Good morning friends,
The title of this post is a bit long but I wanted to fit as much description as possible in it because I want you guys to get excited about this recipe just from the title. And trust me, you won’t be disappointed. This recipe is just delicious spicy goodness in an acorn squash bowl.
I’ve been getting a lot of comments recently from friends that follow a low-carb or lower carb diet that shy away from plant based recipes because they either find them too high in carbs or they feel they are limited to eating only salads. Although I do agree that a lot of plant based recipes are heavier in carbs from all the beans, root vegetables or fruits, there are so many delicious ways to make a low carb plant based meal that isn’t only salad and that doesn’t rely on processed protein sources, which seems to be another area of concern that I’ll address in another post.
Now I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of high carb vs low carb diets. In one of my previous posts, I stressed the importance of eating a diet with a macro split that works best for YOU. Not what mainstream “experts” or “diet gurus” are saying or pushing onto the public, but what your own body is saying, what feels good for you. Personally (and I’m only sharing this with you guys here because I get asked this question a lot and not because I think this is how you should eat also), I eat a moderate-high carb, moderate protein, lower fat diet. What does that mean exactly? Well it means that I eat 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat. Now for some, this is either too little or too much carbs, too much or too little protein or too much or too little fat. But again, this is what works for me.
And trust me when I say, I’ve tested all spectrum of diets. From pure ketogenic diet (up to 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs) all the way to text book high carb/low fat (80% carbs, 15% protein, 5% fat) and lingering a bit in the high protein world (50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% fat), I can assure you that my current macro split is what works best for my body. But these are just numbers and I’ve learned with time that numbers are just that: numbers, and our approach to our food intake and our overall diet needs to be flexible to meet our body’s needs. For example, on weekends, I tend to eat more carbs because I’m outdoors playing with my 14 month old and my dog, I’m running errands and carrying very heavy grocery bags, I go to the gym or do an intense Ashtanga yoga class or go hiking with my husband… I’m a lot more active then during the week where I’m mostly sitting at a desk working or standing in my kitchen cooking. So I adapt what I eat because my body needs more energy.
On weekdays, I usually don’t eat that much carbs at night, simply because I don’t feel good going to bed on a full stomach and not only do I go to bed early (around 10pm) but again, I tend to be less active on weeknights. I’m not saying I eat low carb at night, I’m saying I eat lower carb. A perfect example of a weeknight dinner would be the following plate divided in three parts: 1/3 mixed green salad with raw hemp hearts with a drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, 1/3 oven roasted sweet potatoes and 1/3 vegetable and bean curry. If it was the weekend, the plate would be half potatoes, half curry and the raw mixed salad would be in a bowl on the side!
So this recipe is perfect for my weeknight dinners. And it’s gluten free. If however, you enjoy eating more carbs at night and that is how your own body thrives, then please, adjust this recipe and add rice instead of the cauliflower rice. The recipe will still be gluten free, as most rice brands are gluten free, and you’ll eat within your own macros.
It also makes great leftovers for lunch as the Biryani spices develop even more flavour overnight. In my family, spicy Indian food is always a huge hit so I make sure that I prepare plenty to have for lunch the next day, or if you’re like my husband, for breakfast!
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know what kind of dinners you like to have and what macro split works best for you.
- 2 acorn squash, washed and cut in half
- 4 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 2 Cups porcini mushrooms, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 cauliflower head, cut into large chunks
- 2-4 Tbs Biryani masala powder mix (depending on how spicy you like it)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven at 375°.
- With a spoon, remove the seeds from the squash and keep for a later use.
- In a sheet pan, place the acorn squash halves and drizzle with 2 Tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes.
- While the squash in cooking, prepare the Biryani cauliflower rice.
- In a food processor with an S blade, pulse the cauliflower chunks until you get a rice like consistency. This may take 2-3 times, scraping the bottom of the processor with a spatula to get all the cauliflower chunks. Set aside.
- In pan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and onion and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the vegetables from burning.
- Remove the pan from heat and pour the vegetables into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Bring the pan back on the heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil.
- Add the cauliflower rice and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetables back into the pan with the cauliflower rice and add the Biryani masala powder mix.
- Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
- When the 35 minutes is up, remove the squash from the oven.
- With a large spoon, very carefully scoop some of the squash meat out to create a nice hallow bowl.
- Add the squash meat to the cauliflower rice and stir.
- Add the cauliflower rice into the acorn squash bowl and out back in the oven.
- Set the oven on broil and cook for 5 minutes, watching over carefully so the squash or cauliflower doesn’t burn.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.