The perfect squash for Thanksgiving
I’m a sucker for squash in pretty much any form — summer, winter, grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, pureed, etc. While my hubby tires of it before winter has hit halfway, I could have it pretty much every night and be happy.
To try to keep him from rejecting it too early, I try to use as many different types as I can, and try to vary how I cook them. Butternut, red kuri, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, carnival, buttercup, pumpkin, blue hubbard, etc. — I buy pretty much every type imaginable. But, no matter what kind I buy, there’s not that much you can do differently. I mean, squash is squash.
So, I continue to play around with it. And that’s how I created this recipe, which is perfect for pretty much any cold night, but would be an epic addition to a Thanksgiving table. It combines one ubiquitous and yummy squash, butternut, with a treat that only comes for a few winter weeks fresh: the pomegranate. Mix in spices and crunchy pecans and you’ve got yourself a great side dish. Seriously, it is SO good.
A side note: The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 pomegranate, seeded
½ cup pecans, broken or chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large glass lasagna pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, coat the butternut squash with the coconut oil. Spread the coated squash onto your parchment-lined pan and set in the oven to roast. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
When there’s 10 minutes to go, pull your pan out and season the squash with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper and about a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon of cinnamon (just eyeball it). Stir to mix and let cook the final 10 minutes.
To serve, top with pomegranate seeds and pecans. Serves 4-6.