Dinner Tonight: Roasted Squash with Kale Pesto

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butternut-squashLooking for a hearty and warming meal for cold winter days? This is it. Usually, my go-to meal for staving off chills is soup, but this combination of butternut squash topped with pesto and pomegranate seeds warmed my soul! And I made this last night with a toaster oven and a hot plate, so you know it must have been pretty easy! The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Although, you can make pesto from scratch, you can easily use your favorite store bought pesto, as well. And you don’t have to use butternut squash, you can use whatever squash you like.

Butternut squash is a winter squash, and it is readily available at your grocery store. It has a sweet, nutty flavor, and is delicious baked. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A. The pesto features zinc-rich pumpkin seeds and superfood kale. To make this meal even healthier, top it off with the antioxidant powerhouse of pomegranate seeds.

Roasted Squash with Kale Pesto

• 3 cups stemmed, packed kale
• 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
• 1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
• 1/2 cup goat cheese

Place kale and parsley in a strainer, and dip the strainer into a large pot of boiling water just until the kale and parsley turn brighter green. Lift strainer from pot and then immediately dunk into a bowl of ice water for 10 seconds. This stops the cooking process and keeps the kale and parsley bright green. Drain and squeeze the water out of the kale and parsley and place them in a food processor along with pumpkin seeds, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Blend into a coarse paste. With the machine running, slowly pour in oil through the feed tube until incorporated. Add a little water if needed.

Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly brush flesh of butternut squash with oil and place it on the baking sheet flesh-side down. Roast the squash until a knife slides easily through skin and flesh, about 40 minutes.

To serve, place squash flesh side up and spread the kale-pumpkin seed pesto on top. Sprinkle on pomegranate seeds, cheese, and, if you want extra nutrients, add more pumpkin seeds.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023