Roasted Squash with Chili Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

My kids had a really fun birthday celebration for me on Saturday evening before my daughter, Cait, and the herd headed back to their home in London on Sunday. I was strictly warned not to prepare anything for dinner that evening. I took a luxurious little nap late in the afternoon and when I got up, there were the most amazing aromas emanating from my little kitchen, when I wandered downstairs, she was mixing and chopping and pureeing. What caught my eye was a beautiful bright green sauce she had made. She also had Greek yogurt and sriracha out and I surmised, when I heard the convection-oven fan whirring, that the fabulous aromas were coming from whatever she had going on in there.

When I asked her what she was making, she said only one word, “Ottolenghi” and I knew right then and there we were in for a huge treat. But I’ll let her tell you about that.

I have to admit that until moving to England I really could take or leave vegetables. They were always second tier in my mind to the meat and carb selection to any meal I was making or eating. But since moving here where they seem to be treated like “royalty” I’ve turned over a new leaf. I love vegetables, in fact- I think if it weren’t for my husband I could probably become vegetarian myself!

I constantly find myself looking for new and fun inspiration for how to prepare them- it’s almost like I’m teaching myself to cook all over again! Part of this metamorphosis came when I discovered the amazing little restaurant, Ottolenghi. I’ve written about it before on this blog, but I honestly just can’t say enough. It is a take out restaurant here in London that’s out of this world delicious. There are only a few locations across the city, but if I’m anywhere nearby, I’ll make a special trip to pop by and I NEVER leave empty handed. They are not specifically a vegetarian restaurant, but the things that they can do with fresh veggies are unbelievable.
I recently bought one of their cookbooks and was completely overwhelmed by which recipe to try first. I finally settled on this roasted squash recipe. It’s fast and easy which is high on my priority list with four little ones underfoot during dinner prep time, but the flavors really pop. I normally make enough for my lunch the next day, because it’s even good tossed in the microwave for a few seconds just to take the chill off and I can feel great about a main course of veg for lunch. Enjoy!
Cait

Roasted Squash with Chilli Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
se salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces (about 50g) of cilantro, leaves and stalks, plus extra leaves for garnish1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1½ tsp sriracha (or other chili sauce)
arugula or baby spinach

mint leaves, for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 400˚F (200C)

2.  Cut the squash in half lengthways, remove and discard the seeds, then cut it – skin and all – into 7cm-long and 2cm-thick wedges. Put these in a large bowl with the cinnamon, two tablespoons of olive oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper, and rub evenly into the squash.
3. Lay the squash skin side down on two sheet pans and roast for 25-30 minutes, until soft and starting to colour. Remove and leave to cool.

4. Meanwhile, place the cilantro, garlic, remaining oil and a generous pinch of salt in a small food processor and blitz to a fine paste.

5. Lower the oven temperature to 325˚F (160˚C). Lay the pumpkin seeds on an oven tray and roast for six to eight minutes. The skins will pop open and they’ll go light and crisp. Remove and set aside.

6. To serve, mix the yoghurt and chili sauce. Scatter arugula or baby spinach on a serving tray. Lay the squash wedges on top, drizzle over the yoghurt sauce and then the herb sauce (you can also swirl them together). Scatter the seeds on top, followed by a few coriander and mint leaves, and serve.

Adapted from Jerusalem



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