Karla Ilicic is a yoga teacher, nutritionist and overall wellness coach whose love for cooking started when she was just a little girl, as she was watching her grandmother in the kitchen. The amount of love that was poured into every recipe was intoxicating, and Karla found herself helping her out and wanting to learn more and more. Her father is a passionate foodie and an amazing home cook himself, and with him, she was able to discover incredible restaurants all over the world and recreate those recipes in their home.
Unfortunately, after discovering she had celiac disease, Karla had to change her lifestyle and eating habits, which led her to Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where she gathered more knowledge on autoimmune diseases and decided to become a health coach and nutritionist. Her passion for food combined with helping others heal and thrive in spite of their conditions made her get creative in the kitchen and create recipes full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that won't leave you feeling like you're missing out on any of the common allergens, meat, dairy or refined sugars. She is currently in the process of writing her e-book!
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Crispy Chickpeas, Goat Cheese and Za'atar
This recipe is one of my absolute favorites all throughout the fall and winter season. Seriously though—I make it at least once a week! I love playing around with it and modifying it according to what I'm craving that week. Sometimes I like to use feta cheese instead of goat, add some crispy lentils into the mix, chop up some sundried tomatoes, and of course, use a variety of mushrooms. You can also add some other spices and turn it into a completely different dish (like curry, oregano and thyme or smoked salt and tarragon)!
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Slice the acorn squash in half and scoop out the pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper, and place in a deeper dish, flesh facing up. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes (or until it feels soft with a fork and the surface is slightly golden).
In the meantime, rinse and drain the chickpeas. Put them in a paper towel and slightly roll them over your surface to make it easier to take the skins off. You don't have to clean every single one of them, but the more you do, the better. Chickpea skins can be hard to digest, so taking them off prevents bloating and cramps.
Heat up a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute them for 3 minutes, or until they start to caramelize. Add 1 teaspoon of za'atar and mix it through before adding the carrots and mushrooms. Lower the heat and keep on sauteing and letting the juices coat the veggies. When the veggies are close to done, remove the pan from the heat. Take out the acorn squash and stuff it with the veggie mixture. Add chickpeas on top and let the rest fall all over your dish as they'll crisp up nicely. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of za'atar and add a bit more salt and black pepper. After 10 minutes, crumble some goat cheese on top and leave in the oven to melt. Once the cheese has melted, your acorn squash is done! Add a handful of sprouts on top and serve immediately!
1 large acorn squash
1 can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 medium onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced mushrooms
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon za'atar spice
Microgreens or sprouts to garnish