Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the best time of the year, and it’s almost here! In the past few years, I think that Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. We usually spend the day at my aunt and uncle’s house, either in Maine or in Boston, where we eat the most delicious meal of the year. I mean, you don’t even know how well they cook. They literally stuff the turkey WITH BACON (and other things…but mostly bacon). Plus, there’s the stuffing (amazing), sweet potatoes with orange and pineapple (A-MAZ-ING, my favorite holiday dish ever), pilaf (we’re Armenian, so this is how we roll), and lots and lots of other awesome things. Just when you thought, “Okay, Diana’s family sounds pretty great,” it gets better: last year, they made the ENTIRE meal gluten-free so that my sister with celiac disease could eat whatever she wanted. Literally, everything. Stuffing. Turkey. Casseroles. Pie. You wouldn’t have even known if you didn’t know (you know?). If inclusion for those with dietary restrictions isn’t the message of Thanksgiving, then I don’t know what is.
So here we are in 2016. My favorite holiday is in two days…and I have a three week old baby! What does that mean? A few things:
- I am really tired.
- I am really hungry, all the time–the joy of nursing.
- I am a bit paranoid about germs (I am a pediatrician, after all). So, my daughter and I will be spending the day at home 🙁 Don’t worry, though, my husband is bringing me a delicious doggy bag.
I’m so tired, in fact, that I forgot to post a great Thanksgiving recipe for butternut squash that I’ve been holding on to for months. MONTHS. Funnily enough, it’s the perfect last-minute Thanksgiving recipe for those that still aren’t sure what to bring to their Thanksgiving dinner, so it’s not quite too late for me to post it.
This marks what I think will be the end of my squash-kick, because I have finally run out of squash recipes…I think. This squash recipe is special, as it does double-duty as one of the easiest recipes, ever. With only five ingredients, and its bold and bright colors and flavors, it’s basically all you can ask for in a delicious side dish. I don’t remember how I decided to combine squash with pomegranate and pistachios, but I’m sure glad I did. The flavors and textures work so well together, with goat cheese adding some much needed creaminess and tang. I couldn’t even believe how easy it was to make.
One big question I always have on holidays is whether I will need to use the oven, which is a precious commodity. Yes, this recipe uses the oven. However, you could roast the squash in the morning, and then set it aside in the fridge to cool during the day. If you take it out about 1 hour before you plan to serve the meal, and allow it to come to room temperature before adding the other ingredients, I think it would still taste great.
Let’s not delay, then. Cut up some butternut squashes into big cubes. Each piece should be the size of a big bite. Spread the pieces evenly on 2 baking sheets, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat evenly. Bake until cooked through but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure you don’t overcook it!
Put the squash into your serving bowl, and top with shelled pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Gently toss to combine.
Before serving, top with crumbled goat cheese. That’s it!
- 1.5-2 medium-sized butternut squashes, peeled and seeded, and cut into large bite-sized pieces
- About 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- ½-1 cup shelled pistachios
- Seeds of one pomegranate, white pith and skins discarded (about 1 cup)
- 5-6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- Heat the oven to 375 F
- Spread the butternut squash evenly over two cookie sheets. Drizzle half of the olive oil over each sheet, sprinkle with salt (about ½ tsp per sheet), and toss well to combine
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until just cooked through but not mushy. Remove from the oven.
- Using a spatula, put the squash into a large serving dish.
- Add ½-1 cup of pistachios (to your preference). Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top. Toss gently to combine.
- Top with crumbled goat cheese. Add additional salt, to taste.