VMM13 Squash and Lentil Casserole

I haven’t done a vegan meatless Monday in a while, so I decided it’s time to get back to it.  I think the fact that Ben & Jerry’s now has 4 vegan ice creams INCLUDING CHUNKY MONKEY maybe got me motivated.  I am super excited to try those, but they aren’t yet in my area.  The guy at Whole Foods (I figured they were the best bet) said it could be about 2 months before it’s offered widespread and I may be able to find it.  Boo, but probably worth the wait!

Anyways, back to meatless Monday.  I couldn’t decide what to try and make today, but as it was 4:30 Sunday evening and I still had to figure it out and go grocery shopping, I voted for something quick and easy.  What’s quicker and easier than a casserole?  Decision made.

I thought squash sounded appropriate for January, and decided to add some beans to make it more of a main dish and less of a side dish. Being short on time I went with lentils as they don’t have to soak before cooking.  Plus, I really like lentils.

So lo and behold, spaghetti squash and lentil casserole was born.  And I have to say, is was pretty dang good and very comfort foody. Plus my two teenagers even liked it and you KNOW how teenagers are if you aren’t serving pizza.  My son even took a second helping and he’s one of those that would typically be going to try something, find out it’s vegan and change his mind.  My favorite thing to tell him is “You probably shouldn’t eat that apple (or whatever), it’s vegan”.

Here’s the ingredient list:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups thin sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the ones with basil, garlic and oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (heaping, of course)
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 servings instant mashed potatoes (it’s what I had)

Start by cooking the lentils in the water.  Just bring them to a boil and then simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until they are tender.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, seed it, and put it in a dish with about an inch of water. Microwave until tender, 10 to 15 minutes and them scrape the flesh out into a large bowl.  As each thing (besides the mashed potatoes) is finished just throw it all into this bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pan fry the onions, peppers, garlic and zucchini.  I don’t use oil for this, the onions put off enough liquid to get the job done.  When the onions are translucent and the zucchini is a bit tender add this to the big bowl.

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Cook the mashed potatoes according to the package directions.  I used Earth Balance butter(ish) and Rice Dream milk and they came out great.

Mix all ingredients except for the mashed potatoes in the bowl and then turn them out into a greased 3 quart casserole dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, and rough them up a bit so that they will get nice brown spots on them.

No need to cover, just put the casserole dish I the oven for half an hour and you are done.

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I have to admit, I used a lot of pans and it took a bit more time cooking from scratch and cutting all the veggies, but this was totally worth it and is going to be a part of our regular cold weather meals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perceptions

You already know by the mere fact that I live in Florida that I do not love the cold.  But I do find it fascinating how a place can look cold.  I don’t mean like covered in snow and sleet, a bit more subtle that that.  Take a look at this picture.

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With the blue sky reflecting off the water and the green little palms in the foreground I don’t think it looks cold at all.  But look again.

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This picture was taken from the same spot not even a minute later, I just took a couple of steps forward and turned slightly to the right.  To me, this picture looks like it was taken in a place that was very cold.  Which it was if you count Florida cold as cold (I do).

I don’t know why but I find it fascinating that just turning a slight bit can give you such a different perception of the world.  I can’t help but compare it to people’s mental perception.  Ever wonder why some people seem to be upset and offended by such tiny little things?  I know that I do.

I always try to chalk it up to the fact that everyone has a different view of the world which depends on their lives so far and I think a little on the attitude that they fall into the easiest.  The thing I try to remember is that both perceptions are real, both pictures reflect unaltered reality. It’s not even a matter of what people choose to see, because you don’t have any way of knowing what you would see if you chose to go a little to the left or a little more to the right.

I guess the moral of the story is there is always another way of looking at the same thing.  The next time you are talking to someone and the two of you just can’t see eye to eye, instead of trying to change the other person’s mind try seeing their point of view or at least a view a step or two to the side of your own.