By Jillian Tholen, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota—The Emily Program]
I adore the squash that become so ubiquitous at the markets during the fall season. There are so many different varieties! I haven’t tried them all, but I try to seek out new kinds whenever I can. One of my favorite ways to do this is to go to the farmer’s market, find a variety I’m not familiar with, and then ask the farmer about it. They always have so many interesting things to say about their vegetables, and they are always willing to share ideas for preparing and cooking things as well.
This is how I discovered the delightful little squash known as the Delicata. They are much smaller than many of the other varieties of winter squash, and very pretty, with pale yellow skin and green stripes. Their skin is thin and edible, so it’s not necessary to peel them, and they have a nutty, slightly sweet flesh that is delicious, especially when it has been roasted. They also make excellent vessels for other delicious fall things, which I happily discovered with this recipe.
Squash is a fantastic source of many vitamins and minerals and it’s full of fiber. In particular, winter squashes are rich in carotenoid pigments, which are potent anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting compounds. Rainbow chard is also a great source of nutrients and antioxidants, with its dark green leaves and colorful stems. Finally, apples add additional fiber and carbohydrates that support a healthy digestive system.
This is a two-part recipe, with instructions for both roasting the squash and preparing the chard and apple filling.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Rainbow Chard and Apples
Roasted Delicata Squash
- 1 medium sized delicata squash
- 1 tsp. butter or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Rub the cut sides with softened butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt if you like.
- Place squash on a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft and tender.
- Allow to cool slightly.
Rainbow Chard with Apples and Bacon
- 2 slices good quality, thick-cut bacon, chopped
- Half an onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 apples, cored and chopped (no need to peel them)
- 1 big bunch of rainbow chard, ends trimmed, chopped
- ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. good maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and throw in the bacon. Cook it for a bit, stirring every once in a while, till the bacon is reasonably cooked and a good amount of the bacon fat has been rendered. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, and set it aside for later.
- To the remaining bacon fat, add the chopped onion. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onions have softened a bit, and then add the apples and the red pepper flakes.
- Sauté the mixture for a few minutes, then add the chard. After it cooks for a minute or so and the chard begins to wilt, add the remaining ingredients and stir around to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
- Serve on top of your roasted Delicata halves! This chard/bacon/apple mixture goes especially well with the sweet, nutty flavor of the squash, but this would also be delicious as an accompaniment to many other things.
Per serving: 350 calories, 14g total fat (5g saturated fat), 7g protein, 57g total carbohydrates, 12g dietary fiber, and 690 mg sodium