Roasted Winter Squash with Candied Maple Pecans
You can use any type of winter squash for this dish, even a combination of your favorites. I peel squash with thick skin like butternut, but leave the peel on other varieties like delicata or acorn. It’s a matter of preference! This is a perfect dish for the holidays as it serves a crowd and you can make the candied pecans up to 3 days in advance.
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 pounds winter squash, halved and seeds removed (peeled or unpeeled)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme or sage, plus chopped leaves for serving
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Line a rimmed baking or half sheet pan with parchment paper. Place chopped pecans on pan and bake until just fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let pecans come close to burning. Set aside.
Combine maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted and the syrup begins to bubble around the edges of the saucepan, add the pecans. Cook pecans in the bubbling maple mixture until it thickens and nicely coats the nuts, stirring occasionally using a rubber scraper or spatula, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Scrape pecans and any maple mixture left in the saucepan onto the sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Use the scraper to spread the nuts into an even layer and cool until hard (pecans can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container).
Slice squash halves into 1/2-inch wedges. Toss with olive oil and thyme sprigs and season generously with salt and pepper. Place squash on a rimmed baking or half sheet pan and roast until squash is tender and golden, about 25 to 35 minutes.
Arrange squash on a serving platter and top with candied pecans, chopped thyme or sage and a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.
Recipe by: @cratecooking / www.cratecooking.com
French Lentil Salad with Collards, Butternut, and Pepitas
1.5 c French lentils, picked through and rinsed
1 bay leaf
3 c cold water
1 medium butternut squash
6 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 medium onions (diced small)
3 cloves garlic (diced small)
3 bunches collard greens (remove stem, cut into thin ribbons)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup EVOO
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard (I use Sir Kensingtons, which is local ☺ )
salt + pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a medium-sized pot, cover lentils with cold water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until lentils are soft (about 20-30 minutes), drain excess water if necessary. While lentils are still hot, season with salt and ¾ of the dressing.
3. Meanwhile, peel, seed, and dice squash. Reserve seeds if you plan to roast them instead of using store-bought pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds).
4. In a large bowl, toss diced squash with 3 Tbsp. EVOO, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.
5. Spread squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until soft and golden (about 30-40 minutes), mixing occasionally.
6. Pepitas: You can buy roasted pumpkin seeds OR simply place your squash seeds on a baking tray in a single layer and roast at 425 for about 10 minutes until lightly browned – when you can smell them, they are done.
7. When squash and pepitas are cooked, remove and set aside to cool.
8. Then, heat the last 3 Tbsp. EVOO in a saucepan with tight-fitting lid on medium-low heat. Add diced onions, and when translucent add garlic. After 1 minute, and collards and salt and pepper. Mix and cover for 5 minutes.
9. Whisk together salad dressing ingredients. Set aside.
9. In a large bowl, toss together lentils, butternut squash, collard mixture, and pepitas and top with dressing. Serve layered or combined.