crispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Messcrispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Messcrispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Mess
I get a lot of questions about meal planning and what my typical weeknight meals look like. We do the bowl food thing, pots of brown rice pasta with veggies, the cozy soups with ½ a loaf of bread each (carb lovers club). It’s honestly kinda boring? And while I do meal prep in a sense, it’s a very loose and lazy version of it.

I get whatever vegetables I want, wash and trim them down, separate the lettuce into leaves, put some carrot sticks into a little water bath, cook a grain and a pulse of some kind if I’m really on top of stuff. If I’m dealing with an influx of something like beets, I’ll boil them off and peel them to have on hand for salads. That’s the extent of it!

I still enjoy cooking in the moment too–even if I’ve had a weird or busy day. Meal prepping right up to the point of re-heat and eat would never work for me. I think there’s magic to be found somewhere in the middle of these states of preparedness.

My friend McKel is an advanced prep pro when it comes to eating and living well. Most of you probably know her site Nutrition Stripped, and how much of a goldmine it is for anyone looking to simplify and focus-up a balanced and vibrant lifestyle. Her whole body-and-mind approach is about maximizing simple habits so that you’ll feel amazing.

Her new book is a great dose of inspiration—if you cook healthy all the time or if you’re trying to get a handle on what it means to eat and live well. Tucked into the pages of Nutrition Stripped are tons of great strategies for planning ahead, shopping lists, tips for eating well on a budget, what to eat post-workout or when you’re feeling under the weather.

Here, I’ve taken her roasted squash with dill cashew cream and spun it out into a little squash bowl with some warm rice, extra dill, and a sprinkle of capers. Squash/early Fall vegetables and fresh dill is one of my favourite combinations, and this lush cream is delicious. I can see this sauce forming a nice little base for avocado toast, or drizzled over some crispy wedges of butter lettuce or radicchio, or used in place of the pepita sauce in this bowl. To start though, this particular bowl is a nice way to ease into Fall.

crispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Messcrispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Messcrispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Messcrispy squash bowl with dill cream (vegan) - The First Mess
From Nutrition Stripped: 100 Whole Food Recipes Made Deliciously Simple by McKel Hill, MS, RDN
NOTES: For the squash bowl, I just served portions of the squash and dill cream with warm brown/wild rice, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and some capers. Some arugula in the mix would have been ideal, but my refrigerator inventory just didn’t allow for it ;) This squash and dill cream combo would taste good with so many things though. You can totally do as McKel does and serve them up on their own, too!

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours and drained
1/2 cup filtered water
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
juice of 1 lemon (roughly 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper, to taste

2 acorn/delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (I prefer delicata–no peeling necessary!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
ground black pepper, to taste

Make the dill cashew cream: combine the drained cashews, water, dill, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in an upright blender. Blend the cashew mixture on high until completely velvety and smooth. Scrape the cream into a glass jar and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 medium or 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Slice the seeded squash in 1/2 inch thick wedges/half moons. On the baking sheet(s), toss the squash slices with the olive oil, salt, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper. Spread the coated squash slices out into a single layer. Place the squash in the oven, and roast for about 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. The slices should have deeply golden edges.

Serve the squash bowl warm with dill cashew cream for dipping/drizzling.

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