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Holiday Dish for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Omnivores Too!

If you want to make a dish that will win enthusiastic applause from your family and guests during these holidays, look no further than this colorful plate of Roasted Butternut Squash with Greens. Foodies of every persuasion—regardless of food preferences and sensitivities—will ooh and aah when they taste this exquisite special-occasion dish (even if I do say so myself! After all, it was a gift to me from Annapurna, the goddess of food.)

You will also be delighted to know that this can be an entrée or side dish and it’s easy to make. I whipped it up to serve four in about an hour.

A mélange of flavors is what makes this dish so stimulating to the tastebuds. The recipe brings together all of the six tastes noted in Ayurvedic texts: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Combining the six flavors makes a dish more interesting, delicious, and healthy.

The roasted winter squash is naturally a bit sweet. While the squash is roasting, I sauté a small pungent onion until it caramelizes and turns sweet. Then I add the ground spices (pungent, bitter, and sweet) and fresh ginger (pungent). The greens (astringent and bitter) are cooked until tender with salt and a little maple syrup and dates—yum! Slightly sweet and astringent pecans (or slightly bitter and astringent walnuts) are added to the greens as well to bring some crunch. The denouement is created with a sweet coconut cream topping and a sprinkling of sour pomegranate seeds.

Enjoy this Roasted Butternut Squash with Greens for an unforgettable festive treat!

May you and yours experience the true joy and grace of the holiday season.


Vegan and Gluten-Free

Preparation Time:
60 to 75 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

For the squash
1 long butternut squash
2 pinches mineral salt

For the greens
1 small onion
2 tablespoons avocado oil
8 to 12 cups of mixed chopped greens, such as kale, red chard, and spinach
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch ground cloves
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 large medjool dates, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans or walnuts
¾ to 1 teaspoon salt
2 or more tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

For the topping
1 cup high-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon real maple syrup

Cook’s Note:  1. Look for a squash that is no more than about 4 inches in diameter so it will be easy to slice after baking only a half hour. 2. It’s not necessary to peel the squash for this dish. 3. Place a small mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to chill before making the whipped cream.

1. Bake the squash: Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper. Place the whole squash in the dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to slice easily. Slice into ½-inch rounds (removing the seeds and the stringy bits) and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until tender.

2. Prepare the greens: Chop the onion finely. Heat a large pot or sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add the oil and sauté the onion until it turns golden and caramelizes, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. While the onion is cooking, prepare the greens, ginger, dates, nuts, and pomegranate seeds.

4. When the onion is slightly caramelized, add the ground spices and stir for about 10 seconds to coat the pieces of onion evenly. Add the chopped greens and 2 cups of water, increase the heat to medium, and cover the pan. Cook until the greens are tender (5 to 20 minutes depending on the type of greens used). If cooking a heartier green such as kale, check the pan to see if more water is needed to cook the greens until tender. When the greens are cooked, if you find there is still water in the pan, remove the lid and continue cooking until the water evaporates.

5. Stir in the ginger, dates, syrup, and nuts. Add salt to taste. Mix well and set aside on warm.

6. Prepare the topping: Combine the three ingredients in the chilled mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the coconut milk has the texture of whipped cream.

7. Assemble the dish: Place a generous portion of greens on each plate. Add 2 or 3 squash slices on each plate. Sprinkle salt on each squash slice. Add a dollop of whipped coconut cream on top of each slice. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the topping and around the edges of each plate for additional color. Serve immediately. Bon appétite!


6 Responses

  1. Maureen McNelis says:

    I continue to absolutely Love your enthusiasm for good-tasting and nutritious food! Much love. Happy Holidays to you and yours!💞

  2. Karin Anderson says:

    Looks like a festive dish perfect for Christmas. I’ve been using pomegranate seeds lately and really like them.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Karin! I love pomegranate for some added flavor and the color makes the dish more fun!

  3. Marie Iddings says:

    This looks so festive and a real visual holiday treat! And that it tastes superb and is so good for you is just 2 additional gold stars for a holiday recipe! I can’t wait to make this for my family as a true celebration!

  4. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the gold stars, Marie! feedback always appreciated. Let us know how it turns out! Happy holidays!