Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! I had such a great time making a dessert and going through everyone’s posts last time, and I can’t wait to see what people have done this time around! And how it’s grown! For a complete list of participants, click here; otherwise, enjoy following the links each blogger will post connecting you to the next person in the potluck.Without further ado…
You know when you have a grand idea and you keep thinking about it, but then you go to the store to get your ingredients and check the package and realize that wonton wrappers (which you’ve never used before) are made with eggs and your “egg” roll (oh, right…I suppose that was an obvious one, right?) appetizer idea is now a bust? You know that feeling? That was me amongst all the Halloween shoppers after work today, and so began my roaming about the store. I strolled by some large shells and decided they would work. To me, an appetizer falls into one of several categories: soup, salad, finger foods, and things on a stick. I had to figure out a way to make stuffed shells fall into one or more of those categories to prevent it from being a main dish, and this is what I ended up with: butternut squash stuffed shells…on a stick…which is removable…turning it into a finger food, with a tomato or basil dipping sauce. It makes sense…perfect sense.
- 12 cooked, large pasta shells (boil in salted water for 12-14 minutes – be careful to not overcook)
- 1 cup reserved starchy pasta water
- 6 cups ice water
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 2 whole cloves garlic (these will roast with the squash)
- 1/4 cup basil
- 1 tbsp plain soy yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp panko crumbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper and evenly lay out on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Meanwhile cook the shells. Once they are finished cooking, take them out of the boiling water and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. After about two minutes, remove the shells from the ice water and let them dry on a clean towel. When the squash is finished, let it cool and then put it in the blender with the basil and yogurt and puree. You may need to add a few tablespoons of starch water to get the blender going (I did). Once the squash reaches a slightly chunky consistency, carefully spoon it into the shells. When the shells are stuffed, lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet, holding them together with a toothpick. Combine the panko and garlic powder. Sprinkle the tops of the shells with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, throwing on the broiler in the last five minutes to brown the tops.
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic cove, chopped
- 3 tbsp vegetable broth
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp agave nectar
Cook down the garlic and shallot in the vegetable broth in a saucepan. Add all other ingredients, stir together, and let simmer to a thick sauce. Add some starchy water to thin out if necessary.
Note: at this point I was done. I sat down to taste all my food. Good, but after a day of teaching teenagers on Halloween, I’m sure you can imagine the unholy amounts of candy that came through my classroom. Feeling kind of blah, this tomato sauce with the stuffed shells was all feeling a bit heavy to me, so I thought, a different sauce might fit this better. Thus became…
Basil Cucumber Sauce
- 1 cup plain soy yogurt
- 1 peeled, seeded, and squeezed cucumber, cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
After drying the cucumber out as much as possible by squeezing it in a clean towel, cube it, and drop it in the blender with the other ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency.
Note: I liked this sauce better.
Pour your sauce, plate your shells, and serve it up.
An aside…thank you to those who put together the VVP! You are all awesome!
Or to see any of the other posts, go back to the VVP participant list. (I recommend starting with dessert).