YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Recipes to Watch the Leaves Fall By

Any day now, our kitchen counters will be covered in pumpkins and onions, and this week I have two simply extraordinary recipes for you to try. Both make a meal very special: if you’d like to test them in the next few weeks for any upcoming fall celebrations, go for it. Also, although it’s not essential, if you have time to make the onions the day before, then I highly recommend it. As fabulous as they taste on day one, they taste even better the next day!

Glazed Braised Onions
1 1/2 lbs yellow onions, peeled
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
1 dry red chili pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt

Place onions in a single layer in a large flat frying pan. Cover the onions with the white wine, diluted with water. Mix together the olive oil, salt, sugar, dry red chili pepper, vinegar and tomato paste in a separate bowl, and then add to the onions. Cover and boil for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Continue to boil until the water is gone and the onions begin to glaze. Stir from time to time to prevent burning or sticking. Remember to discard the red chili before serving.

Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small-medium pumpkin
1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
1/3 cup half-n-half (organic)
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut a cap from the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle, making the cap large enough so you can put your hand inside the pumpkin to clear away the seeds and strings. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin into either a frying pan with raised sides, or a Dutch oven just slightly larger than the pumpkin.

Toss together the rice, pumpkin seeds, cheese, garlic, and herbs. Season with pepper and pack the mix into the pumpkin until it is almost completely filled. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and a little bit more salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. The ingredients should be very moist. Replace the cap.

Bake the pumpkin 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the contents are bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Remove the cap for the final 20 minutes of baking so the top of the stuffing browns a bit. Serve in slices, like a pie. It’s really impressive.

Make this recipe vegan with vegan cheddar and coconut cream. Bon appetit!

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