Easy Vegan Butternut Squash Pilaf

The other day I was busy, hungry, and working after hours on a catering job. I am one of these chefs that only enjoy meals with my family but with this job  I knew that it will be at least couple  hours before I get home and have dinner with them.  I looked around my restaurant refrigerator and I found a couple containers of vegetables that my staff cut for me to use in my dishes. One of the containers had about 4 cups of peeled, diced and baked  butternut squash and in another container I found finely chopped mixed peppers. Well, I though I just make a pilaf. I have to say that I loved the pilaf so much that I stopped working and just sat down and took my time to enjoy every bite. So, if you are in the market for an easy butternut squash recipe this is for you.

Butternut Squash Pilaf

serves 4

1         medium butternut squash

1/4     cup olive oil

1         small onion, finely chopped

4        scallions chopped

1/2    red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2    yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1        mild jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1        clove garlic, mashed

2        medium ripe tomatoes, diced

1/4    cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4    cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2    teaspoon crushed pepper

1/4    cup cup coarse bulgur #3

salt and black pepper to taste

-Cut the butternut squash horizontally in half, seed the butternut squash using a spoon and then place the cut side on flat surface, hold tight and peel the skin with a potato peeler.

-Cut the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl.  Drizzle the butternut squash with couple tablespoons of olive oil and place in a 400 F. degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool.  You can do this step couple days ahead or freeze to use anytime later.

-Heat the rest of the olive oil and saute the onion for couple minutes or slightly golden.  Add the chopped pepper and cook for one minute.  I like to keep the vegetables crunchy for textures.  Add the garlic, the cilantro, the crushed pepper and salt.  Saute for extra minute and then add the diced tomatoes and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.

-Adjust the seasoning and add the bulgur, bring back to a boil.  Cover and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in the butternut squash cubes and the walnuts.  Cover, turn off the heat and allow the pilaf to rest for 10 minutes.

– Spoon into flat serving platter and enjoy.

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