Autumn Squash Bake – $3.67 recipe/ $0.46 serving

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This lovely little casserole is a perfect side dish for a potluck. Layered with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and hearty baked tofu, it browns very nicely in the oven and reheats beautifully.

Ingredients

1 yellow squash ($0.30)

1 zucchini ($0.34)

1 orange bell pepper ($0.89)

1 block soft tofu ($1.85)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.05)

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.10)

1 tsp. dill ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. coriander ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1/4 tsp. cayenne ($0.02)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Slice squash and zucchini, and dice bell pepper. 

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3. Grease dish with oil and layer with zucchini. Set aside, now cook your tofu. 

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4. Crumble soft tofu in a pan, add in peppers, herbs, and non-dairy butter. Saute for 10 minutes on high. 

5. Layer sauteed tofu mixture on top of zucchini in casserole dish. Then add another layer of zucchini and yellow squash, reserving enough to make a design on the very top of the casserole. Spread the remaining tofu mixture on top of the squash and zucchini.

6. Now make a pattern with the reserved squash. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a few cranks of fresh black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. 

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7. Now serve! Use a slotted spoon as there may be a bit of reserve liquid on the bottom of the casserole. The extra liquid is important, it enables you to easily re-heat the casserole without it drying out.

Homemade Massaman Curry with Tumeric Rice

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Homemade curry paste is a real treat. This sauce may look commonplace, but don’t be fooled, it has complex flavors blended fragrantly into every bite. Traditional Thai Massaman curry includes meat as well as shrimp paste, this version omits those and replaces them with perfectly cooked potatoes, tender carrots, crispy tofu, and cashews.

Ingredients

(For the homemade curry paste)

8 dried thai chili peppers (soaked for 20 minutes, then seeded and diced)

2 tsp. coriander

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground white pepper

1 stem lemongrass, chopped

1/2 tsp. galanga powder

(for the rest of the curry dish)

1 box firm tofu

4 medium potatoes (I used classic brown Idaho)

3 large carrots

5 tbsp. homemade curry paste

2 cans coconut milk

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cinnamon stick

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup cashews (you can use peanuts if you prefer)

(for the rice)

1 tbsp. tumeric

2 cups rice (Jasmine or Basmati)

1. First you can prep your vegetables, and chop any herbs. I like to chop the potatoes and carrots very roughly, in big chunks- with the long cooking time even larger pieces of potato and carrot will be perfectly cooked.  

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2. Now make your curry paste- combine all the ingredients for the paste in the order that they are listed above, pureeing them in your food processor.

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3. Cube and fry your tofu, and set aside. 

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4. Add olive oil, cashews, and curry paste to a large pot, saute on high for about 4 minutes. The aroma of the paste will become very strong, but the cashews should not be burning- add more oil if necessary. 

5. Add coconut milk to pot, also throw in potatoes and carrots. Add in vegetable stock along with tamarind, cardamom (shelled), cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook covered over medium high for 20 minutes. You may want to make your tumeric rice while the curry simmers. I used Basmati rice, as the rice is cooking add enough tumeric to fully color the rice yellow. 

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6. Now cook uncovered over medium for 30 minutes. This gives the sauce time to thicken and become more multifaceted. Once this is done, gently mix in the fried tofu. The sauce should be beautifully fragrant and creamy. 

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Serve with rice, add garnish of your choice (shallots, cilantro, and basil would all work well).

Butternut Stuffed Shells

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These creamy, warm pockets of sunshine are delicious and easy to make. The flavor profile is quintessentially autumnal, and the presentation is so easy and beautiful. This recipe makes two pans of shells, so it ends up being a frugal meal as well.

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash (mine was around 4 lb.)

1 box medium firm tofu

1 box large shell pasta

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

olive oil

1. First you need to halve and bake your squash. Preheat your oven to 400, slice your squash, and rub olive oil evenly into the flesh of the squash, sprinkle oregano and dried basil over the oil. Bake until the squash is tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. Remove from oven, turn oven heat down to 350. Let squash cool on the counter for at least 10 minutes. 

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2. While waiting for squash to cool, heat a pot of water and cook the shells. When the shells are done cooking, drain them, rinse with cold water, and leave them momentarily in the strainer. 

3. Scoop the squash out of its skin and put in a medium-large pot. Get as much of the tender squash into the pot as possible. 

4. Add tofu, fresh dill, and half of the basil to the mixture in the pot. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to fully puree and combine the ingredients. 

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5. Now you need to prepare your casserole pan, mine are fairly small so I used two. Spoon a thin layer of crushed tomatoes onto the surface of your pans. Then you can stuff the shells with your squash tofu ricotta, and set them in the pan. Top with sauce, and the remainder of the fresh basil. 

6. Put the casserole pans in the oven for about 20 minutes. You could top these off with nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, red pepper flakes, or even pesto. 

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Enjoy!

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