This time of year things get busy. Really busy. Hence, I'm all over a quick meal based on what I have on hand and with ingredients that allow me moving fast.
Enter Melissa's Produce and the San Diego Food Blogger's Fall Challenge. With Melissa's bringing ingredients right to my doorstep, some of my favorite San Diego Food Bloggers and I are putting together recipes "Chopped" style based on what's in our Melissa's Produce Box.
Including butternut squash, pearl onions, shallots, dried cranberries, pine nuts, baby Dutch yellow potatoes, steamed potatoes, and packages of steamed (ready to eat!) fava beans, black eyed peas and garbanzo beans, our directions to use three or four of the ingredients had me immediately eying the squash and pearl onions. The rest would follow.
My experience with pearl onions dates back more years than I care to share. As a little girl I remember adults at parties garnishing cocktails (I think they were martinis) with pearl onions, and I recall vividly thinking those little globes would never be a part of my life.
My next experience came in the form of a winter stew, filled with way too many pearl onions that had been cooked for far too long. Again... I made the vow to avoid those pearls.
However, being an onion lover, my interest piqued with the bag of perfectly formed little onions in my Melissa's Box. Could I incorporate them and be pleased with the dish?? In a word... Yes!
Short on time and patience after a day of driving (I had spent over 3 hours behind the wheel and never left an 8 mile radius), I've never been so thankful that someone had done the shopping for me.
Grabbing the squash, I quickly had it peeled and seeded, then chopped into cubes, and the pearl onions also peeled quickly after a few minutes in boiling water.
Drizzling them both with a splash of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, I tossed the pan into the oven and grabbed a package of prepared lentils (Love this Melissa product... they just weren't in our box), a box of broth and Melissa's steamed and peeled garbanzos.
Placing the lentils, broth and garbanzos into a pot I added a small scoop of red curry paste and stirred until heated through. Some 20 minutes later the vegetables were roasted to perfection and I simply added them to the lentils. Upon tasting though, the flavor was a bit flat. A dash of salt helped, but what really had this dish dancing was a squeeze of lime. Actually, a few squeezes of lime and a handful of chopped cilantro.
I toyed with the idea of garnishing with the pine nuts, and I know they would have been fabulous here, but the freshly roasted butternut squash seeds were simply irresistible.
Bright and flavorful in about 30 minutes, this dish pleased the whole family and brought a bowl of healthy ingredients to the table.
My thanks to Melissa's for providing me with the challenge box, I think this one ranks up there as my favorite to date. How can you go wrong with roasted butternut? And those pearl onions...??? They won't be a stranger in our house any more. Melissa's made a stressful day just that much easier. Thank you!
Lentils with Roasted Butternut, Pearl Onions and a few squeezes of Lime
Bright and fresh, this vegetarian dish will warm you to your toes on a cold winter's night. And... you'll have dinner on the table in no time.
2 cups cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded - seeds saved for roasting!)
1 cup pearl onions
Drizzle oil (we like avocado oil)
1 box (1 cup size) lower in sodium broth (either vegetable or chicken)
1 package prepared lentils
1 pkg steamed garbanzo beans (we used Melissa's)
1/2 to 1 tsp red curry paste
juice of 1-2 limes (about 3-4 Tbs)
1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (my husband loves cilantro, hence we use a heavy hand here)
additional cilantro and lime slices for garnish
roasted butternut squash seeds
prepared brown rice (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place a small pot of water on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the pearl onions when water is boiling, and reduce heat. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then pour into a colander and run cold water over, or alternatively place in an ice bath.
Drain the onions and place on a cutting board. To remove skin, cut off the root end of an onion. If you then squeeze at the top end of the onion, the onion should pop right out of the skin.
Place the cubed butternut and peeled pearls onto a baking sheet and drizzle with oil (1-2 Tbs. More if desired). Toss to coat, then sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Place into the preheated oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
While the vegetables are cooking, place the lentils and broth in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the curry paste (add more if you are a big curry fan) and stir until paste is distributed. Add the steamed garbanzo beans and allow to come to a simmer. Stir, making sure everything is heated through.
About this time the vegetables should be tender. Remove from the oven and add the vegetables to the lentil pot. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Add lime to taste (we loved the lime in this dish and added about 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice) and the 1/3 cup of cilantro. Stir to combine.
Place a scoop of brown rice into a bowl if desired, and top with the lentils. Garnish with additional cilantro and roasted butternut squash seeds. Serve with lime slice.
Disclaimer: I gratefully accepted a box of produce items from Melissa’s Produce to participate in this recipe challenge. I was not paid to write this post, and all opinions and experiences are my own.
And I wanted to share a shot of the steamed and ready to eat beans Melissa's sent us. I LOVE that they aren't in cans... a new favorite.