Plant-based eating focuses on eating food primarily from plants. Not only does this way of eating have benefits for a person's health, but also the health of the planet.
Plant-based diets offer all the necessary fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates for optimal health and are high in fibre, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Plant-based diets have been shown to support health in many ways including strengthening your immune system, improving cardiovascular health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Eating plant-based of course does not mean you can't eat meat. It simply means your meals are mostly plants.
Looking for a delicious plant-based dinner? Check out these quinoa, lentil stuffed squash inspired by rootskitchen.ca.
- 3 Honeynut/ (or carnival /sweet dumpling or acorn squash) (medium-sized)
- ¾ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 cup dry beluga or puy lentils
- 1 cup veg broth or water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt (or preferred salt), to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
To Cook Squash:
Select either honeynut, carnival, sweet dumpling or acorn squash, or a combination of all! Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each squash in half. Scoop out seeds, brush generously with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
On a parchment lined pan, place the cut side down and roast for 35-45 mins or until the flesh is brown and a fork can pierce squash. Careful not to overcook or it will lose its shape.
Add the quinoa and broth/water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a low simmer. Cover with lid and cook until liquid is gone, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped kale, returning the lid to continue steaming. Leave lid on for 10-15 more minutes until cool. Once cool, place in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Beluga black lentil are very special so if you can find these be sure to use them! Otherwise, any lentil will do. Place 1/4 cup lentils in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce to a low simmer and cook uncovered until tender. You will have to taste test the lentils occasionally to check for doneness. You want them to hold their shape but be tender.
In a large pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the shallots, celery and mushroom until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Add peppers, garlic, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Splash a little veggie broth to de-glaze. Sauté for another 5 minutes or so.
Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the quinoa, kale and lentils. Combine well, taste for seasonings. Don't be shy to add more seasoning to make the flavors POP!
Stuff the cooked squash with the mixture and drizzle with olive oil. Add parmesan cheese if using and place in pre-heated oven at 350°F to bake for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is lightly browned and crispy.
Roots Kitchen is a weekly meal delivery company located in Ontario, serving Toronto and Prince Edward County.