At warm-up Thanksgiving this year, the annual pot luck my friend Jenna hosts a few days before Thanksgiving, I brought a butternut and kale side dish that was a hit. The butternut squash is tossed with spices and olive oil before it is roasted, and then sautéed onions, dried cranberries, and toasted pumpkin seeds are added to a bed of leafy green kale.
Not only does it look pretty on the table, it tastes delicious! This dish quickly emptied out at our pre-Thanksgiving meal.
The recipe comes from Westside Market in New York City. They had sent me an e-mail sharing ideas for using “the whole pumpkin,” meaning the pumpkin seeds. Westside Market in New York City was founded by the Zoitas family, who arrived in the United States from Greece more than 45 years ago and set up their neighborhood store based on a love of fresh-grown produce and authentic cooking. Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade,” a line of prepared food, has created pumpkin seed recipes for the fall dinner table.
Sure, you can take the traditional route of just roasting pumpkin seeds, sometimes called pepitas, and eating them straight from the bowl as a snack. But they can also provide an added crunch and another layer of a salty, nutty taste to a salad or side dish.
To toast your pumpkin seeds, simply rinse off the seeds and spread them out on a baking sheet coated with a little olive oil in a 400 degrees F. oven for about 10-15 minutes. Elise at Simply Recipes has a great approach to make them even saltier: simmer the pumpkin seeds in salty water before roasting them.
Shelling pumpkins can be a bit of work, but if you don’t like chewing on the shells the extra effort is worth it to get to the nutty flavored seeds inside. Once you’ve freed the seeds you can add them to all kinds of dishes – sprinkle them over salad, add them as a topping to baked apples, or use them as a garnish for your favorite pumpkin soup.
In this dish, I left the shells on and I normally don’t like pumpkin seed shells. But I followed the Simply Recipes tip for simmering the seeds before roasting and didn’t mind the crunchy shells at all.
Roasted butternut squash with toasted pumpkin seeds
By Maria Zoitas of “Maria’s Homemade”
1 medium size butternut squash – about 2 lbs. peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt (kosher)
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
8 cups of water
1 bunch of kale, remove stems and slice into one inch wide pieces
1 medium size white onion peeled and 1/4-inch diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted and shelled pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with salt, clove, nutmeg and 1/4 cup olive oil.
Place the butternut squash in a 9″x8″ sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Be sure you don’t crowd the pan so the squash doesn’t steam and you can get nice, crunchy edges.
In the meantime, bring the water to a boil and blanch the kale for 3-4 minutes. Remove the kale with a slotted spoon or tongs and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the remaining oil and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the cranberries and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the pumpkin seeds, and stir over heat for an additional minute.
Combine the roasted butternut squash, kale, onion mixture in a large bowl or serving dish and serve.
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