Last night I went a little wild in the kitchen with my friend, K, a very lovely, very omnivorous strawberry blonde who gives cats chemotherapy for a living. Real talk. “What do you like in your Mexican food?” I asked her, as we perused the produce section at Whole Foods earlier in the evening. “Chicken?” she responded. “Wrong!” I replied. “Cheese?!” She said again. “Wrong again!”
Inspired by a gigantic organic kabocha squash—the most delicious of all pumpkins—I grabbed a few more ingredients and got down to business. Normally, I avoid most processed fake dairy alternatives. If I want something “cheesy” I will add a little nooch. But I wanted to please K’s palate, and if you’re a vegan who has cooked for a non-vegan before, then you know it’s a bad idea to start them off with steamed kale and beanballs. Just sayin’! So I picked up some Tofutti sour cream, which I have had at numerous Mexican fiestas, and Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso—which I had never tried before.
Here is what we came up with:
Kabocha Mexican Mélange
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium kabocha squash, broiled until tender
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers, sliced thin
1 serrano pepper, diced
2 cups black beans
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup salsa, home-made (yay!) or store bought
1 lime, juice
½ tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
chopped fresh cilantro
Remove flesh of squash, cube and set aside
In large pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until golden.
Add bell and Serrano pepper. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add squash, beans quinoa, salsa, lime juice and spices. Cook 4-5 minutes, until everything begins to meld together and you have a nice juicy mélange.
Remove from heat and plate up. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
Top with avocado, an extra squeeze of lime, or your non-dairy product of choice. I still enjoy some Tofutti faux sour cream. The Nacho Mama’s was flavorful—nice and smoky—but because it was fat-free, it was a bit watery. I would gladly trade some fat for a creamier, “cheesier” texture.
On a side note: This is the first time I have posted a recipe in over a year!!!! What does this mean? This means that my kitchen-lust is returning, and perhaps I am getting over my quarter-life, I-Will-Never-Settle-Down-So-Let’s-Leave-My-Sweetheart-Move-Across-County-Rant-About-Sex-and-Love-and-Stop-Sleeping-And-Eating crisis? Maybe? Maybe I will stop gallivanting around town in my pleather combat boots until 4 am and crushing on formerly platonic friends and going on dates with 40 yr old divorcees who serenade me with Little Mermaid tunes in public? Or maybe I was seduced into this recipe by the beer and wine that K brought over. Damn, you, woman!