Not the Same Old Squash

Not the Same Old Squash

I used to hate squash—and sweet potatoes for that matter—because people seem to insist on leaning toward sweet rather than savory. Friends. It’s time to stop drowning these gourds in maple syrup and topping ‘em with marshmallows. It’s time to embrace the savory. Sweetening up these already sweet fruits (yes, fruits!) makes for a better dessert than dinner. The subtle flavor of winter squash is best when playing its role in a holistic dish, adding needed sweetness to salty, fatty, acid-rich dishes. In our favorite preparation (hint: this recipe), the winter squash of your choice layers rich, caramelized sweetness with tangy greek yogurt, spiced curry, nutty roasted legumes, and bright herbs tossed with citrus. It’s a delightful addition to big meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s also hearty enough to be a vegetarian main or weeknight dinner on its own. Thanks to dishes like these, winter squash is now one of my favorite things about the colder months.

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Roasted squash with curried yogurt and herbs

The key is this: The squash is interchangeable. You can use most types of squash and get the same results. Acorn? Yep. Delicata? You betcha. Butternut? We really mean it—any squash. The only thing to keep in mind is the skin! Acorn and Delicata are our favorites because you can eat the skin, which adds texture and color to this dish.

Time: 40 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Four adults as a side dish; two adults as a main dish.
Drink: Riesling! The essential curry wine pairing.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup curried yogurt
  • Fresh lime juice, from 1 lime
  • 1 medium-large or 2 small shallots
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 pounds of winter squash, roughly 1 medium squash
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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    1. Preheat oven to 425 °F

    2. Mince your shallot and toss in lime juice
    Set aside for later use.

    3. Cut squash in half, removed seeds, and cut into half moons
    Half moons give you a good surface area for browning. Make ‘em roughly 1/4-inch thick.

    4. Toss squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper
    Use enough to coat the squash without drowning it.

    5. Lay squash on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes
    Don’t let the squash overlap or it will steam rather than roast. You can flip the squash halfway through, but if you leave it to cook on one side you’ll get better caramelization.

    While the squash cooks…

    6. Chop cilantro and parsley; mix with reserved shallots
    Stems and all.

    7. Roast peanuts
    When there’s about 8–10 minutes left on your squash, throw your peanuts on a small sheet pan or oven-safe skillet and roast them. This is a higher temperature than you’d usually roast nuts, so we’ve reduced the time drastically. But still, keep an eye out for burning.

    8. Remove squash and peanuts from oven and let cool slightly

    Now, it’s time for plating:

    First, take your curried yogurt and spoon it on the center of a large serving plate. Fan it out in a circular motion with the back of your spoon. Then, layer squash in a mound in the center of the plate. Add some flaky sea salt and pepper. Top with cilantro-parsley-shallot mixture, and finally peanuts.

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    Um, excuse me?

    Any squash I shouldn’t use?
    Skip spaghetti squash. Its texture isn’t the best for this recipe.

    Can I use something besides peanuts?
    You can use any nut you’d like! We like peanuts here because they feel very asian-inspired with the curry and herbs. Almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts would be great, too.

    What if I’m allergic to nuts?
    Bread crumbs or toasted quinoa would be a good option.

    My squash won’t brown!
    It’s not the end of the world, it will still taste delicious. If you really want that bronzed look, stick it the under the broiler.

    How far ahead can I make this?
    Everything in this meal can be made at least a day ahead of time. Just keep all the ingredients separate until you are ready to serve. This squash is delicious hot or at room temperature—not so great when it’s cold.

    Hmm… that makes it sound like it could be a great dish to bring to someone’s house for Thanksgiving…
    Yes! This is the best possible type of dish to bring to Thanksgiving. You can make everything at home and don’t need to use precious stove space to reheat. You’re the best, most thoughtful guest we’ve ever had.

    What’s the meaning of life?
    DM us on Instagram @idratherbemeryl.

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