5 Roasted Squash Recipes to Upgrade Your Meal Prep

Quick & Easy Food Recipes at maxeat.com

Roasting a ton of squash is a rite of passage at the start of fall. Almost every week during squash season, I slice or dice delicata (no peeling necessary!), acorn, or butternut squash for beginning-of-the-week meal prep. Then on Monday night I’ll have a quick side dish, on Tuesday I can throw it in a salad or grain bowl, or use it as the base for soup. Going through the motions of tossing squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasting at high heat for half an hour is a zombie-like process for me at this point, and in turn, it’s become boring as hell.

Until I saw…

Check out Carla’s chile-sumac-roasted delicata squash recipe below.

Photo by Carla Lalli Music

…food director Carla Lalli Music‘s casual Monday night squash dinner on Instagram (pictured above) featuring crunchy pepitas, a swoosh of yogurt at the bottom of the bowl, and a variety of spices, I knew I had to step up my game. The trick is to use flavors that will balance out the sweet flavor and starchy texture using items you probably have in your cupboard, spice drawer, or fridge. Here are Carla’s best tips and favorite combinations.

gochujang-and-sesame-roasted-winter-squash

Adding gochujang is never a bad idea.

Danny Kim

1. Raid the Spice Cabinet

Olive oil, salt, and pepper is standard, but try adding a little brown sugar or maple syrup for sweetness and extra caramelization. Or use warming ground spices like coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, sumac, curry spice, chile powder, smoked paprika, or garam masala. We sometimes toss squash in spicy chile paste like gochujang, which will both help the squash caramelize and add a punch of heat. Coconut oil is a good alternative oil that holds up to high heat and complements the sweetness of warm spices. Roast at 425° for 30 minutes, straight on the sheet pan so it can get caramelized. Then you might need this guide to cleaning your sheet tray.

2. Start with a Creamy Base

Doctor up tangy yogurt into a sauce with microplaned garlic, lemon juice, and salt. This gives you something to drag squash through and add flavor, cools down your palate if you use a lot of spice, and adds a nice sour note. Even though buttermilk is thin, it still works as another sour base when mixed with chopped herbs and garlic. An even better option is to mix the two ideas for a tangy ranch dressing.

honeynut squash with radicchio and miso

A miso dressing drizzle adds creaminess and saltiness to honeynut squash.

Peden + Munk

3. Drizzle On Extra Flavor

Squash is lean, so it needs a little extra fat. Make a drizzle of flavored oil like mustard seeds cracked open in olive oil, chile flakes, or coriander, cumin, or fennel seeds. You can keep the seeds whole or smash a little before letting them sizzle over medium heat for 30 to 45 seconds. They should be lightly brown, but not burnt. If you want to go fresh, a bunch of chopped herbs in oil (like chimichurri) or thinned-out pesto also make good drizzles. For a little extra decadence, you could do this in brown butter instead of oil, or drizzle on some hot honey.

roasted-butternut-with-herb-oil-and-goat-cheese

You should try roasted butternut squash with herb oil drizzle and goat cheese.

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott

4. Crunchify Me, Cap’n

Have a favorite nut or seed? Try it! Pepitas make sense because you’re using squash already, but you can also try toasted hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts, almonds, or peanuts. Other crunch-factor additions: crushed pita chips, herby breadcrumbs, toasted grains like quinoa or groat, or pomegranate seeds. You can toast nuts at the same time as you roast squash: put them on a separate sheet pan on a rack underneath the squash for about five minutes. With pepitas, Carla recommends letting them only go for a minute in the oven or on the stovetop (in the same pan you sizzle your spices in oil!) because they cook faster. Texture makes all the difference, and now you have something creamy, tender-crispy squash, and crunchy toppings. Triple threat.

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This roasted squash and cauliflower is served over a cashew sauce, but toasted cashews on top wouldn’t hurt.

5. Go Wild with These Combos

Now that you’ve graduated from Squash School™, try these Carla-approved combinations:

Salt + pepper + olive oil on simply roasted squash. Grate garlic into mascarpone or crème fraîche. Add toasted pine nuts + grated Parm + hot honey on top for an Italian-ish squash dish.

Salt + about 1 tsp. curry powder + coconut oil on squash. Roast, then serve atop buttermilk with black pepper + ground cumin + salt. Sprinkle on cashews toasted with Indian spices and a squeeze of lime.

Chile powder + sumac + olive oil. Roast, then serve atop yogurt sauce (garlic + lemon). Drizzle on mustard seeds toasted in olive oil + pepitas + lemon juice.

Smoked paprika + salt + olive oil on squash. Roast, then serve atop yogurt + maple syrup + hot paprika or cayenne (sweet and tangy!). Sizzle sage, rosemary, or thyme in olive oil for drizzle, then sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts. This one is kind of like the flavor profile of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and you could add a little more maple syrup at the end if you want.

Make our gochujang-sesame roasted squash. Serve over thinly-sliced Asian or D’Anjou pear, which will be cooling, crunchy, and sweet to balance out the chile paste’s spice. If you’re not into pears, doctor up yogurt with miso or make a miso dressing and use that as a base. Add sesame seeds, cilantro, and toasted sesame oil on top.

Congrats—you’ve passed our Squash Master Class.

Go for gochujang-roasted squash:

Quick & Easy Food Recipes at maxeat.com