Winter Squash, Basil, Cotija, Toasted Pepitas

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I have now made this so many times this season you’d think I’d get sick of it. But no. I have brought this to 2 potlucks, made it for myself, served it at a brunch, and put it together for my lunches at work. This has minimal ingredients and each is fresh and in season. Prep time is really just in cubing the squash, so make sure you do a large batch that will last awhile. Then throw the ingredients together for a very impressive veggie dish. Perfect for the holidays and the cold.

This recipe is three steps: roasting the squash, toasting the pepitas, and making the dressing. When you’re ready to serve, toss it all together. I served this at room temperature as is or over a bed of arugula. Both were hits.

Winter Squash, Basil, Cotija, and Toasted Pepitas
Squash:
2 whole butternut squash*, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Squash should be cubed into bite-sized pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the squash, oil, and salt together on the paper. Toss with your hands to coat the squash. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender and browned.

While the squash is heating, prepare the pepitas.

Toasted Pepitas:
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of chili flakes
smokey paprika (optional)
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

Heat a skillet and add the oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the seeds, the salt and the spices if using. Watch closely and stir frequently. When the seeds begin to puff and change color, lower the hear and add the maple syrup. Stir until the syrup is absorbed. Lay the pepitas on parchment paper or use right away.

Dressing:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/4-1/2 cup basil, torn
pinch of salt
fresh pepper
1/4 cup of cotija or other fresh crumbly cheese

Mix all ingredients (minus the cheese).

To assemble, place squash on serving dish, and top with the pepitas, and cotija. Pour the dressing to your liking over the whole thing. Serve.

*You can also use other seasonal squash or sweet potatoes or a combination.

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About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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One Response to Winter Squash, Basil, Cotija, Toasted Pepitas

  1. Laura says:

    Such a creative dish – looks delicious!

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