This recipe is not a classic Thanksgiving side dish. In fact, you don’t even have to make it on Thanksgiving,..and that’s exactly why I love it! While there’s nothing wrong with making traditional side dishes (and I’m not sure it would even be Thanksgiving without them) I like to try one or two new sides for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving each year. This isn’t the day to make anything particularly wacky or challenging, but there are so many vegetables and fall flavors that go well with a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s hard not to want to throw something new into the mix.
This year, my ‘addition’ is this Roasted Delicata Squash with Quick Balsamic Glaze. It’s a super simple, delicious, and pretty side dish – what’s not to like? I roast the squash with red onions, which get sweet and caramelized as they cook. Then I add walnut halves that toast right on the sheet with the vegetables. The balsamic glaze might be the easiest part of all – I simmer a pan of balsamic vinegar for about 10 minutes, until it reduces to a thick, sweet, and tangy glaze. This quick glaze is a great trick to have up your sleeve – it’s incredible with any roasted vegetable or drizzled over a green salad.
Delicata squash has recently become one of my favorite fall squash for a few reasons. First, its skin is edible when cooked, so no peeling is necessary. Second, while ccutting a big butternut squash into evenly-sized pieces can be tricky, the delicata’s long, tubular shape makes for perfect half-moon slices. Finally, it roasts in just 25 minutes, making it a an easy choice when time is of the essence.
Delicata squash is increasingly available, but if you can’t find it, any winter squash – butternut, honeynut, sweet dumpling, even acorn – will do, though the cooking time will vary.
I especially love this recipe for Thanksgiving because it’s a dish everyone can eat, which can often be a challenge with a menu full of classic holiday dishes. Totally vegan and gluten-free, this a side all your guests will love, but the ‘dietary restrictions’ crowd will be especially thankful to see it on the table. (Omit the walnuts to make this recipe nut-free.)
Finally, the true beauty of this recipe: its simplicity. Besides olive oil, salt and pepper, it has just 5 ingredients and the whole thing comes together in less than a half an hour. That’s my kind of side dish! Especially on Thanksgiving, when oven space is a precious commodity, it’s helpful to have a vegetable that can roast quickly while the turkey rests. Just transfer the squash to a serving dish, drizzle on the balsamic, and you’re ready to go! You might just find yourself adding this recipe to your yearly rotation…. !
Happy cooking, and happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Roasted Delicata Squash with Quick Balsamic Glaze
- 2 pounds delicata squash (about 2 medium squash)
- Half a small red onion, sliced ¼-inch thick (about 1 cup sliced onions)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup raw walnut halves
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Trim both ends of the squash and cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Slice the squash crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces.
- Place the squash and onions on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss well. Spread out into one even layer.
- Roast for 15 minutes. Add the walnuts to the sheet pan, toss, and roast for another 10 minutes, until the squash is tender and browned and the nuts are toasted.
- While the squash roasts, make the balsamic glaze. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until the glaze is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons of glaze. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Arrange the squash, onions, and walnuts on a flat serving dish. Pour the glaze evenly over the vegetables, then sprinkle with parsley and salt. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.Copyright 2019, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved.