I try to eat a pretty healthy and mostly unprocessed gluten-free diet, but I do love mac & cheese. This is my new favorite way to make it—a healthier cheese sauce that uses pureed butternut squash and milk as the base with just a bit of shredded cheese, topped off with cheese and buttered breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven until it’s bubbly inside and toasty on top. This is also a great way to get picky kids to eat vegetables—the sauce tastes cheesy, not squashy! For an extra bit of richness, use whole milk instead of 2%.
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2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked butternut squash
1 ¼ cup 2 % milk
½ tsp sea salt + more to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 lb gluten-free pasta (macaroni, penne, ziti, or rigatoni are best)
1½ cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp melted butter
Finely minced herbs for garnish
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place a large pot of salted water to boil and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft. Remove from heat and add squash, 1 cup of milk, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend squash mixture until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or blender and puree in batches.
Add additional ¼ cup of milk as necessary, you want a thick sauce but you don’t want it too chunky. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella and additional salt and pepper to taste.
Once the water is boiling, cook pasta until very al dente (3-4 minutes less than you would normally cook it, this will help prevent the pasta from becoming mushy as it cooks longer in the oven). Drain pasta and return to pot. Add squash sauce and stir until all of the pasta is evenly coated. Pour into prepared baking dish.
Stir bread crumbs into melted butter. Top pasta with remaining mozzarella and buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the cheese and breadcrumbs are toasty and the edges of the pasta are browned.
Top with your favorite fresh herbs such as basil or parsley.
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Everyone loves cakes and bread made with pumpkin this time of year (especially me). But have you ever tried sweet potato cake? It is not nearly as popular but it is just as delicious as its pumpkin counterpart, if not more so.
The great thing about making dessert with vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini is that due to the vegetables’ water content the recipe will likely call for vegetable oil instead of butter. And therefore these delicious cakes are also perfect pareve dessert choices. No need to scramble to alter the recipe for a meat meal.
I have been making this recipe for sweet potato cake for years and people are always shocked when I share that the recipe is dairy-free. And now it’s your turn to wow guests with this sweet treat.
When paired with Martha Stewart’s simple Marshmallow Frosting Recipe it makes the perfect Fall dessert. And hey, this totally counts as a serving of vegetables, so have two.
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Half recipe for Marshmallow Frosting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 40-50 minutes ofr until soft. Let cool.
Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh. Place in a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until smooth.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add pureed sweet potatoes, sugar and oil to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches; beat just until blended.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line and grease muffin tins. Fill muffin trays until 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out cool. Allow to cool.
Pipe frosting in a swirl on top of each cupcake. Using a hand-held blow torch, gently drag the torch across the frosting, toasting the frosting until just lightly brown.
Have you ever taken a trip to your local farmer’s market and seen some pumpkins or squash like this:
And you thought, “I must have one of those!” Then you brought it home, sat it down on the counter, scratched your head and said – “ok, now what the heck do I do with this!?”
But then I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
Pasta? Nah.Too much work.
Pie? Seemed liked a waste.
Combine with beer and cheese for a rich and warming soup? Ding ding ding!
Most surprising thing about the white pumpkin was actually the color – the flesh is slightly yellow inside, not the same white of the outside. And when roasted, the flesh becomes even darker, resembling a cheese pumpkin puree.
So please welcome to the world my White Pumpkin Cheddar Ale Soup. Pair this was a big hunk of crusty bread, green salad and a cold pumpkin beer for a well-rounded and happy meal.
1 medium sized white pumpkin
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle pumpkin ale or other seasonal ale
½ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Pepitas or dried pumpkin seeds
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin in halves or quarters and spread on a baking sheet. Season inside of pumpkin with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast until flesh is fork tender and juices are released, around 45-60 minutes.
Allow pumpkin to cool.
Scoop pumpkin flesh and place in food processor fitted with blade. Puree pumpkin in batches until smooth. You can add a cup of stock if it makes this part easier.
Remove pumpkin puree and place into large pot along with half the vegetable stock. Heat through on medium-high heat.
Add butter and cheddar, whisking until melted. Add remaining vegetable stock.
Add beer, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer and cook for another 10 minutes on low-medium heat.
Garnish with pepitas or pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. You can even add a dollop of creme fraiche if you're feeling extra fancy.
I don’t know about you but I am just thrilled that September is over and we have moved past the chagim and into a new month. Beyond the happiness I feel for the chaos of the holidays being behind us, like many others I am so happy that it is officially fall and that everywhere I look there are pumpkins! While the temperatures where I live in Boston have remained in the 70’s it is still fall and therefore time for soup.
A few years ago, my husband and I went to New Orleans to visit friends. The wife, who is a fantastic cook, is always trying new recipes and she made us a delicious pumpkin soup. It was a fall version of minestrone soup with totally different flavors than I had tasted before. I happily received the recipe from her, and have been experimenting with her version ever since. Anything with pumpkin is a must try and anything that is easily brought as lunch the next day is also a winner, and I promise, this make a great lunch!
For this recipe, I toast the pumpkin seeds with salt and cayenne pepper to top the soup. It adds extra crunch and flavor.
1 19 oz can of chickpeas
4 carrots, cut into 2-3 large chunks
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 large onion, quartered
salt and pepper
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp (less or more to taste) cayenne pepper
7 oz pumpkin, cut into 6-8 large chunks (peeled and seeds discarded)
4 zucchini, cut into 3-4 large chunks
half a green cabbage, quartered
4-5 stalks celery cut coarsely
7 cups of water
I cup prepared Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 bay leaf
Bring salted water to a boil.
