Welcome to the first recipe for The Food Matters Project! Sarah and I have worked hard to make this project happen and I’m so glad we’ve finally begun. Sarah picked a gorgeous recipe to start us off—it’s vibrant, vegetarian, and strikes just the right balance between spicy and sweet—all of my favorite recipe elements in one.
By the way, The Food Matters philosophy is all about eating more plants and fewer animal products and processed foods—and the positive impact this has on our health and the environment. The project is fueled by food bloggers but everyone is welcome to cook through Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook along with us! Find out more at our website, and contribute your opinions and recipe photos on our facebook page.
Back to the recipe: I hope you’ll give this one a try. Slow roasted delicata squash, basted in an addictive chipotle and honey sauce, is delightful on its own but turns into a healthy, complete meal when served on a bed of “refried” black beans and cilantro lime rice. I improvised the black bean recipe, and the rice was inspired by aptly-named Chipotle Mexican Grill, the sustainable burrito chain we all know and love.
I raced against the setting sun to photograph this recipe late Saturday afternoon. Feeling rushed, I took several shortcuts, fortunately without undesirable consequences. I used organic canned beans instead of home-cooked beans, skipped the wooden skewers for the squash, and cooked the rice in my hand-me-down rice cooker. I hardly measured ingredients and tossed saucy spoons all over my messy kitchen counters, but the end result was a smashing success.
This recipe deconstructs well. Spiced rice and beans always make a great pair, on their own or served as sides for quesadillas, enchiladas or a baked sweet potato. Dress up rice and beans with diced avocado or a few spoonfuls of salsa for an easy meal of leftovers. To my surprise, apple slaw makes a nice relish for beans and rice as well. I’m eager to roast sweet potatoes in the chipotle and honey glaze; sweet and flavorful vegetables seem to be the best base for this sauce.
Chipotle Glazed Squash with Cilantro Lime Rice and Refried Black Beans
- 3 delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out, then sliced into 1/2 inch arcs.
- Additional ingredients: olive oil, canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, honey and garlic.
- Follow Mark Bittman’s recipe on 20something cupcakes, but skip the skewers.
Cilantro Lime Rice: Just mix together the following ingredients.
- 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, cooked (you’ll need 3 cups of water)
- 1 small lime, zest removed and juiced
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- loose 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional but highly recommended)
- salt, to taste
Refried Black Beans:
- drizzle of olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cans cooked black beans, with juices
- 1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I used jarred)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions for black beans:
- In a 10″ skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add the cumin and stir for a minute.
- Pour in one can of black beans with all of its juices, then drain the other can, reserving the juices for later if necessary. Pour the remaining beans into the pan.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and simmer the beans for 7 to 10 minutes. Use a fork or the back of a wooden spoon to mash up about 1/3 of the beans. Add more of the juice if the mixture seems too dry. Add the roasted red peppers, stir, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the beans on a bed of cilantro lime rice. Top with chipotle-glazed squash. Garnish with a couple of lime wedges.
Next Monday, The Food Matters Project continues with stove-top popcorn, my favorite salty snack. I hope you’ll all join in!