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.
This week’s CSA usage was definitely an attempt in trying to use what we received kind of the same way you use that favorite cardigan or earrings — we wanted our food to go with everything.
I thought that by going this route that maybe it would give us a chance to eat different meals with the same ingredients, rather than just eating the same thing for a day or two straight.
Of course, I’m always OK with eating the same thing more than once. That never bothers me. But, I know our bodies benefit from a varied diet and that changing it up never hurt anyone.
It turns out that this low-key way of changing things up just slightly was a great way to enjoy different flavor profiles with very little hassle.
For example, the picture at the top of this post features our Rolling Prairie butternut squash and sweet potatoes from the Lawrence Farmers’ Market roasted together and then mixed in a bowl with CSA salad mix and baby spinach, avocado, roasted garlic-y Brussels sprouts and leftover curried chickpeas from this amazing crockpot book.
Then, the next day, my lunch was the roasted veggies again, this time on a sprouted grain tortilla with hummus, avocado, baby spinach and chickpeas, with the last of the Brussels sprouts on the side.
See how this works? As for the rest of our haul — Swiss chard, peppers (hot and sweet), tomatoes, salad mix, radishes — we tried to vary that, too.
The peppers were the easiest to vary. The hubby made fajitas out of a mix of sweet and hot peppers, and while he used them in a black bean burrito, I put mine on top of some baby spinach, leftover tropical sweet potato rounds and avocado and then topped the whole thing with garlic and nutritional yeast.
The tomatoes went on one of my husband’s sandwiches, while other tomatoes went in a salad along with the radishes, sweet peppers and some of the salad mix. Of course, we also used the salad mix with the aforementioned roasted squash dinner, so really, the only things that didn’t get the double-duty treatment were the radishes (salads only) and the chard (juiced).
Yes, this week turned out to be easy AND varied. I love when that happens (and it doesn’t involve eating out every other night).
I ALSO really love the new roasted squash and sweet potato recipe I got out of this week, too.
First week in October, you were a success.
Simply Roasted Butternut and Yams
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted), plus a bit more for greasing
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two 3-quart glass baking pans with a bit of unmelted coconut oil and set them aside.
In a large bowl, combine squash and sweet potatoes. Pour the melted coconut oil over the cut vegetables and stir with a spatula until they are coated. Divide the veggies between your two pans (or hold back half if you have just a single pan), spread in a single layer and sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to keep your veggies from sticking. Cool slightly and serve. Serves 6.
What’d we get this week? Swiss chard, sweet and hot peppers, sweet potatoes, salad mix, radishes and tofu.
Happy Valentine's Day!
If you're like me, your Valentine's will be a day full of chocolate. Honestly, I eat healthy probably 90 percent of the time, but I've got a special place in my heart for chocolate. The darker, the better these days. And there's no better excuse than Valentine's Day to have a bar of the good stuff, that's for sure.
But a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. Amazing, yet true.
Thus, if you're having dinner at home tonight with your chocolate and maybe some wine, I have a few suggestions for you.
Secondly, let me suggest a simple, hearty meal that will balance your blood sugar after a day filled with the highs and lows of cocoa love: Easy Green Quinoa and Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash.
Sound good? It is. Amazingly good. And super healthy.
The Easy Green Quinoa has both kale and sea veggies in it, plus, it's extra good topped with avocado (as above). Find the recipe on Gena's excellent site. (Note: If you don't have kelp seasoning or don't want to use it, you're probably going to have to salt and pepper the quinoa to taste, as it'll be bland without it).
The Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash is a twist on a recipe by Mark Bittman. It is a really different way to have squash — perfect if you're a bit sick of it after having it all winter. Bonus: It goes really well with the quinoa. And it's spicy enough to, um, well get your blood flowing.
Chipotle-Glazed Butternut Squash
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into half-moon shapes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 canned chipotle chile, chopped, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the squash pieces on the lined baking sheet.
Combine the olive oil, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, garlic, honey and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Brush the glaze evenly over the squash and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, turning once or twice and basting with any pan juices. When the squash is tender and deeply colored, remove the squash from the oven. Serve hot or cooled. Careful, they're spicy!
Hope you have a wonderful day!
