It’s almost Thanksgiving, aka the most wonderful time of the year! (Nope, that’s Christmas, but Christmas lights are up in my neighborhood already, so we’re a little confused. 😉 )
Food-wise, this is the best time of year to cook with foods you don’t normally use.
Pumpkins, gourds and squash are all in season and they make for a hearty, vegetarian/vegan meal, or an elegant side-dish to add to a meal, especially your Thanksgiving dinner!
I especially love cooking with winter squash. There’s acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, kabocha squash just to name a few.
I picked up this little acorn squash from our local farmers market the other day. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew there were lots of options.
You can slice it and roast it, or use the roasted insides to blend into a yummy soup (just add a little almond milk, olive oil, warm spices like turmeric and/or curry, salt and pepper). You can also cube it and pan fry it to make a nice stir-fry dish. Lots of possibilities!
I decided I wanted to make a side dish for our fish dinner.
I like to reserve my sugar intake for sweet treats, so I opted to make this dish simple, more salty less sweet. (I mean if I’m going to have sugar in something, I’m not going to have it in a vegetable! I want a real treat like a cupcake or brownies! Who’s with me?!? )
I kept the seasoning basic, sliced my squash into 1/2 inch thick slices and then popped it into the oven.
You simply bake it until the skins are tender and serve.
I always like to elevate my squash and toasting seeds is an easy way to do that.
You can use pine-nuts, pumpkin seeds, chopped cashews, or sliced almonds.
I used pepitas here (pepitas are basically pumpkin seeds, they’re a little smaller and oval, have no shell and are found in squash).
I lightly toasted them in a pan on the stove, then sprinkled them over the top of the roasted squash to complete the dish.
The result… a tender, savory dish that has simple seasoning, yet is full of flavor.
The toasted pepitas give it a nice nutty, crunch. You also get notes of olive oil and a very subtle kick from the cayenne. You can eat the entire thing too, skins and all, so don’t be shy!
For a little more flavor you could even add in some fresh herbs. Sprinkle chopped rosemary or parsley over the top? I might try that next time…
This is definitely a dish to try if you want to wow your guests. It looks really fancy on the table, yet takes little effort to make. Just slice, season and bake!
I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!
Roasted Acorn Squash and Toasted Pepitas Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
extra virgin olive oil
pink himalayan sea salt
cayenne pepper (or chili flakes)
nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 c. pepitas
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut squash in half, down the middle, use a spoon to scrape out seeds and flesh.
- Place squash flat onto cutting board (skin side up), cut into even slices (about 1/2 inch thick).
- Place slices onto baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the top then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, a few dashes of cayenne pepper or chili flakes and a few dashes of nutritional yeast (this is optional, it will give dish a little crispness and a hint of cheesy flavor).
- Toss slices in seasoning until each slice of squash is coated in oil and spices.
- Place into oven and cook 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. (You want the skin to be soft to the touch, I find it takes roughly 45 minutes).
- While squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on the stove, add 1/4 cup pepitas and toss lightly until slightly brown, remove from heat.
- Once squash has cooked, place slices onto a serving tray and top with a few tablespoons of toasted pepitas and serve.