I wanted to make something meat-free and different. Meat free, because, really, why not? I don’t always need steak in my meal and it allows me to try new things in the kitchen. As Micheal Pollan prescribes to those of us trying to be more conscious eaters: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It’s an adage I try to remember, particularly the “Eat Food” part (as opposed to overly-processed pre-packaged dinners, breakfast bars, etc). I’m guilty of tailoring my dinner to whatever meat is in the freezer, so I like getting out of the box at times. I stole this vegan casserole and toned it back to a vegetarian meal. No offense to vegans, I’m just not sure I’m ready for tofu cheese. This recipe is a little wintry with apples and squash and cinnamon and allspice, but it’s very filling and not so wintry we couldn’t enjoy it.
This is a spectacularly simple recipe. Bake 1 large or 2 small halved butternut squash on a pan, cut side down, for 45ish minutes at 350 degrees. Scoop the baked flesh out of the rind and mash it in a casserole dish (like you might mash potatoes). Mix in the spices: 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, allspice, salt and rosemary. They call for cardamon but I don’t have that. I may have used more rosemary as I am addicted. After tasting and adjusting the squash flavor, smooth the surface and sprinkle good blue cheese or another stinky cheese over the top with nuts of your choice. Lay apple slices over the top and squeeze half a lemon over them; this guarantees tart apple flavor. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake at 350 for 20-ish minutes.This casserole made a satisfying weeknight meal. I know it sounds too simple, but the squash is very filling and healthy. You don’t have to feel bad eating this for dinner or even taking it for lunch. We’ll be making it again.