Photo by Brooke Fitts Photography
Culinary Chemistry: Maple and Cider-Roasted Delicata Squash
by Lauren Chambers

The holidays are coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean your meals have to resort back to boring, tasteless basics.

I love delicata squash because while it tastes sweet, buttery and decadent, it’s also rich in vitamins (particularly A and C, which are essential for healthy vision and glowing skin), minerals (plentiful in bone-building iron and calcium) and fiber (which is mandatory for the removal of toxins and optimal digestion). It’s also one of the easier squashes to chop and the skin is edible (no peeling necessary!). Plus it only clocks in at 30 calories per 3/4 cup and can be used in anything from soups, salads, grain bowls and dessert.

My favorite way to eat delicata squash is to glaze it with cider and roast it, and I find it works particularly well with Seattle Cider Co.‘s Oaked Maple cider, which adds just a hint of sweet maple flavor and an acidic finish to the hearty squash. Then I top it with brown butter hazelnuts, pomegranate and mint for a rich, nutty, flavorful and bright finish.

A seasonal note: make sure to whip this dish up soon as delicata squash’s season ends in February. Can’t find delicata squash at your local grocery store? Acorn squash makes a fine substitute in this dish. Be sure to whip up extra — you will want seconds, or reheat in the morning and top with some Greek or coconut yogurt and granola for a filling first meal.

Maple Cider-Roasted Delicata Squash with Brown Butter Hazelnut Topping
By Lauren Chambers of sofreshNsogreen.com
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized delicata squash, rinsed, sliced lengthwise in half, cored and cut into half-moon wedges
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Seattle Cider Co. Oaked Maple cider
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup ghee or butter
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 handful mint
Pinch each of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper until evenly coated. Place the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet or pan and bake in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Half way through cooking, drizzle on the 1/4 cup cider and flip.

While the squash roasts, prepare your brown butter hazelnut topping. In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, add the hazelnuts and cook, stirring them in the pan often, until they are lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the ghee or butter and cook, stirring frequently until the butter is golden brown and flecked with brown bits, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside when finished.

Once the squash is finished roasting, transfer onto a serving platter and top with the brown butter hazelnuts, pomegranate and fresh mint. Serve warm.

Lauren Chambers is the owner of the (mostly) plant-based recipe blog sofreshNsogreen.com. Her high-traffic website is dedicated to empowering home cooks with recipes that not only taste good but help readers feel good too.

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