Recipe of the Week: Healthy Squash Tempura
This is not a sick joke, my friends: You can have healthy fried food?if you do it right! At fast-food “restaurants,” everything is usually deep-fried together in fatty, artery-clogging oil. But when prepared at home with quality ingredients, you can enjoy tasty fried food without experiencing that “food coma” feeling afterward.
In keeping with the theme of the month, I chose delicata squash—a winter squash with distinctive dark green stripes on a yellow background and sweet, orange-yellow flesh—to star in a light tempura. Fun fact: The skin on this squash is edible, so there’s less peeling and more eating!
Healthy Squash Tempura
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1 1/4 cups water
2 level tsps. kuzu,* diluted in a little cold water
1 medium-size delicata squash, cut into squares or—my favorite shape—rings
- Make a batter by combining the flour, salt, water, and kuzu. Stir well to make sure that there are no lumps.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350º F in a medium-size pot. Be VERY careful with this. You may want to ask your parents for assistance—and what a great time to show them how yummy vegan food is!
- Dip the squash pieces into the batter until covered and then slide them gently into the oil.
- When the pieces are brown on all sides, remove them from the oil using a fork or tongs. Let cool for a minute, then enjoy!
* Kuzu starch (from the kuzu root) acts as a thickening agent. You can also use egg replacer, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder.
Winter squash contains antioxidant properties that can help prevent cardiovascular disease and can reduce the risk of cancer. But the frying fun doesn’t end with squash! While you’re at it, try a few other foods—apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley (seriously, try it), kale, mushrooms, onions (can you say vegan onion rings?!) tofu, or anything else you can get your hands on. What will you turn into tempura?
Health is wealth!