This recipe has “Thanksgiving” written all over it. It’s almost as good a treat to rival your dessert & am not even kidding. Funny thing is, not too long ago, I used to wince and squirm at the mere thought of consuming squash. True story. But the worst part of the story is, I had never even tried squash! Not a single variety. I had somehow formed a mental aversion to this delicious vegetable. I would often be lured by a beautiful display of squash at the Farmers Market & buy a few just for “decor purposes”. In true Aleyda fashion, I would bring them home and have them sit over my kitchen table looking pretty and seasonal (the same table which is oddly where I now photograph all my food). I made a deal with squash: “I can take you home & give you a place to stay, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever eat you”.
That was all about to change when I tried an epic, creamy, sweet, butternut squash soup. That Fall, I took the plunge and started dicing & slicing my “decorations”. Boy they were good! I used to do a simple oven bake of light olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. I once even sprinkled brown sugar on them, and that was quite enjoyable. But since I’ve given up ALL forms of refined sugars, this recipe uses pure maple syrup as a glaze and it’s AH-mazing!
Let’s face it, squash is not an easy vegetable to cut. You need a good kitchen knife! I washed it with abundant water & placed them over a cutting board. I’m going to guide you through a really easy recipe as well as tips on how to cut it and coat them well before baking. Let’s get going!
Ingredients (Makes 4-6 Servings. Total Prep Time: 1 hr 10 minutes)
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 cup of quinoa (any variety would do)
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles (I use organic cheese, only)
- 1/2 cup of honey roasted pecans or regular pecans
- 1/4 cup of olive oil for the squash
- 1 tbsp of olive oil for the quinoa
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of ground pepper
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- Heat the oven to 400F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the acorn squash (smaller, green one) into 4 sections by doing a criss-cross. All 4 halves will be equal. Use a spoon to seed them. Then cut each piece into 4 smaller “slices”. I leave the peel on.
- Cut the butternut squash in half, & again, remove the seeds with a spoon. Place each butternut half face down & cut vertically and then horizontally to form “cubes”. I like to leave the peel on. The peel keeps the squash uber moist as it’s baking. It tastes great, but it’s also easy to remove once baked.
- Place the acorn slices & butternut squash cubes into a big bowl
- Add maple syrup, olive oil, sea salt, & pepper. Toss around to coat it.
- Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. P.S. your house will smell great!
- While the squash bakes, I like to prep my quinoa by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil inside a small stock pot. I like to drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil & sea salt into the water. Some people like to cook it in chicken stock for more flavor or to add garlic or a little dill- entirely up to you!
- Once it’s boiling, add the quinoa and give it a good stir. Lower to low-medium heat & cover the stock pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes while stirring often & then remove from the stove.
- Now it’s assembly time: a bed of quinoa topped with roasted, caramelized maple squash, goat cheese that will soon be melting & honey pecans. You can buy the honey pecans or make them- I have a dessert recipe showing you all the steps already on the blog if you’re interested in making your own.
Enjoy it warm! A really good friend said it was like “A Hug in a Bowl”.