Thanksgiving Week Extravaganza recipe #2? Squash!
Do you remember what I did last year? I made a Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Casserole (yes, a hot dish) for Thanksgiving. And? It was amazing! My aunts even made it at my grandma’s house for the big day! The Midwesterner in me was so proud.
I wanted to incorporate squash and sweet potatoes again this year, because, carbs. But I wanted to simplify and class things up a bit. Hence, a salad (made of mostly carbs)! Shall we?
The base of this 9-ingredient dish is roasted butternut squash and (or) sweet potatoes.
Roast with coconut oil, spices, and a little maple syrup and coconut sugar until golden and tender. It’s so delicious you’ll eat half before it’s ever assembled (according to a friend of mine – not me, of course).
While the squash is roasting, toast up some pecans and then – right on the pan – toss them with coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and spices and roast 5 minutes more until golden brown and crispy and SO DELICIOUS.
Again, my friend said she ate like half of them before serving. I can’t believe her. Such a lack of self-control.
For the dressing, I was hemming and hawing between savory, sweet, or tangy, until I remembered pomegranate molasses existed!
You can either buy pomegranate molasses or make it at home by cooking down pomegranate juice into a semi-glaze consistency (like you would balsamic vinegar). It only takes about 20 minutes and you’re left with a 1-ingredient dressing that complements this “salad” beautifully.
For serving, I opted for a bed of arugula and red onion. But to be honest, it was just for color. You can definitely just serve the squash with pecans and pomegranate molasses and this would be a show stopper.
But it never hurts to sneak in more greens when you can (so they say).
I hope you all love this dish! It’s:
& So delicious
I’m envisioning this being the “I can’t keep my hands off it” side dish this Thanksgiving (and all fall + winter long for that matter). If you’re more of a traditionalist, give my Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Casserole a try!
If you try this dish, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Sweet & Spicy Roasted Squash & Pecan Salad
- 5 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash and/or sweet potato (I used both)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (more to taste)
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (more depending or sweetness of squash/potato)
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses* (to make at home: 1 cup (240 ml) pomegranate juice, cooked down for 20-25 minutes into a semi-glaze consistency*)
THE REST optional
- 2 cups organic arugula or mixed greens
- 1/2 medium lemon, juiced (yields ~2 Tbsp or 30 ml as original recipe is written)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt + black pepper
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). If using both sweet potato and butternut squash, spread on different bare baking sheets (as they require different baking times // use more baking sheets, as needed, if increasing batch size).
- To the squash and sweet potato add the coconut oil, sugar, cayenne, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup and toss to combine.
- Bake the squash for 15-20 minutes, and the sweet potato for 25-30 minutes or until both are fork tender, sweet, and golden brown. Toss occasionally to ensure even baking.
- Add the pecans to a separate baking sheet and bake on a separate rack in the oven for 8 minutes. Then remove and add coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, cayenne, salt, and cinnamon. Use a spoon to carefully toss until well coated. Then return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes more, or until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
- While the vegetables + pecans are roasting, make the pomegranate molasses (if using store bought, skip this step), by adding pomegranate juice to a small saucepan and bringing to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced into about 1/4 cup. Pour into a serving dish - it will continue to thicken once cooled.
- To serve, either place the squash and pecans on a serving dish and drizzle with pomegranate molasses OR add the arugula to a serving bowl/platter and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Then add onion, squash and/or sweet potato, pecans, pomegranate arils, and pomegranate molasses. Enjoy immediately. Best when fresh.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with butternut squash, all of the pomegranate molasses and the pecans, and without any additional toppings (arugula, pomegranate arils, onion).