just discovered a kind of dark red rice this summer. Am reporting that is is nutty and delicious :)!

  17. This looks yummy – definitely on my “gotta try” list!

    Thanks for following my blog, by the way.

    T.
    \o/
    Praising Jesus who gave us a variety of foods from which to choose!

  18. The River says:

    Gorgeous presentation!

  19. that squash looks gorgeous. I’m obsessed with fruit and veg! Big fan of black rice too.

  20. sandradan1 says:

    What a beautiful-looking squash. As always, your photos are lovely. SD

  21. Dash says:

    Yum! That looks delicious

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s