Pumpkins and butternut squashes are staples at the Thanksgiving table in one form or another. These bright and tasty vegetable are in season at the time of the traditional American holiday and grace the table along with turkey, potatoes, corn and cranberries. Be it in a soup to start, a side with the main or the famous Pumpkin Pie, that shot of orange is on everyone’s meal planning list.
And why not when they are not just flavoursome but also good for you? Through the many varieties it comes in squash includes vitamins A, C, E and B, magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus. The colour is demonstrative of the fact it’s a great source of carotenoids and other important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
This easy to make side is a great dish to have up your sleeve for all occasions and would be just as welcome on the Christmas dinner table as it is at Thanksgiving.
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cumin
1 large (2 small) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced 1⁄2 inch thick rounds
Oil spray or 2 tbsp oil
250ml cider or apple juice
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1tbsp maple syrup
25g dried cranberries
20g pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C.
Combine the coriander, nutmeg and cumin.
Spray with or coat in the oil the slices of squash then sprinkle with the spice mix so it’s evenly distributed.
Lay the slices on backing sheets so they are not overlapping. Bake for 30mins until they are soft.
While cooking make the drizzle. Heat the cider/apple juice in a saucepan with the cranberries until the fluid has reduced to around a quarter of what it was. It will take 10-15mins.
Then remove from the heat and add the vinegar, maple syrup and oil. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Place the cooked slices of squash on a platter, scatter the pecans over the squash and then finish with the drizzle.
Recipe for butternut squash soup
For a super-simple soup, you can dice raw butternut squash and put in a saucepan with a litre of water, a couple of garlic cloves, sliced onions, some fresh Rosemary and a vegetable stock cube. Bring to the boil and then let simmer for twenty minutes. Then whizz up into a creamed soup that you can have on hand to enjoy for lunch, supper or as a starter for a main meal; knowing that you’re getting a hefty dose of nutrients. We like it served with a roughly cut slice of crusty baguette and butter – but that’s. optional if you want to keep it low on calories and high on goodness.