Oh my gourd: Brighten up your holiday dinners with delicata squash (recipe included)
12/19/2020 / By Leslie Locklear / Comments
Oh my gourd: Brighten up your holiday dinners with delicata squash (recipe included)

Delicata squash is one of the select few vegetables that can claim to be a complete food.

A cultivar of the winter squash, the delicata is so-named because of its delicate and edible rind, which is usually cream or pale orange-colored and mottled with beautiful green or dark orange stripes.

Aside from having a very beautiful exterior, the delicata squash is also known for its delectable and sweet flavor, as well as its velvety texture, a combination that has caused others to call it the “sweet potato squash.”

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More than just its delicious flavor, however, the delicata squash is also very nutritious. Just one cup of this vegetable is already packed full of protein, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper and phosphorus.

Because of its incredibly nutrient-dense nature, it’s not surprising to learn that this delicious winter crop is linked to many health benefits such as the following:

Helps keep the digestive system in a healthy, optimal condition

Delicata squash contains high amounts of dietary fiber, especially in its skin. Dietary fiber, as we all know, plays an important role in digestive health such as by helping it digest food, as well as by helping to keep one’s bowel movements soft and regular. As noted in several studies, increasing the amount of dietary fiber has been shown to significantly reduce one’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, as well as chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain gastrointestinal diseases.

Helps build strong bones and teeth

Aside from being packed with dietary fiber, delicata squash also contains significant amounts of calcium, which is needed to ensure optimal bone development as well as reduce the risk of getting fractures and other bone-related injuries.

Helps keep the eyes healthy

Delicata squash is known to be quite rich in vitamin A, an important nutrient that is known to help maintain healthy eyes as well as reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Helps promote healthy red blood cell production

Those who are looking for ways to ensure healthy blood circulation and production will find delicata squash to be of great help. This is because delicata squash contains significant amounts of iron, a mineral that is needed in healthy red blood cell production. Aside from that, iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen in your blood throughout the body.

Helps promote a healthy immune system

As noted by experts, delicata squash contains significant amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin that is especially helpful when it comes to boosting one’s immunity by helping ward off infections.

Aside from that, vitamin C is also noted for its effect on the growth and repair of tissues in the body.

With that said, here’s an incredibly delectable and hearty recipe featuring this lovely vegetable that you can try on your next family dinner.

Developed by chef and restaurateur Rebecca Wilcomb as a dish for her New Orleans-based restaurant, this dish features roasted crescents of herbed delicata squash nestled in a luxurious and velvety bed of cauliflower purée.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Cauliflower Puree

Served on a bed of creamy cauliflower purée, this roasted delicata squash recipe is one delicious way to enjoy this vegetable.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted, grass-fed butter
  • 1 medium-sized organic delicata squash, sliced into crescents ¾ inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup organic onion, sliced
  • 1 clove organic garlic, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped organic cauliflower
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup unpasteurised whole milk OR organic coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While waiting for the oven to come to temperature, season the squash crescents with salt and sage. Set aside.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and add the seasoned squash crescents.
  4. Arrange the crescents cut-side down, in the pan, before sprinkling more sage on the top.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until squash is brown on the underside and has become tender at its thickest point. Once cooked, remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.
  6. As the squash is roasting, combine 1 tablespoon butter, onion, garlic, cauliflower and bay leaf in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pour in water and milk. Let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower completely softens.
  7. After 20 minutes, discard the bay leaf and transfer the cauliflower, onions and garlic to a blender or food processor, reserving the cooking liquid in the pot. Blitz the cauliflower and vegetables until completely smooth. If the resulting purée is too thick, just add some of the cooking liquid to thin it until it reaches the consistency of loose mashed potatoes. Season with salt as needed and then set aside.
  8. Finish the squash on the stovetop by placing the pan over medium-high heat. Flip the squash and add the chopped hazelnuts, chili flakes and parsley. Add vinegar and cook until it evaporates. After that, transfer the squash crescents and the rest of the pan’s contents to a platter, while keeping the pan on heat.
  9. Add remaining butter to the now-empty pan and cook for two minutes or until it starts to smell nutty..
  10. To assemble, first spread warm cauliflower purée across individual plates or a platter, then arrange squash on top. Add the toasted hazelnuts on top of the squash and then finish with drizzles of brown butter and honey.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

As delicious and nutritious as they are, people must keep in mind that vegetables and other healthy foods should not be considered magic weapons that can solve one’s health woes in the blink of an eye. Instead, one must make sure that aside from making healthy food choices, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, one should also adopt an active lifestyle.

Sources:

FarmersAlmanac.com

Snaped.FNS.USDA.gov

DrAxe.com

WSJ.com

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