Happy Fall! I know I'm a few weeks late in getting into the Autumn spirit...let's just say this tropical girl at heart was stuck in a summer frame of mind as usual. Then as I walk out everyday lately, the colourful leaves just kept reminding me that it's time to move on and embrace the new season.
So here we go...October calls for squash dishes. My son is a big lover of this yellow vegetable and if it was up to him, he would have squash soup everyday. I bought a few organic ones from The Big Carrot two days ago and today, I cut up a whole kabocha squash for 2 dishes, one for his soup and another for a roasted squash salad. We will post the salad recipe now and the soup next week.
In the Philippines, we call "winter squash" "kalabasa" and we didn't really have all the different North American varieties. It's mostly just kabocha and maybe his cousins autumn cup or buttercup. And so growing up, I was so accustomed to their sweet, creamy and nutty qualities that even now, I'm still more inclined to buy these varieties than maybe a butternut or a delicata. At any rate, winter squash is a great source of beta-carotene...that yellow/orange pigment in foods. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A which is an antioxidant. We need this vitamin for good eye health, protection against cancer and heart disease and for healthy skin. You can check this link for a good read about winter squash.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad With Balsamic and Citrus Dressing
Ingredients (Preferably Organic)
1/2 of kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes, about 2 1/2 cups
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
2 tsp. olive oil
pinch of black pepper
6-7 oz. greens ( I used baby spinach and baby romaine leaves)
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onions
1/4 c. toasted coconut flakes
3 T. dried Goji berries
1 Tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
2 Tbsp. sulphite-free balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 mandarin
pinch of black pepper
optional salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash into half, peel and scoop the seeds out then cut them into 1" cubes. Place them in a baking dish. Add the olive oil, garlic and black pepper then toss to combine. Roast until tender but not too mushy approximately 25-30 minutes . When cooked, cool it down and set aside.
2. While the squash is roasting, dry toast the coconut flakes in a skillet on medium heat until they turn lightly brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes. Prep the greens and slice the onions.
3. Combine the dressing in a small bowl.
4. Assemble the salad by mixing the roasted squash with the greens, the red onions then pour the dressing. Top with toasted coconut flakes and goji berries. Enjoy!
1. You can use a different variety of winter squash that's available in your market.
2. Other greens like arugula or lettuce are also great options.
3. Instead of goji berries, pomegranates will also give the dish that bursting red colour. I was planning on using pomegranates but found out on the last minute that the one I had in my kitchen was rotten.
4. And incase coconuts are not your thing, substitute them with either walnuts or pecans.
5. You may also like these older recipes for squash here or here.
Enjoy the colours of Fall! To my friends and relatives in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy your Spring!