Thank you for checking out my FIRST recipe post! Just a disclaimer: I am not a chef or professional recipe developer. However, I think part of being a registered dietitian is having the intuition to create a healthy recipe out of whatever you have, and how to do it as simply as possible. This is because we understand what food can do for us, the meaning of a balanced meal, and the basics of food science and cooking.
And with that, I present to you this very easy side dish that can accompany a number of lean protein options to create a healthy, balanced meal: Roasted delicata squash!
One thing I have come across both in my work so far, and in life, is that when people want to transition to eating healthier, they take an all or nothing approach. It becomes overwhelming, and then they give up. One thing I recommend to patients who struggle with getting even one serving of vegetables in their day, is to start small. Begin by identifying where you can add a serving of a fruit or vegetable and go from there. Focus on adding more of the fruits and vegetables that you do like rather than focusing on restricting the foods you feel guilty about. Never works.
I've said this a million times and will always be saying it, but eating healthy does not have to be complicated! Nor does it need to involve recipes with tons of steps and ingredients. Pairing this squash with a protein source such as baked chicken or fish, quinoa, chickpeas, rice and beans, would be a great simple and satisfying lunch or dinner.
And of course, the RD in me wants to scream about all the health benefits of squash, so here we go!
Delicata squash is of the winter squash variety and you'll find it in abundance during the fall and winter months along with pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squashes. And what is AMAZING about delicata is that it is softened up when roasted, meaning you don't have to peel the skin off prior to cooking! Talk about a time saver. I am all about cooking from scratch, but I totally understand the pain of peeling an entire butternut squash versus buying it already cubed and ready to go.
- Contains 0g fat
- Contains only about 30-40 calories per serving
- Contains 3/4 of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, which is essential for eye, skin, bone, and immune health
- Also a great source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fiber!
Recipe: Easy Roasted Delicata Squash
Category: Side Dish
1 Delicata squash
Extra virgin olive oil
Optional seasonings: Rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic powder, salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Cut off tips of squash on each end, then slice into approx. 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick rounds
3. Scoop out seeds from each round. (These can be saved for later roasting!)
4. Coat both sides of squash rounds with olive oil. (I find a basting brush is easiest for this.)
5. Season with black pepper
6. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray and place squash on sheet
7. Roast squash for 25 minutes, flipping halfway
Optional: In my opinion, simply seasoning with black pepper brings out enough flavor in the squash, but it never hurts to add some extra seasonal flavors to the dish! Feel free to experiment with herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, or even spices like cinnamon! In the picture above, there is some rosemary and garlic powder and the squash and it basically resembled well-seasoned fries. But better!