I’ve recently moved home to Michigan due to unforeseen circumstances. The weather here has ranged from blistering hot to hokey toot get out the slippers and the sweatshirts. That may not seem weird at the changing of the seasons, but it is weird when it’s happening in the same day.
Despite the radical weather that mimics the falling rain at Herb and Plow Farms, the CSA’s here are equally abundant with their enticing seasonal fare. This week, I’m sharing a family favorite of ours (Spaghetti Squash Casserole), a forgiving Kale/Swiss Chard recipe, a quick Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard, and a One bowl vegan apple gingerbread cake. May the calories not go to waist.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1 spaghetti squash (about 8 inches long)
2 T. butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves minced garlic
½ pound fresh, sliced mushrooms
½ t. oregano
1 t. basil
Dash of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 c. cottage or ricotta cheese (I like the cottage best)
1 c. grated mozzarella
1 cup fine bread crumbs (Italian style is a staple)
¼ c fresh chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds. Bake face-down on oiled sheet until easily pierced by a fork about 30 minutes. (Placing the halves on parchment paper before baking will make your clean-up SO much easier)
Let stand until cool enough to handle, then scoop out pulp and place in large bowl. Meanwhile, heat butter and sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms with herbs, salt, and pepper. When onions are soft, add tomatoes and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir this mixture into squash pulp with remaining ingredients except Parmesan. Spread into buttered 2-quart casserole. Top with Parmesan. Bake uncovered, 30-40 minutes. (Makes 4-6 servings)
Savory Kale/Swiss Chard
(NOTE from contributor Nancy Brubaker: “A tasty side dish that can be tucked into wrap-type sandwiches. “Refried beans, shredded cheese and kale in a whole-wheat, homemade chapatti is a favorite combination at our house. Swiss Chard can be used interchangeably with Kale to help use up the plentiful greens.”)
1 thinly sliced onion
In a large frypan sauté in 1-2 T. olive oil over medium heat until brown and crisp, not just soft. Remove to a serving dish
1 large bunch fresh kale, collards, or Swiss chard
Stack leaves, roll together and slice about ¼”/5 mm thick. Sauté in the frypan for 1 minute. Add several Tablespoons water ¼ t. salt to taste. Add cover, reduce heat and steam until tender. Add water as needed. Kale and collards cook in 10-15 minutes, Swiss chard a bit faster. When the greens are tender, drain in a colander. Return onions to pan and heat to sizzling!
1 T. Tomato paste
Add and stir. When this mixture is hot, return the greens to the pan. Mix, heat through, and serve.
Sweet and Sour Swiss Chard
(NOTE from contributor Alison Froese-Stoddard, Winnipeg, Manitoba: “The first year we bought a share of an organic co-op garden we were astounded by the quality and sheer quantity of greens we received. We had to find ways to eat several pounds of lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard every week! This recipe became a quick favorite.” Side note: It’s easy to see why after tasting this dish.
1 lb Swiss chard
Rinse, pat dry, and remove stems. Chop stems diagonally into small pieces. Stack leaves, roll up, and slice in 1-inch strips; keep separate from stems. Set aside.
1 medium diced onion
In deep frypan sauté in 2 t. olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins (diced apple chunks will work too)
2 cloves minced garlic
3 T. white or cider vinegar
1 ½ t. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Add along with chard stems, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Place chopped leaves on top of the mixture (DO NOT STIR IN), cover and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir, and serve.
1 Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake
Prep time 25 mins
Cook time 35 mins
Total time 1 hour
A hearty, 1-bowl vegan apple cake infused with gingerbread flavors and rolled oats. A healthier cake perfect for holiday gatherings and cozy afternoons alongside tea.
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp water)
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 T. molasses
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or sub canola, olive or melted coconut with varied results)
- 1 1/4 cup grated apple, loosely packed (~3 apples, a mix of sweet + tart)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (sub up to 1/2 cup with water)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Tofutti or Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance | butter sticks are best, not the spreadable tub)
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup flour (this is optional for thickening | alternatively sub more powdered sugar)
- 1 cup chopped pecans for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and butter two round cake pans, or an 8×8 baking dish. Add flour to coat, then shake out excess and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax eggs by mixing flaxseed and water and let rest.
- Core apples (no need to peel) and grate. I recommend a mix of finely grated, and coarsely grated. Place grated apple on a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove about half of the juice. Set aside. (P.S. you should totally drink that apple juice.)
- To the flax egg, add sugars, molasses, oil, vanilla, almond milk, grated apples, and whisk.
- Set a sifter over something to catch fall out and add dry ingredients in this order: 1 cup whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Stir gently with a spoon, then sift over wet ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix).
- Lastly, add oats and stir again to combine, being careful not to over mix. The batter should be thick but pourable. If it appears too thick, add a bit more almond milk to thin and stir.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan(s). If you’re dividing between two pans, it may look like there’s not enough batter but there is! Spread it in an even layer and it will rise while baking.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes if using 2 round cake pans, or about 40-50 minutes for an 8×8. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and the edges should be visibly browned. Remove from oven and set out on counter to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare frosting. To the same mixing bowl (rinsed clean), add softened cream cheese, softened butter and beat or whisk vigorously to combine. Then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until thick and spreadable.
- Add flour at the end to thicken (optional – or just more powdered sugar). You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it won’t slide off the cake, so keep adding flour and/or powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, add 1/3 of the frosting to the top of the bottom layer and spread into an even layer. Then add the top layer of cake and frost generously with remaining frosting, coating sides last. Add crushed pecans on the edges (optional), slice and serve.
- The cake should be stored covered in the fridge for optimal freshness, and should keep for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that, and thaw at room temp before serving.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 10 slices with a generous amount of frosting and pecans.
* Recipe adapted from my Vegan Gluten Free Apple Muffins
* Frosting recipe from my Gluten Free Zucchini Cake