spiced delicata squash with yogurt-cilantro dip

Serves:
4 to 6 as an appetizer; 2 as a side dish    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
35 minutes

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delicata squash yogurt cilantro

Two minds are better than one. That was the case when my friend Anne and I put our heads together on a recipe. We had delicata squash from a farm stand near her house plus whatever was in her kitchen. I found aromatic spices and coconut oil in her cupboard and roasted the squash with those. She pulled leftover yogurt-cilantro dip from the fridge. I would never have thought of combining these and she would never have thought of using the spices I chose, but together we made magic.

Delicata squash has edible skin, which is key, but so does kabocha and you can use it instead. You can change up the spices; we used cardamom, cumin, and cayenne, but ground ginger, coriander, and paprika work, too. Even a little cinnamon —  it really depends on what’s in your cupboards. And while coconut oil gives this an Indian flavor, olive oil works, too, and tastes slightly more Moroccan. If you don’t like cilantro, use mint in the dip. Any which way, this would be the perfect healthy-ish appetizer for Thanksgiving and it can easily be scaled up for a crowd. For that idea, thank Anne!

1 delicata squash
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon each of the following spices (use 2 or 3): ground cardamom, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground paprika
pinch cayenne or ground cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro or mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (for easy cleanup).

To cut the squash, first slice off the stem end then cut the delicata crosswise in half. Stand each half on its cut end and slice in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and strings. Cut each piece crosswise into half-moon slices about 1/2-inch thick.

Put squash in a bowl and add oil, a hefty pinch of salt, and the spices of your choice. Toss well to coat slices (your best tool here is your hands). Spread squash on baking sheet and bake on the lower rack of oven for 35 minutes or until cooked through and light brown on the bottom. Turn off oven and let squash sit in there for 5 minutes (this makes the pieces firmer so they are easy to pick up and dip).

Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro and season well with salt. Put in a small serving bowl.

To serve, scatter the squash on a nice platter and place the dip alongside. Serve right away. (Note: you can roast squash and make dip up to the day before. Refrigerate until ready to use. Before serving, reheat squash in low oven or microwave until warm.)