We had a great conversation yesterday about being meatless in the Midwest. Please, keep it up! I'd love to hear more suggestions on where to eat as a vegetarian in Lawrence.
And, while you're munching on that, let's talk briefly about eating meatless at home, shall we?
Salad is a staple in our house, and that's no different in the winter. Though, I do know vegetarians and omnivores alike who have a hard time embracing salads when temperatures dip below freezing. Suddenly, lettuce seems a bit too, well, cold. And because tomatoes and many other basic salad ingredients aren't in season, it can be hard to keep a healthy salad habit going.
So, I encourage you to branch out. A salad is really just a random conglomeration of things, and it doesn't necessarily need to involve lettuce and tomato. It's no secret I'm a huge kale salad fan, and I've even written an entire story on winter salads. There really are a ton of options, including one I came up with on a whim last night.
Said salad (above) really is the perfect definition of "a random conglomeration of things." And it was soooo good.
I started with the last of my leftover squash and then took a look in the fridge to see what would go with it. I had a few wilty kale leaves, an about-to-turn avocado, a huge vat of kalamata olives from Costco and a jar of kimchi I'd bought this weekend in an effort to increase my intake of probiotics beyond just my (out-of-control) kombucha addiction.
The result was a healthy late-in-the-week dinner that I'm so glad I found.
Kimchi Squash Kale Salad
1/2 bunch green kale
1 to 2 cups chopped cooked squash (I used 1.5 roasted sweet dumpling squash)
1/2 cup kimchi (or more)
1/2 avocado, chopped
Tear the kale leaves into small pieces and discard the stems. Put the pieces in a bowl and top with avocado, massaging it gently into the kale pieces. Top with squash, kimchi and olives. Enjoy! Serves 1 as a dinner salad or 2 as a side salad.
And it was tasty ... almost like I planned it.
P.S. On that pizza, in case you're wondering, is pizza sauce, roasted garlic, marinated mushrooms, avocado and some cashew cheese. Put the cheese on the squash too — yum!
Monday nights usually are not my most shining moments in the kitchen. They tend to involve dishing out whatever we made Sunday night, or if one of us ate the remainder of Sunday's dinner for lunch on Monday ... rushing around trying to throw something suitable together.
Yes, I'm horrible at meal planning. When I shop, I know exactly what I want to eat that week, but it always seems that I misjudge how much each dish will make, and how long that dish will really stick around. Sometimes, I make things and realize that we ate the whole thing, leftovers be darned. Other times, we make something and it lurks in the fridge for days, uneaten in favor of something more exciting than leftovers ... until it dies a moldy death in the trashcan.
So, I'm trying to improve on this. And, thus, this Monday, I was determined to make something healthy and tasty from scratch — and have enough left over for lunch and dinner today. Complicating the fact, was that the kiddo and I went to play with a school friend after work while the hubby went running. We finally got home around 7, with the kiddo famished and the hubby on his way back, STARVING.
My solution? Doing two things at once. As soon as I got the kiddo settled with his requested dinner (baby carrots, provolone and a leftover smoothie), I decided make a double batch of my favorite kale salad recipe plus a roasted dumpling squash recipe I learned during my cooking class with Isa.
It ended up timing out perfectly so that the squash and the salad were done within seconds of each other. I started the squash first, then set to washing and chopping all my salad ingredients. By the time the squash needed to come out of the oven to be seasoned, the salad was combined, the kiddo was ready for bed and the hubby was home and ready to eat. I pulled the squash out to cool, put the kiddo to bed and then we chowed down.
Simple. On a Monday. Who knew?
You already have the salad recipe, so here's how to make the squash. Feel free to sub in acorn squash, though know you can't eat the skin on acorn like you can on dumpling squash.
Simple Roasted Dumpling Squash
4 sweet dumpling squash (similar in size)
Olive oil (in a mister, if you have one)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut squash in half, along the equator (don't try to cut through the stem!). Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray or rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the parchment paper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the oiled parchment. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
When done, pull it out of the oven and use a hot pad or spatula to flip over the squash, so that they cool with the flesh "up." Once you have them facing upward, sprinkle with salt and dust with cinnamon. Let cool and enjoy.
P.S.: I had enough salad left over for a honkin' lunch today and saved the leftover squash for dinner tonight. Yay for planning (sort of).