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Monday, October 21, 2013

Central Valley Harvest Bake

This side dish took first place in the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge, a school lunch competition created by the USDA and the First Lady. With a spicy kick of jalapeno and red peppers and the sweetness of butternut squash, plus a striking contrast of color, flavor, and texture from black beans, red quinoa and granola, this dish is absolutely delicious! I have adapted the original recipe so that it can be easily be created at home.  

1 1/2 Tbs. red quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. Butternut squash, cubed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced
1/4 cup applesauce (I use sweetened)
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup granola, low fat

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place squash onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment; toss squash with a bit of olive oil and spread squash out in to a single layer across the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet onto the center rack of preheated oven; roast squash for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno to squash; toss together adding a bit more oil if needed.  Return pan to oven and continue to roast vegetables to another 15-20 minutes or until squash is nicely fork-tender; remove from oven.  

While vegetables are roasting, prepare quinoa on stove top.  In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce, black beans, cooked quinoa, and oregano; season to taste with salt and pepper.  When vegetables are done, remove from oven and let cool just slightly; lightly toss vegetable mixture with bean mixture in bowl.  Place mixture into an 8 x 8 greased baking dish and spread out evenly, pressing the top of the mixture down to compact slightly.  Sprinkle granola evenly over the top of the vegetable mixture.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes, or until granola is golden brown.  

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli