Goodman Community Center | Let's Cook Thai Butternut Squash with…

Let's Cook Thai Butternut Squash with Curry and Chickpeas Together

Another delicious recipe and cooking class with UW Med School students.

November 30, 2023 |

This quarter’s team of med students came ready to cook and connect with a recipe for Thai Butternut Squash Curry and a lesson on plant-based proteins.

UW Med School students Helena, Nate, James, Angela and Juliana chopped, peeled and boiled their way through a delicious and meatless Thai curry. Substituting the usual chicken or beef for tofu and chickpeas to create a light, flavorful and nutrient packed dish. While some of the night’s chefs worked on prep for Juliana's recipe, Helena lead attendees through reasons and ways to start replacing meat with veggies, legumes and other substitutes that pack the same protein punch. The best part about the presentation (besides Helena’s many veggie themed puns): the attendees got to chime in with their own knowledge and cooking anecdotes. The night was a full group effort!

Presentation Highlights

  • A plant-based diet doesn’t just mean being a vegetarian or vegan. There are many different kinds of plant-based food lifestyles (ex: the mediterranean diet). The only requirement is that your primary source of nutrients is plants!
  • Examples of high protein plant foods: quinoa, soy protein, black beans, nuts, tempeh, garbanzo beans, lentils, mushrooms, whey protein and broccoli.
  • Need a place to start? Replace just one meat-based meal a week with a plant-based or veggie-centric meal, design a dinner around a salad or try making meat a side dish rather than a star of the meal.
  • Be wary of substituting with too many processed meat replacements (i.e. veggie burgers, Beyond Burgers, Impossible meats) which are usually high in sodium.
  • Plant-based diets can be better for the environment! Plants need less water than animals to produce the same amount of food, and the process of cultivating plants emits less greenhouse gases.
  • Check with your doctor if you’re not sure whether a plant-based diet is right for you, or if you have specific dietary requirements.

Recipe Tips:

  • Tofu comes in different forms! Make sure your tofu of choice is firm before adding it to your dish.
  • Weigh down your tofu for 15-60 minutes (30 minutes was used for the class). Water keeps tofu from absorbing the flavors of your dish.
  • If your coconut oil/milk has hardened in the container, pop it in the microwave for a short time to get it back to mixing perfection.
  • Struggling to cut up your squash? Consider steaming or putting the squash in the microwave for around 2 minutes to soften the flesh and make removing the outer layer a breeze.

This demonstration was a part of our older adult program’s Fall 2023 “Let’s Cook Together” virtual cooking class. A six-week venture designed with two things in mind: connection and nurturing our relationships with food. Participants can suggest recipes and topics for each week’s presentation, and chosen recipes are given out ahead of time, giving each person the time to prepare their home kitchen. Every session welcomes a new group of med students, opening up endless opportunities for multi-generational relationships. Register for the winter/spring session by contacting Gayle using the information below.

It's never too late to learn something new!

For more information about Let's Cook Together contact:

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Gayle Laszewski

Assistant Director of Older Adult Program
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