Add the carrots, potatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Cook 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary and remove the bay leaf.
Prepare the couscous according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Place a heap of couscous in a deep dish. Arrange the vegetables on top and ladle the soup around and over the couscous.
If you don’t love the fall, well, you may want to examine your sanity. I can think of few things that are better than a crisp fall day with sun shining, leaves turning and the faint scent of spiced cider in the air. I love fall jackets, apple picking and just about ANYTHING made with pumpkins.
Each year I add a new set of dishes to my fall flavors repertoire, which very often combines pumpkin, sweet potato or squash and some kind of cheese. In years past I have created Pumpkin Lasagna, Mac ‘n Sweet Potato Cheesy Sauce and even Pumpkin Pizza with Goat Cheese and Fried Shallots. The Nosher even has a recipe for Pumpkin Challah!
The first pumpkin dish of my Autumn might seem like a weird combination, but I assure you it is savory, satisfying and delicious – Pumpkin Corn Ricotta Enchiladas! This recipe was inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite blogs called “Naturally Ella” which features seasonal, vegetarian food that always looks beautiful and delicious. Erin’s Roasted Corn Ricotta Enchiladas with Chipotle Tomato Sauce easily morphed into my version using pumpkin puree and a short-cut using canned tomato sauce.
This is a great dish to make on a Sunday to eat for dinner during the week, or even for a dairy lunch during Sukkot. After all – enchiladas are “stuffed’ making this (almost) traditional for the festival holiday.
2 ears fresh corn
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Pinch fresh pepper
1 cup ricotta
½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh preferably, but canned is fine)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh lime zest
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
2 ½ cups canned tomato puree
2-3 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
4-6 whole wheat tortillas
½ cup grated cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove corn from the cob and place in a small bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread corn out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until kernels are soft and starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, combine ricotta, pumpkin puree, lime juice and zest, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Add cooled corn to ricotta mixture.
In a small sauce pan mix together tomato puree and chipotle chilies in adobo and heat until warmed through. Depending on how much spice you like, you can add more or less of the chilies.
Spread the bottom of an 8x5 pyrex dish or baking pan with ½ cup of the tomato sauce. Spoon around ½ cup pumpkin ricotta mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Roll up gently (but tightly) and place fold side down in pan. Cover with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is completely melted and bubbling.
Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with slices of avocado, black beans and Greek yogurt (or sour cream).
Did you know that it is traditional to eat stuffed foods on Sukkot?
Originally, I thought it was just because they tasted good. Not quite content, I did a little bit of research and came up with a few answers.
Some say that we eat stuffed cabbage on Simchat Torah because if you put two of these bundles together they look the two tablets of the Ten Commandments.
This answer didn’t thrill me because two store-bought dinner rolls have the same effect, except they don’t require, blood, sweat, and tears to serve them.
A bit more digging and I uncovered another answer: we eat stuffed foods because they symbolize an overwhelming bounty. Fall is when farmers harvest wheat in Israel. A simple vegetable overflowing with delicious filling reminds us of our desire for a year of overflowing harvest.
In biblical times, farmers would put collecting their crops on hold to sit in a sukkah with their family and celebrate Sukkot. Sitting out on the field studying Torah with their children, these farmers were surrounded by two great desires; one, that this year’s harvest would be plentiful and two that like those vegetables, their year would be bursting with moments like that one, doing what they loved most, studying Torah with who they loved most.
In the year 2013, when most of us do not run out to cut wheat, and the closest thing we’ve done to harvesting is scope out sales at the mall, I think it’s time to give this ancient tradition a modern twist – and what better than with dessert!
This is a healthy autumn dessert that helps you stick to your new year resolutions. Or you can serve it with a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. My favorite part about this recipe is that if I somehow end up with leftovers, I can have dessert for breakfast without even the slightest bit of guilt!
5 large apples (whichever variety you prefer)
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of instant oatmeal
1/4 cup of craisins
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted margarine cut into five small cubes
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and boil 1 1/2 cups of water.
Place a small pan over a medium heat and toast your spices and nuts. Toast until they become fragrant, around 3-5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
This shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Keep an eye on them while you continue with the recipe to prevent them from burning.
While you wait for you ingredients to toast, cut off the top of your apple.
You should cut off about 1/4 inch off the top, enough that it isn’t a wobbly thin slice of apple but a sturdy "hat" you can easily place back on top of your apple later.
Remove the center of your apples creating a hollow circle in the middle of your apple with an inch or so diameter. You can use an apple corer to help you remove the center of your apple. If you don't have an apple corer you can also using a paring knife or any small sharp knife.
Remember the hollowed core of you apple doesn’t have to be a perfect circle as long as you remove all the pits your apple is perfect.
Once your spices and nuts are fragrant, add the almond milk and honey and continue to heat.
Once your almond milk mixture is hot but not bubbling, stir in the oatmeal and craisins.
Cook the oatmeal stuffing for a few more minutes, until most of your almond milk has been absorbed, stirring every few minutes.
Fill your apples with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling so that they are entirely filled.
Place your apples into a small baking dish.
Put a single piece of margarine on top of each apple's filling and then the top of each apple in order to "seal" the apple closed.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into the baking dish along with the apples.
Cover your baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Bake your apples for 30-40 minutes while basting their stuffing with the cooking water every 10-15 minutes.
They are ready when the apples' stuffing is hot and the apples are soft but not mushy.