Monday, October 21, 2013

Sweet, Sour, Salty, and Spicy Squash

This recipe was inspired by one in Heidi Swanson's book "Super Natural Every Day".  I have changed several of the ingredients but kept the four most important components of the dish: the sweet squash, the sour lemon, the salty miso, and the spicy curry paste.  Together, they are perfectly balanced so that the squash is not too sweet, the lemon is bright, the miso is barely noticeable, and the curry does not bite.

Mom, there will be a few ingredients that are new to you here, but they are well worth the investment.  I promise that you will use them again in many future recipes.  These are not ingredients that you will use a small amount of and will then sit in your cupboard until they go bad.  Also, the green curry is not the kind of curry you don't like.  You don't like cumin, and this paste has no cumin in it.  Trust me, it is good.

Miso is an amazing ingredient that can be added to many dishes to add that special "umami" flavour.  It stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach and restores the beneficial probiotics in the intestines. It reduces the risk of several different cancers, is detoxifying, and contains antioxidants.  It also strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.  No wonder many people in Japan eat miso soup for breakfast every day!

This recipe serves two generously for a main course or four for a side.  If you are using it as a main course, you may want to serve it with a piece of bread or a light green salad.  You could also serve it with rice.  We ate it by itself, but that's just us...


Butternut squash
(fill a Pyrex liquid 2 cup measure as full as you can)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white miso
1 Tbsp green Thai curry paste
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red potatoes or 8 baby potatoes, cubed
Juice of half a large lemon
6 leaves of kale
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (or cilantro)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (if you are feeling energetic, you can roast them in the oven like pumpkin seeds).  Cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes.  You can peel it if you want, but you don't have to.  I usually peel half and leave half with the skin on.  Fill up the Pyrex cup - that's how much you will use for this recipe.  Toss the rest of it in a bit of olive oil and roast it on a separate baking sheet to use at a later date - if you put it in the fridge raw, you will never use it - trust me!

3. Cut the potatoes into cubes.  Put the potatoes with the squash in a medium bowl.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso, and curry paste.  Measure out 1/3 cup of the mixture and put it in the bowl with the potatoes and squash.

5. Toss the potatoes/squash with the miso sauce, and then place them on a baking sheet.  Put this baking sheet and the baking sheet with the plain (leftover) squash in the oven for 30 minutes.  Stir them around at 15 minutes and 25 minutes so that they do not burn.

6. Add the lemon juice to the leftover miso mixture.  Cut the stems out of the kale, slice the leaves into ribbons, add them to the miso/lemon mixture, stir to coat completely.  Leave this at room temperature to wilt in the lemon vinaigrette while the squash cooks.

7. Simmer the chickpeas in a small pot of water for about 5 minutes to soften them up a bit.  Drain and set them aside until the potatoes/squash are ready.

8. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan for about 2 minutes.  Chop the parsley into large pieces.

8. When the potatoes and squash are soft and a fork will easily go through them, take them out of the oven and toss them with the kale mixture.  Add the chickpeas. Serve on a plate and top with the pumpkin seeds and parsley (or cilantro).  Enjoy!


1. The leftover butternut squash can be eaten alone as a side, added to soups or stews, or pureed with vegetable stock for a nice soup.  You could find a muffin recipe that uses a squash puree, or you could freeze it for another use.

2. The leftover miso can be used in soups, stews, or just added to hot water for a very nice, light and healthy soup.  You can use it with some olive oil and the juice of the other lemon half for a nice vinaigrette.

Shopping Tips:

1. There are many different kinds of squash at the farmers market at this time of the year.  You could use another kind if you want, but don't use spaghetti squash - it is too different.  If you use butternut, pick one that has a long skinny part and a small bulb.  That way you get more flesh and fewer seeds.

2. The miso will be in the refrigerated section of the health section (you might have to go to a health food store, but I don't think so, it is pretty common).  There are different kinds, but you want to make sure that you get white miso as it is the mildest. I use shiro miso.

3. The Thai green curry is in the Asian/Thai section of the grocery store and can be purchased at any grocery store.  You can use red Thai curry as an alternative, but I prefer green.

Scott gave this recipe an 8/10 and then went back for thirds, so I'm thinking it deserves at least an 8+. . .
P.S. He gives almost everything an 8/10.  I'm still trying to figure out what he expects for a 10!

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