Some of the best things in life are simple. Sometimes just a little touch of effort can elevate something from mundane to festive. And sometimes, it is these little touches of effort and care that make life memorable and pleasant. That is the case with this festive orange rosemary water. It is so simple that it can hardly be considered a recipe, yet I feel the urge to share it, because drinking a glass of it simply brightens up my day!
The bright, beautiful colors in this meal reflect the wide variety of its nutrients and the vitality of its flavors. Roasted butternut squash, lightly spiced black beans, red cabbage, spinach, and feta cheese make up these healthy, easy, and tasty tacos. With this recipe, you can have a delicious lunch or dinner on the table in a little over a half an hour, and have all your nutritional bases covered. And you get to use that squash that you’ve been meaning to use for a few days!
At least that is how it often is with me when I bring home a squash. Sometimes it sits on the counter for a few days before I decide what to do with it. (Good thing they keep well!) But when I use it, I am always glad I did. And that is definitely the case with these butternut squash and black bean tacos. The delicately sweet flavor of the roasted squash goes so nicely with the black beans, cumin, and feta cheese, and the cabbage and spinach give it extra nutrition, color and texture.
What I also like about this recipe is that it is very simple and doesn’t require a big time commitment to make. While the squash is roasting, you can prepare everything else. It is a light, yet extremely nourishing meal. And if you want to add more filling elements, some shredded chicken or other meat would taste good in there, and some cooked rice would work too. And of course, I always like my tacos with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole on the side too!
It seems like it has been winter for a long time now, and this brightly colored meal is just what I need to boost my energy levels. This past week, I am finding it a challenge to find the balance between being informed about what is going on in the United States and not getting worn down from too much news. It seems like every hour there is another news item to digest and try to understand. Our country is going through a difficult and strange time, and sometimes I have to get my mind away from current events to focus on the duties, challenges, and joys of daily life. And food! We have to eat, no matter what is happening, and the better we eat, the better we are able to live our lives, act on what we believe in, and impact the world for the good.
So I hope you all have a great weekend, and stay warm! It is cold out there today, but at least the sun is shining, and that is a very welcome sight! I will leave you with a quote I came across today–“Be as a bird, who, halting in her flight on a limb too slight, feels it give way beneath her, yet sings knowing she has wings.” ~by Victor Hugo.
one medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups when diced)
one 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
one teaspoon of cumin powder
8 medium sized four tortilla shells
2 cups of red cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups of fresh spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
feta cheese for sprinkling on top
salt and pepper to taste
Optional things for the side:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully peel and dice the butternut squash. (A good sharp knife is really helpful for this part, and be careful peeling!) On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced squash with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the squash pieces are lightly and evenly coated with the oil, roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tender, opening the oven about halfway through to flip the pieces over.
While the squash is roasting, get out a large mixing bowl. In the bowl, stir together the beans, one tablespoon of olive oil, and the cumin. Wash and chop the cabbage and the spinach and crumble the Feta. Wrap your tortilla shells in foil. about 10 minutes before the squash is done, place the foil-wrapped tortillas in the oven to warm them. Then about five minutes before the squash is done, pull out the baking sheet and add the bean mixture, stirring to combine. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the squash is tender and the beans are warmed through. Adjust the seasonings to taste after squash is done.
When everything is done, place a tortilla on a plate. Spoon the squash/bean mixture onto the tortilla. Top with the chopped cabbage and spinach. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!
Black beans, mango, and corn make up the main part of this colorful salsa. Cilantro, red onion, mint, lime juice, and honey add irresistible flavor. Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, this salsa is a beautiful, healthy, and tasty addition to any table. Top a salad with it to add nutrition and flavor, or spoon it onto tortilla chips, or as in my photos, try it with crispy polenta discs. Or just take a spoon and eat it straight! Either way, it is delicious!
If left to my own devices, I would probably eat way too much bread and cheese. So it’s really nice when I can find a super-healthy, clean eating recipe that I love, a dish that can energize my body and help me work hard and stand strong. The balance of flavors in this salsa is wonderful. A bit of sweetness from the mangoes and honey is mixed with a bit of zing from the lime juice and cilantro. It is a great snack, salad topper, or side dish.
I adapted this recipe from my husband’s beloved “Thrive Energy Cookbook” by Brendan Brazier. I was drawn to it because my grocery store has had mangoes on sale for the past couple of weeks, so we have had mangoes in our fruit bowl waiting to be used. Now that I have found this salsa, I expect it will become a regular in our rotation, because it is so delicious, easy, and versatile. I used thawed frozen corn instead of fresh, and substituted honey and olive oil instead of the agave nectar and hemp oil called for in the Thrive recipe.
The days and evenings of this month have been very full. I have not posted as often as I would like to. It’s not that I haven’t been in the kitchen–quite the contrary! I just haven’t gotten the photos or the recipes organized. But that is about to change. I am about to get back on track. Recently, I started playing the piano again, after almost three years away from it. Since my dad died, I have been unable to touch the piano. I think it has something to do with the emotions released when playing the piano.
In any case, although I am very rusty, it feels good to have that part of my life back again, and I know my dad would be glad about it too. I stumbled across a really pretty song that I am now working on, called The Dance, written by Tony Arata. Apparently, Garth Brooks also is known for singing it. I am not usually a country music aficionado, but this song really caught me. The melody is so beautiful, and the words….they are a good reminder. We don’t always know how things are gong to turn out. Sometimes it’s better that way, otherwise we may not take risks or go for our dreams. If we try to avoid heartbreak, disappointment, or failure, we might miss out on the things that make life worth living. “Our lives are better left to chance….I could have missed the pain…but I’d have had to miss the dance.” It’s not like we haven’t heard this message or something similar to it before, but when it is put to music in a beautiful song, sometimes it’s like hearing the message for the first time again.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the beautiful fall colors if you live in an area like mine, where the leaves are just starting to turn beautiful shades of red and gold. And if you try this salsa, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do here! I’m sharing this recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Julianna @ Foodie on Board and Zeba @ Food For The Soul.
1 cup of sweet corn kernels, fresh or thawed from frozen
1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, torn and stems removed
3 or 4 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir gently and thoroughly. Best served immediately, but can also be kept tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use on top of salads, with tortilla chips or polenta discs, or however you like. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.
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