Thanksgiving is a holiday of excess, and I’m not complaining. Every year, I manage to have not only an excess of leftover food, but also an excess of unused ingredients.
That’s where this butternut squash comes in. I was craving maple glazed butternut squash, and I had a bunch of extra squash, blue cheese, pecans, and pomegranate seeds in the fridge. I threw it all together with some quinoa for dinner tonight.
Blue cheese? you might be asking yourself. How does this fit into the equation? In a word, well. The cheese offers some tang, which balances out the sweeter pomegranate seeds and the maple roasted squash.
A note about the squash: You can eat it like candy. I put most of it into the bowl for dinner purposes, but then I ate some straight off the baking sheet for dessert. Don’t be shy with the salt; I sprinkled a generous amount on the squash after I coated it in maple syrup and it helped bring out the flavors.
Another key to this dish is broiling the squash. You might be tempted to take it out of the oven after it roasts for 30 minutes and eat it immediately, but don’t. Broiling it for even a few minutes gives it a smoky, caramelized flavor.
I realized that I haven’t shared a song in a while. Back in September, my brother told me about Father John Misty. One of my favorite songs by him is Chateau Lobby #4. It’s all about young love. I really like the line, “first time you left you stayed the night despite your own rules/you took off early to go cheat your way through film school.”
Quinoa with Maple Roasted Butternut Squash (from me, to you)
3 cups of cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 generous pinches of coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 cup quinoa, cooked
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside.
Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon. Spread the pieces across the lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, turning the pan once in between, until the squash is soft.
In the meantime, make the quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool slightly.
Once the squash is soft, turn the oven to broil and let the squash brown for a couple minutes. Keep an eye on things; the squash browns quickly.
Remove squash from oven and let cool slightly. Toss with the quinoa, pecans, blue cheese and pomegranate seeds and serve. Enjoy!