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Roasted Delicata Squash with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

Delicata squash are small and oblong with pretty stripes and firm orange flesh. When roasted, they’re amazingly smooth, rich and sweet. This recipe is easy and tastes luxurious! Additionally, the dish can be made a day prior and finished in a few minutes, which is helpful if you want to serve it as a centerpiece to an autumn feast.

The ingredients can be found in the bulk section of most grocery or health food stores for a cost-effective, healthy and tasty meal!

Makes 4 servings

2 small delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. pecans
4 Tbsp. walnuts
4 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
4 Tbsp. dried cranberries
4 Tbsp. golden raisins
1 tsp. crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground coriander
pinch of ground cardamom
salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small roasting pan, rub the olive oil all over the squash to coat. Arrange the squash cut side up in the pan, sprinkle on some salt, and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the squash is fully tender and the top surface begins to turn golden brown, up to 30 minutes. (Time will vary depending on the moisture content of the squash.) If the squash begins to brown before it is soft, reduce heat to 325 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in an ovenproof pan, roast separately the pecans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds until each is golden and has a toasty fragrance. Roughly chop the pecans and walnuts and set them aside.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tsp. of butter and add the shallots. Cook on med-low heat, stirring frequently, until they are a deep golden brown and fragrant. Remove the shallots from the pan and set them aside.

In the same small skillet, melt the remaining butter on med heat and, when foaming subsides, add the seeds and nuts, cranberries and raisins, crystallized ginger and the sugar. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until the dried fruit is plump and tender, the sugar dissolves and the nuts begin to toast in the butter. Add the caramelized shallots and cook 1 min. more. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and cardamom and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Season with salt to taste. Remove the mixture from the pan and reserve.

When the squash are done roasting, divide the fruit/nut mixture between the squash halves, gently pressing the mixture into the hollowed centers until mounded.

At this point, the squash can be cooled and reserved for the next day, or served right away. To serve, cover with foil and return the pan to the oven to heat the squash. Serve hot with a grain salad, braised greens or just about anything else!

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