Summer’s over and I’m just about over zucchini and kale. It’s time to say goodbye to summer foods and celebrate everything fall has to offer. I’m not just talking about the cooler weather and holiday parties—I’m talking all things pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squash!
One of my favorite fall foods is butternut squash. You can grill it, puree it, bake it, add it to salads, and so much more. The Australians call it butternut pumpkin, as you can find this winter squash has a sweet, nutty flavor similar to pumpkin. It has a deep orange color that is full of carotenoids, famous for protecting against heart disease. In addition, the gourd’s high level of beta-carotene offers your body a ton of vitamin A. Finally, butternut squash is naturally high in fiber and low in fat, giving it just one more reason to add it to all of your fall recipes.
While I usually love the luxurious flavors of maple, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the creaminess of butternut squash, in this fall food it’s a simple addition to a vegan sweet potato boat. This quick meal or side dish is overloaded with southwestern flavors like cilantro, black beans, and cumin. Pull up your boots and try out this recipe for some flavorful fall food.
Veggie Sweet Potato Boats with Butternut Squash
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red onion
- 1 cup butternut squash
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 can green chiles
- ½ bunch chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup Daiya vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
Wash and pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake in a 400 degree oven for 40–50 minutes or until soft throughout. You’ll know they’re fully cooked when you pierce the skin with a knife and it goes through easily. Set them aside until they are completely cool.
While the potatoes are cooking, place a large pan on the stovetop and heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic until it starts to sizzle. (Be sure to not burn the garlic or it will taste bitter!) Next add the onions and cook until soft, about 5–8 minutes.
Add the butternut squash, green chiles, black beans, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until the squash is soft then turn the heat off. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
Take your sweet potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. With a large spoon, scoop out most of the inside, leaving about ½ an inch in the skin—these will be your boats! Put the leftover sweet potatoes in a glass container and store it in the fridge. (Heat it up with a little almond milk and cinnamon for tomorrow’s lunch!)
Take your filling and load up the sweet potato boats as full as you can get them. If you’re adding some vegan cheese to the recipe, sprinkle a good amount on top then place them under the broiler for a minute until the cheese is melted.
Serve them up to your friends and family, and enjoy!