Let's talk squash! Fall squash is my favorite of the squashes but there's still such a variety within that category to choose from. I grew up eating plenty of kabocha squash so maybe it's due to a bit of nostalgia but kabocha still sits pretty high up on my favorites list. It has such a smooth, creamy, mildly sweet flavor that just melts in your mouth when cooked just right. It's great in soups, hot pot, roasted, and even battered in tempura and fried.
Delicata squash is also pretty high on my favorites list. I love this one sliced and roasted with olive oil, salt, and rosemary. The trick is to leave it in the oven until it just starts to caramelize for that great slightly chewy texture and sweet roasted flavor. You can also stuff delicata and bake it. It's skin is thin enough to eat without needing to peel which is always a plus.
Classic butternut squash is delicately sweet and is less dense in texture compared to kabocha or delicata. I like to think it has a slightly higher water content. It's lovely baked/roasted as a side dish, or blended into a soup or ravioli filling. Check out my butternut squash ravioli recipe.
This year I discovered the honeynut squash. Smaller in size compared to butternut squash, honeynut squash roasts much quicker: fork tender in 20 min compared to the 40+ min it takes to roast a butternut squash. It is also sweeter than your classic butternut and packs more punch per bite. In my opinion it outranks the butternut on the fall squash scale. Check out my recipe below on stuffed roasted honey nut squash. Packed with lentils for protein and farro as a complex grain, this dish is vegan and can be made as a side dish or can stand alone for a healthy lunch option. Substitute quinoa or wild rice for the farro and use gluten free panko for a gluten free alternative.
Roasted and Stuffed Honeynut Squash
1/2 cup lentils
1 tsp thyme, divided
1/2 cup semi pearled farro
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tart pear
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1 tbsp fig preserves
1 tsp thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
dash of red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400F. Slice honeynut squash in half and remove seeds. Drizzle cut side with olive oil and dash of salt. Bake cut side down for 20 minutes
- Rinse and cook lentils. Generally I cook in a 1:3 ratio of lentils to water or broth. Place lentils, water, dash of salt and 1/2 tsp thyme in a pot and bring to a simmer for about 20-30 min until tender but still holds a nice bite
- Rinse and cook farro. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add farro and cook until tender ~30 minutes depending on type of farro (whole vs semi pearled vs pearled)
- Chop onions and garlic. Sautee with some olive oil, 1/2 tsp thyme, pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add cooked lentils and farro to onions and stir for 1 minute then remove from heat. Can add a little water if it's too dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chop pear/apple and stir into lentil mix. Add in chopped craisins
- Mix olive oil, vinegar, fig preserves, fresh thyme, shallots. I like using the magic bullet for this. makes for a creamy vinaigrette. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Mix dressing into lentil mix and stir until evenly combined
- Fill roasted honeynut squash with lentil mix.
- Top with pine nuts and panko bread crumbs
- Broil for 3 min (or until bread crumbs are just golden)