Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa: 2-Ways

 Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa: 2-Ways

Apple Salsa: NOT some tomato-based, apple-saucy nightmare of a culinary creation.  I promise.

I'm a huge fan of the blog Love and Lemons; it's one of the food blogs I check most weeks and which helps fuel my recipe-pinning obsession on pinterest.  Recently I found posted to the blog a recipe for Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa and was intrigued by what was a really unexpected combination of flavors and ingredients.  

I embarked upon acquiring the ingredients, not entirely sure all the while whether I thought I'd love the final product or just take some sort of perverse satisfaction out of being open minded enough to try such a strange concoction.  My boyfriend was also a bit skeptical when I told him what was on the menu for Tuesday night.  Apple salsa?  There flickered across his face a moment of hesitation, maybe even a disbursed sense of confusion and horror as he imagined what this "apple salsa" business might entail.  His consternation was only momentary however, as he quickly settled back down into his customary I'm-a-boy-who-eats-anything mode.

The Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa was incredibly easy to make and, what's more, it wasn't just some whacked-out Fall recipe to be made once in honor of the season and resurrected nevermore.  Instead, it was actually really delicious.  The boy-who-eats-anything thought so as well, admitting that the Apple Salsa on his dish was vastly different from the "Apple Salsa" of his imagination--some tomato-based, apple-saucy nightmare of a culinary creation that might find its home properly on something like the Food Network show Worst Cooks in America.

The ACTUAL dish is not tomato-based and the texture of the Apple Salsa is more along the lines of a chunky pico de gallo than a traditional salsa.  In my version of the recipe I used a combination of three different seasonal squashes--Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash, and a Pie Pumpkin--which I roasted until they were cooked but still firm (not mushy).  In my Apple Salsa I used one extra jalapeno and substituted leeks for scallions.  In addition to being milder, I think the leeks are just prettier than scallions!

Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa Version 1: The Vegan-in-Texas Fall BBQ Extravaganza Meal  {Gluten-Free + Vegan/Vegetarian + Low-Carb}

For my first version of the Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa I prepared the recipe as called for by Love and Lemon's original recipe.  However, as noted above I used leeks in place of scallions, added an extra jalapeno, and used a combination of different squashes--Butternut, Acorn, and Pumpkin--and cooked them until they were cooked but still firm, not mush.  In other words, shoot for the squash version of al dente pasta.

I served the Apple Salsa over the warm (not hot) diced squash using large ramekins as my dish (pictured above).  The white ramekins really made the colors of the squash and salsa pop, and as we all know we eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths!  Seriously, it can make a substantial difference in your enjoyment of a meal if you take the time to boost its aesthetic.

I served the Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa with a Fall cocktail of my own creation in which I combined Sparkling Cider, Cranberry Cocktail Juice, and Campari.  I didn't measure anything and just eye-balled it, but you'll want the sparkling cider as your highest-proportion liquid and, of course, the Campari as your lowest-proportion liquid. 

And, because it's Texas, I figured I might as well serve up some oven-roasted barbecued extra-firm tofu and tempeh.  Much, I'm sure, to any real Texas Barbecuer's dismay.

Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa Version 2: The I'm Lazy and Hungry for Lunch Roasted Squash, Black Bean, Avocado, and Apple Salsa Burrito  {Vegetarian}

For lunch the next day I decided that a Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa Burrito using black beans, diced avocado, mild serrano salsa, and some plain 0% Greek Yogurt was my ticket to a tasty, lazy lunch.

Here's how to make your own I'm Lazy and Hungry for Lunch Roasted Squash, Black Bean, Avocado, and Apple Salsa Burrito:

What you need:
  • Leftover or fresh-made Roasted Squash and Apple Salsa; squash diced small enough to easily fit in burrito
  • 1 Large Burrito shell (I used a spinach variety)
  • 1/4 cup fat free Refried Black Beans
  • 1/2 Avocado; diced (or guacamole)
  • Your Favorite Salsa (I'd go Tomatillo Salsa or Serrano or Hatch Chili Pepper Salsa rather than regular tomato-based salsas)
  • 0% Plain Greek Yogurt (in place of sour cream)
  1. Heat up in separate bowls about 1/4 cup of fat free refried black beans and about 1/3-1/2 cup of the squash (you should dice it down even smaller to fit in the burrito better!)
  2. Dice 1/2 of an avocado or prepare guacamole to your taste
  3. Warm large burrito shell in microwave for specified time (check labeling) to soften
  4. Top with black beans, squash, avocado (or guacamole), your favorite salsa and apple salsa.  
  5. Roll to form your burrito.  Top with desired amount of 0% Greek Yogurt!  Enjoy!

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