Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza

It’s pretty safe to say that my sister has an obsession with butternut squash. I hadn’t had it much before I lived with her in Paris, but her constant use of the versatile ingredient made me a convert. It’s health benefits are endless; it’s low in fat and delivers a high dose of dietary fiber, boosts your nervous and immune system, and is a heart-healthy choice.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

My initial hope was to make ravioli, but seeing has my middle-of-nowhere grocery store didn’t have wonton wrappers, I went with the next thing I thought of: pizza.

Since I’m a poor college student with low funds and little time, I bought Artisan Pizza Crust from Pillsbury. It’s a nutty, fluffy whole grain pizza crust that is so easy to use and is inexpensive. On top, I spread some pesto, goat cheese, broccoli, and blanched butternut squash slices. I baked it as the crust package instructed – at 400° for about 15 minutes – and topped it off with some crushed red pepper.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

I had a bunch of squash leftover, which I roasted in the oven until it was tender. I’ll snack on it or add it to my noodles the next time I make pasta.

To blanch the butternut squash: Slice the squash into thin disks. Bring water to a boil. Add the squash and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain, and add to an ice water bath to shock. Before adding them to pizza, pat dry with a paper towel.

Butternut Squash and Pesto Pizza | Netflix and Nutella

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Vegetable Quinoa Summer Salad

We all hear about eating more whole grains. We’re supposed to cut out bleached flour, white bread, baguette, and all other things delicious for more natural products. Working at a food website this summer has made me wonder: what’s really the benefit?

Vegetable Summer Quinoa Salad

Well, according to Whole Grains Council, studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined ones may reduce risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease and will help control weight. According to ChooseMyPlate.com, refined grains are enriched with B vitamins like riboflavin and folic acid after processing. Fiber is not added back into the grains. While I’m only 19, I still believe that the best defense is a good offense. Building good habits now is the most important thing I can do to hope for a log, healthy life.

Substituting whole grains for other grains in a well-balanced diet is the perfect remedy. I’d love to know, what are your favorite whole grains and recipes?

Vegetable Summer Quinoa Salad

This weekend at the grocery, I came across this Seeds of Change Microwavable Quinoa and Brown Rice. Instead of microwaving it, here’s what I did:

Quinoa Summer Salad (makes 2 servings)

1/4 white onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon oil (I used canola)
1 pouch quinoa and brown rice (+ 2 tablespoons required water)
1 tablespoon goat cheese, crumbled
3 sprigs arugula, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt; cook until translucent. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper, and cook until browned. Add pouch of whole grains plus water required on package. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.

Once a bit cooled, transfer into a bowl and add goat cheese, arugula, and crushed red pepper. (Rough chop crushed red pepper to bring out the flavors.) Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Vegetable Summer Quinoa Salad