Roasted Acorn Squash With Toasted Pepitas

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
cracked pepper
cayenne pepper (or chili flakes)
nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 c. pepitas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, cut squash in half, down the middle, use a spoon to scrape out seeds and flesh.
  3. Place squash flat onto cutting board (skin side up), cut into even slices (about 1/2 inch thick).
  4. 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).
  5. Toss slices in seasoning until each slice of squash is coated in oil and spices.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. Once squash has cooked, place slices onto a serving tray and top with a few tablespoons of toasted pepitas and serve.

 

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