Monday, October 4, 2010

Slow-Cooker Mayan Harvest Bake

This recipe is adapted somewhat liberally from Hungry Girl's take on the Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake frozen meal. Even though I added some ingredients back to this, it's still a very healthy dish, and definitely perfectly suited for the cooler fall and winter months ahead. Plus, it makes a ton, so you'll have lots of leftovers as a reward for all of your veggie-chopping efforts.

2 cups cubed butternut squash (about half a squash)
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 large eggplant, stem removed, and cubed
1/2 head of cabbage, cored and cut in chunks
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 15-oz can of black beans
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
One 6-oz. can tomato paste
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground cumin, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste
1/2 cup plantain chips
1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

10-12 1/2-inch thick slices of polenta

Place all cut veggies in an extra-large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all other ingredients and thoroughly mix. Spoon this mixture over the veggies and stir to coat.

Transfer mixture to a crock pot with a capacity of four quarts or more. If needed, pack it in tightly. (It will cook down*)

Cover and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or on low for 7 - 8 hours, until veggies are very tender.

With about 1 hour left before serving, layer polenta slices on top of veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper (could also eat this without polenta, or perhaps on top of some cornbread instead)

*While the veggie juices will squeeze out while cooking, if after a few hours, you feel like there is not enough liquid or that things are drying out, try adding a little more water, more pumpkin, or even a little unsweetened applesauce to keep things juicy.

Stir well and serve, topping with additional pumpkin seeds if desired.


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