by Kristen McElveen, ND
Have I mentioned that I LOVE Fall?
A little piece of me gets super excited whenever I start hearing the word "pumpkin" or smell that first crisp, cool day or see the tips of the trees starting to turn.
I may or may not have already had 3 pumpkin spice lattes...moderation, remember?
Fall means harvest.
Fall means bounty, family, friends, celebration and...well...snuggling. It's perfect snuggle weather.
Fall, to me, also means cooking. A lot.
Now, I tend to cook a lot anyway (if you don't follow me on Instagram yet, you're missing out!), but there's just something about Fall foods that makes me wanna hibernate with comfy socks.
As we talked about in last week's post, Fall foods not only pack a cold-and-flu-fighting punch due to their vitamin A content (think winter squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes), but now that it's not too hot to turn the oven on, roasting it the easiest way to prepare them.
I got a lot of requests to be more specific about roasting veggies, specifically the delicata squash, so I decided to re-create it (and with better pictures).
I roast a LOT of veggies all year round, but especially in the Fall.
Roasting really brings out the sweetness in the veggies, especially root veggies that grow underground, like potatoes, carrots and parsnips. But it also brings out the sweetness in the winter squashes.
I'm a sucker for the underdog and I thought to myself, why should pumpkin and butternut get all the love?
My favorite Fall squash, hands down is the delicata.
With it's adorable green, yellow and white strips and it's immune-supporting, orange-yellow flesh, it's just as important as butternut or pumpkin!
Plus, it goes well with just about errythang...
This is how I prep it -
Preheat your oven to 425F
I start by washing them well, since the skin, technically is edible (though I usually spit it out or eat around it).
Then, I cut the ends off to prevent my knife from getting stuck in the woody vine.
Then, I cut them in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (sometimes I use the seeds for things like this) and slice into 1/2-inch thick half-moons like this:
This is a little more crowded than I usually roast my veggies, so be careful. The more spread out they are, the more even roasting, whereas if they get too crowded, they will steam as they release water and you will need to cook them longer to get that brown color and caramelized flavor.
Side note: these grooved baking sheets are the absolute best sheets I have ever owned when it comes to roasting and baking - they are less toxic than most cookware (no PFOAs or PTFEs), the grooves allow for more uniform cooking and thanks to the non-stick silicone coating, they are SUPER EASY clean-up...seriously...you pretty much just have to wipe it once and you're good to go!
Next, I drizzle them with ghee or coconut oil (Tin Star Foods is my favorite ghee, which is tested to make sure it doesn't contain lactose or casein, and you can get it for 26% off at Thrive Market here, plus an extra 25% off if it's your first order!*)
Tip: ghee and coconut oil can both be solid at room temp in cooler climates, so I spoon out a Tablespoon or two into a Pyrex bowl and set it in the oven while it's pre-heating - just don't forget it in there and be careful to use oven kits when taking it out - it gets hot fast!
If you want a sweeter squash, use the coconut oil (I swear it makes them taste like marshmallows)!
If you want a more savory or neutral squash, use the ghee.
When I make big batches like this, I only season them with a little salt so that I can season them according to my mood each time I eat them - for example, I may want them with cinnamon and a little maple syrup OR I may want them with a little spice, like chipotle chili and cumin...you just never know, so better to keep 'em neutral so you can change your mind!
Depending upon your preference (and your oven), you'll want to roast them for about 10-15 minutes, then flip them over and go another 10-15 min.
For these delicate delicatas, I cooked them for 15 minutes on each side to get that delicious caramelization, but you can leave 'em in a little longer or take them out a little earlier, depending on what your taste is. Just keep a good eye on them!
I seriously pondered making a mayo-based dipping sauce and eating this entire pile like onion rings...in fact...I think I will roast onion rings with them next time!
The awesome thing, as I mentioned earlier, is that they go along great with literally anything - a bunch of other veggies, meat, fish, breakfast/lunch/dinner...you name it.
I had a looooong day working hard and my back was barkin', so I decided to recreate this super quick dinner (even quick dinners can be pretty AND nutritious)!
Here's how I put it together:
While the squash was cooking, I had cut up some broccoli so that when I took the squash out of the oven and moved the half-rings to a plate, I could put the broccoli on the hot baking sheet. I then poured a little bit more ghee, sprinkled with salt and roasted for about 10 minutes, stirred 'em up and stuck 'em back in for 5 more minutes until just brown on the edges (timing may vary here, but because it's less dense than squash, it won't need as long to roast).
While the broccoli roasted, I sliced up half an avocado and fried up some pastured eggs (also in a little ghee) and voilà:
A super, nutrient-dense dinner packed with healthy fats, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and fiber!
And MUCH prettier than the picture I used last week (sorry about that)!
How do you like delicata squash? Let us know in the comments below!
*this is an affiliate link for Thrive Market, which means that I may receive a portion of your membership fee, at no cost to you, should you choose to become a member