Baby Kale Mix
Diced Butternut Squash
Black Beluga Lentils
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sub: Gluten-Free Cookie Mix
Chance Farm - Four Corners
Lifeline Produce - Victor
Montana Roots - Livingston
Root Cellar Foods - Belgrade
Timeless Natural Food - Ulm
Wild Crumb - Bozeman
Sub: Gluten-Free Prairie - Manhattan
A Few Quick Ingredient Notes:
Baby kale is more tender than regular kale, less bitter, and you can eat the stems. You don't need to cook it, but you can...just like spinach. As a leggier green, it's easier to eat if you chop it once or twice.
Pea shoots can be treated like an herb, tossed in a salad or a sandwich, and are also delicious in a stir-fry.
Beets are one of the most widely available produce items year-round in Montana, aside from things grown indoors like mushrooms, microgreens and some greens. We're at the tail end of last fall's harvest that was stored for the winter, and in about a month we'll see some fresh crops of baby beets. Usually by this time of year, my creativity and enthusiasm for big, overwintered beets starts to wane, so I love this mental shift to treating them like a potato.
Red beets, scrubbed clean and unpeeled
Salt and pepper
"Baked Potato" Topping Options:
Sour cream, plain yogurt, or creme fraiche and/or goat cheese
Chives or scallions, chopped
Fresh herbs, like dill, cilantro, parsley, or even pea shoots, chopped
Heat oven to 375. Put scrubbed beets in a small roasting pan and fill with an inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until beets are tender when poked with a fork or knife, about 1 hour. Cook them ahead of time and reheat if needed.
When beets are cooked, cut into halves or wedges from top to bottom. Season cut sides with salt and pepper. Top hot beets with toppings of your choice. You can eat the skins, but just like potatoes, you don't have to.
Spiced Lentil Salad with Butternut Squash
Lentils come in many colors, and can serve as many purposes. While delicious for soups and stews, the varieties that hold their shape (typically green, brown, and black lentils) are also well-suited to salads that can be eaten warm or cold. This recipe serves 4-6, adapted from America's Test Kitchen.
Salt and pepper
1 C Black Beluga Lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 package diced butternut squash (1 lb)
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 C fresh greens or herbs, chopped - your could try pea shoots or baby kale instead of the more traditional parsley or cilantro
1/4 C finely chopped red onion
1 Tbs toasted pepitas - sub any toasted seeds or nuts
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 450. Toss diced squash with 1 Tbs oil, 1 1/2 tsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread squash on rimmed baking sheet and roast on lower rack until well browned and tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs oil, garlic, coriander, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 4 cups water and lentils. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender but remain intact, 25-35 minutes. Drain well.
Whisk remaining 3 Tbs oil, remaining 1 1/2 Tbs vinegar, and mustard together in large bowl. Add squash, lentils, chopped herbs or greens, and onion and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with pepitas, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Use any winter squash or root vegetable, like beets, in place of some or all the butternut if you want to mix it up.
Additional Recipes & Suggestions
This Stewed Beets recipe is one of my new favorite ways to eat beets. The warm Indian spices complement the earthy sweetness of the beets so well.
This Chipotle Chili with Butternut Squash is a delicious vegetarian chili that really doesn't miss the meat.
Another recipe that I truly enjoy - and make at least once a month during the winter - is this lentil soup. You have to trust me: it doesn't sound exciting. But it is very good!
Baby kale and pea shoots would make a delicious spring... well, anything... but I was going for frittata. Just be sure to chop both so you don't get long stems. Scrambles, omelettes, quiche... all would be yummy.
Try Pea shoot pesto for pasta, or as a dip or spread.