I love winter squashes. So pretty. So symbolic of the season. So prolific in my garden. And frankly, so easy to use.
My family especially likes butternut squash, diced and roasted until soft on the inside and toasty on the outside, with just a hint of S&P. A1 and #1 eat them up like they are cookies or something–my roasted vegetables rarely make it to the table.
Here is a recipe for delicata squash I made last week. Delicata is easy because you don’t have to peel it. You can also use butternut squash for this recipe, or you could halve an acorn squash, roast it a little (just 25 minutes or so) and stuff that.
I was on a big kick to be culinarily prepared last week since our schedule was a full of soccer practice and games, work, interviews and all the usual craziness. And I had made a pledge to myself to go to bikram yoga 3 times because I bought the Groupon and it said you have to go at least 3-4 times each week to see any benefit–that’s 90 minutes out of each day, not counting the t0-and-from. And of course I wanted to squeeze in some running. Between all that AND scrubbing toilets everyday because the men in my house are just….GROSS, I didn’t have much time to make a perfect, picture-worthy meal.
So I roasted eggplant, squashes, onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips and celery ahead of time. I used brown rice and couscous left over from the previous evening as my filler. I sauteed lots of kale, chard and spinach (which I just mixed all together). I made this super simple dressing, tossed it all together and stuffed the squash. Perfect side dish. If you need meat, add some diced ham or sausage and this could be a main meal.
- Winter squash, sliced and seeded. If you are using acorn squash, halved and seeded.
- Olive oil, for brushing
- S & P
- 2-3 TB unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- ½ cup chopped greens such as kale, spinach, chard or arugula
- 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 2 tart apples, (such as Granny Smith) sliced thinly and chopped
- 1 ts poultry seasoning
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional) or toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/2 cup currents or cranberries or golden raisins
- 6 cups cooked grains such as quinoa, couscous, brown rice wild rice or jasmine rice, or a combination of any of these.
For the dressing: combine the following ingredients, whisking to emulsify.
- 1 ts honey
- 1 ts orange zest
- 1 TB white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c orange juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- Pinch curry powder
- Pinch cinnamon
- Tiny pinch nutmeg
- S & P to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- If using acorn squash, season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on two baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until just tender.
- If using rounds of squash, brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil.
- If using pre-roasted veggies: simply combine the vegetables, apples, herbs, grain, greens and cheese together. Dress with the vinaigrette. Stuff the squash and place a pat of butter on each.
- If using fresh veggies: In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the celery, carrots, leeks and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the apples, greens and herbs and cook over moderately high heat until the apples just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add the grains and cheese, toss with the dressing.
- Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Lay the squash on the sheet, then stuff the mixture into the squash.Bake until the squash are tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.