Butternut Squash Fries + Vegan Popcorn “Chicken”

I’ve been blessed to be able to grow, harvest, and share an an abundance of butternut squash this season. Because of that, y’all are gonna get these squash based recipes honey! Today I’m bringing you a fairly easy recipe that you can make to switch things up and try something new.

I love experimenting with different vegetables to make fries because they are so simple and easy and a simple way to diversify your veggie intake. Most people know about the yumminess that are sweet potato fries but butternut squash fries can be just as good! My sister recommended I try making them and I was pleasantly surprised. Now I will say that because squash can get tender quickly, these fries may be a little more softer than other kinds of fries (I think it’s because they are less starchy?) but they’re still worthwhile to try in my opinion!

For the second part of this dish, I made some popcorn “chicken”. Now, I don’t usually go out of my way to make vegetarian/vegan food that looks like meat but the vegans might be onto something with this one! This dish was so easy to make and it’s actually pretty good. You may be thinking, “what on earth could you use to make vegan chicken?” The answer is: cauliflower. Yes, you read that right!

Cauliflower has become a popular vegetable to use in vegetarian/vegan dishes because it’s so versatile. Its features allow it to easily absorb flavors and morph into the perfect texture for countless recipes. So far I’ve used it to make a delicious pot of cauliflower rice (recipe coming soon) and this simple popcorn “chicken” dish. If you’re curious about what this could taste like – like I was – then give this recipe (borrowed from Sweet Potato Soul) a try! I made some adjustments to fit my needs and due to not having all the ingredients but it still turned out good!

So let’s get started!

What you’ll need: (yields 2 servings)

– 1 quarter section of butternut squash

– 1/4 cauliflower head, cut into medium sized florets

– 1 cup of all purpose flour

– Seasoning: 1/2 tsp seasoning salt, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning, Italian seasoning (optional)

– 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk

– 1/3 cup hot sauce

– 1 tbsp of spicy mustard

– 3 cups of vegetable oil

Directions:

Squash Fries

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Using a chef’s knife, cut a quarter piece from your butternut squash. It is easier to do this with the top portion of the squash (where the are no seeds) so that you don’t have to deal with the stringy and messy portion of the squash.
  3. Take your quarter section and slice it in half along the width. Then cut each piece into rectangular prisms sized 1/2 in x 4 in (or desired sized).
  4. Place cut squash pieces into an oven pan and drizzle 1 – 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over them. Season lightly with salt and pepper as desired. Roast for 20 minutes or until you reach your preferred texture.
  5. Remove and lightly cover with Italian seasoning, if desired.

Cauliflower Popcorn “Chicken” (Adjusted Sweet Potato Soul Recipe)

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, and other seasoning of your choice.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix hot sauce, mustard, and your non-dairy milk using a metal whisk until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  3. Heat your frying oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
  4. Use one hand to dip a cauliflower floret into the wet mix and then the other hand to cover the flower fully with the dry mix. Repeat this step again to add another coat of wet and dry mix. This will build a nice crust. Repeat this with the remaining florets.
  5. Slowly add the covered florets into the hot oil – filling up your pan with as much as it allows – and allow them to cook for 5 minutes or so until the pieces are golden brown. Flip them as needed to ensure all sides are evenly cooked.
  6. Remove the cooked cauliflower from the pan and place them on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Continue cooking remaining florets.
  7. Serve hot!

And that’s it folks! This meal took about 30-35 minutes to make overall so pretty quick in my book. The butternut squash fries were slightly sweet and contrasted well with the spicy “chicken”. The cauliflower chicken isn’t something I’d make frequently but it was definitely enjoyable and something I’d cook when I want to switch up my meals. I hope that you find this recipe and pairing as enjoyable as I did.

Would you try this recipe? Have you made fries with any other type of vegetable? What are your thoughts on vegan meat alternatives? Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Fries + Vegan Popcorn “Chicken”

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, try it and let me know what you think. I’ve been working on expanding my options too and I always try to ask myself “what’s a new way that I can prepare this?” so things don’t get boring. If you have any suggestions for me, please do share as well! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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