Tired of the same-old sides?
When planning our weekly menu, I typically start by jotting down our favourite proteins. Then, drawing inspiration from weekly flyers and seasonal fare, I head out and pick-up the starches and vegetables I like. I rarely plan sides in advance, since I enjoy improvising and having fun in the kitchen. (And often, this fun turns into recipes for you!)
But when I’m drawing a blank or just need to get a meal going, I make sure to keep ingredients on hand that pair well with most proteins. The current side staple? Squash.
Winter squash are a budget-friendly side that deserve to be on your weekly rotation. New territory? No problem. You’ll appreciate acorn squash since it is the least laborious of the bunch, with its no-need-to-peel-me factor, making this side ready for the oven in under 30.
This vegetable is loaded with fibre to keep GI health in check and the brightly-coloured flesh packs antioxidant power as one of the top food sources of beta-carotene. Sweet, creamy and slightly nutty, acorn squash pairs beautifully with almost any fish or meat and is divine layered on a bed of baby greens, balsamic dressing and goat’s cheese.
Sounding good? Go ahead and spruce-up your weeknight meals with this simple seasonal side.
- 1 acorn squash (approximately 1 1/4 lbs)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the acorn squash in half, from top to tip and with a spoon, remove the seeds.
- Lay the squash face down on a cutting board and cut 1/4" slices (keeping the skin)
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, paprika, cumin, nutmeg and cayenne
- Add the squash slices to the bowl and toss with your hands.
- Lay the slices on the baking sheet spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and bake 25-28 minutes, until golden and tender.