Every autumn, farmers’ markets and local farm stands display their finest seasonal vegetables: winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Over the weekend, dietitians from across the web had a chance to show off their best “orange” recipes as part of the monthly Recipe Redux blogger cooking challenge, and over 60 dietitians did just that. We joined the fun with a recipe for Orange Cauliflower Tex Mex Casserole. One dish that caught our eye (and our stomachs) came from Food Confidence, a blog written by fellow dietitian, Danielle Omar. So on this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we serve up Danielle’s hearty autumn recipe and offer umpteen reasons why it’s a good idea to add nutrient-rich, orange foods to your family’s diet. We hope you’ll tune in … and we hope you’ll eat more orange!
Butternut squash and other orange-colored foods are packed with beta-carotene, a phytonutrient that gets converted in the body to vitamin A. As for its health benefits, this awesome antioxidant helps to boosts the immune system and protects against conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Danielle’s recipe calls for one to two cups of cooked lentils. Lentils are easy to prepare, but if you don’t have time, you can always let someone else do the work for you. Trader Joe’s has a steamed lentil product that’s pretty darn good!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lentils and Walnuts
Makes 6 Side Dish Servings
We made one small change to this recipe. Instead of buying the whole butternut squash, we took a shortcut and used the peeled, pre-cut squash instead. That affected our cooking time, and we ended up using a bit less evoo. The flavors of this recipe can best be described as sweet and tart with a tiny hint of salty.
- One 20-ounce package peeled, cubed butternut squash
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots (about 1 small shallot)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
2. Cut the butternut squash pieces into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the maple syrup, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Place the squash evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and tender, about 25 minutes. Toss once or twice during cooking to ensure even baking.
4. While the squash is roasting, Combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat a bit, and maintain at a low boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the mustard.
5. Place the cooked lentils in a serving bowl. Add the roasted squash and the walnuts. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad and stir gently until well coated. (*When Liz made this, she added half the vinaigrette and reserved the rest for a last-minute drizzle at the table.)
Nutrition Information per Serving (a generous 1/2 cup): 260 calories, 16g fat (2g saturated, 1g omega-3), 85mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein, 200% vitamin A, 35% vitamin C, 10% iron
In case you haven’t had a chance to check out our Orange Cauliflower Tex Mex Casserole recipe yet, here it is!