Some of you don’t need me to tell you what today is.
And some of you do, which is perfectly reasonable and shall evince no judgmental or condemnatory rhetoric from me.
Today is, of course, the first day of my first-ever official participation in VEGAN MOFO!
… which, oddly enough, has nothing to do with Samuel L. Jackson brandishing a stalk of kale.
Since I’m no stranger to the frenzy of NaNoWriMo, Vegan MoFo seemed like a natural progression now that most of my writing happens in a WordPress text box, heavily offset by pictures. For the next month, I’ll be (theoretically) posting almost daily, chronicling my foray into what is to me the familiar-but-as-yet-largely-unexplored world of veganism.
Given the time of year, this foray is likely to involve copious amounts of pumpkin.
But for now, let’s give pumpkin a break and allow its unsung squashy brethren a chance in the spotlight as the inaugural recipe of Vegan MoFo 2012!
Or at least, inaugural for me.
Butternut squash is one of the few vegetables Andy and I can agree on, and as such, we can get pretty inventive finding ways to work it into just about everything we eat. We slice it and bake it as chips, cube it to throw in wraps and stir-fries, mash it for quesdadilla filling… you get the idea. We are the Lakota Sioux and butternut is our buffalo, so it only makes sense that we would ultimately end up here, eating it for dessert.
… or breakfast. Or afternoon snack. Or I-give-up dinner after you burn the noodles. BUT WHO’S JUDGING?
These bars are adapted from my go-to pumpkin pie recipe, which happens to come straight out of Vegan Pie in the Sky. They’re just like the creamy, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie of your idyllic childhood remembrances, only with a butternutty twist.
So grab your squash (NOT A EUPHEMISM), grab some taste testers, and let’s get this MoFo on the road!
for the crust
3/4 c whole unsalted almonds
2/3 c gluten-free oats
1/3 c brown rice flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil
3-4 tbsp nondairy milk
for the filling
3 c fresh roasted butternut squash (about 1 medium squash), OR 3 c canned winter squash or pumpkin *
1/2 c agave, maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
1/2 c nondairy milk
4 tsp oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp agar powder
1. First you’ve gotta roast your squash! Cut your squash lengthwise down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Wrap each half in foil and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet (the rim is important to catch all the squash juices that result from roasting). Roast for 35-45 minutes at 425° — you’ll know they’re done when you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife. Let cool completely before scooping out the innards.
2. Now, on to the crust! In a blender or food processor, pulse almonds and oats together to form a fine meal. Add salt, brown sugar, and rice flour, and pulse to combine. While pulsing, add canola oil and nondairy milk to form a crumbly mixture. It should have just enough moisture to hold together when you pinch it.
3. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13″ pan and set aside.
3. To make your filling, combine all filling ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into your pan on top of the almond crust, and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes, until the center is no longer runny. Let cool completely, then cover and store in the refrigerator until chilled.
4. Slice and serve! Top with powdered sugar, whipped coconut cream, or ice cream!
* I would love for someone to try this with a different sweet winter squash, like acorn or sweet cup, and let me know how it turns out. Or you could even try using sweet potato!