This is a guest post from registered dietitian nutritionist Vanessa Perrone, owner of Motive Nutrition. For more of her delicious recipes and an abundance of great information about nutrition, cooking and lifestyle please check out her website at www.motivenutrition.com.
Tired of the same-old sides?
When planning our weekly menu, I typically start by jotting down our favourite proteins. Then, drawing inspiration from weekly flyers and seasonal fare, I head out and pick-up the starches and vegetables I like. I rarely plan sides in advance, since I enjoy improvising and having fun in the kitchen. (And often, this fun turns into recipes for you!)
But when I'm drawing a blank or just need to get a meal going, I make sure to keep ingredients on hand that pair well with most proteins. The current side staple? Squash.
Winter squash are a budget-friendly side that deserve to be on your weekly rotation. New territory? No problem. You'll appreciate acorn squash since it is the least laborious of the bunch, with its no-need-to-peel-me factor, making this side ready for the oven in under 30.
This vegetable is loaded with fibre to keep GI health in check and the brightly-coloured flesh packs antioxidant power as one of top food sources of beta-carotene. Sweet, creamy and slightly nutty, acorn squash pairs beautifully with almost any fish or meat and is divine layered on a bed of baby greens, balsamic dressing and goat's cheese.
Sounding good? Go ahead and spruce-up your weeknight meals with this simple seasonal side.
SWEET AND SPICY ACORN SQUASH
1 acorn squash (approximately 1 1/4 lbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the acorn squash in half, from top to tip and with a spoon, remove the seeds.
Lay the squash face down on a cutting board and cut 1/4" slices (keeping the skin).
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, paprika, cumin, nutmeg and cayenne
Add the squash slices to the bowl and toss with your hands.
Lay the slices on the baking sheet spread evenly.
Sprinkle with sea salt and bake 25-28 minutes, until golden and tender.
Vanessa Perrone is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and owner of Motive Nutrition, in Montreal, Quebec.