Roasted Delicata Squash with Vegan Walnut Pesto is bound to be a crowd pleaser at your family’s holiday celebration! With just a handful of ingredients and big flavor, it’s a healthy side dish you can really dig into!
It’s officially the holiday season!! Happy dance your way over to Starbucks for a red cup (wait, green?) then meet me right back here in three…two…one…
This year I wanted to share more “Thanksgiving sides” that are super simple and highlight fresh, seasonal ingredients. I love pitching in and making a few sides for T-day and it wouldn’t be fair to keep the yumminess to myself and my table.
So, here’s how we’re going to do this: I am going to share a series of recipes over the coming weeks that all are awesome as holiday side dishes! You can make one or all of them, but they all work together. In fact, the ingredients are minimal and many of the dishes share the same ingredients! That really streamlines things come T-day and ensures your head won’t explode all over while shuffling through a stack of recipes. I got ya.
ALSO! If there is a “leftovers suggestion” that goes with a dish, I’ll leave it at the bottom of each post! Don’t worry, you won’t be eating the same meal over and over for a week.
So we are going to start with Roasted Delicata Squash with a super simple Vegan Walnut Pesto. Why is it vegan? Well I’ve left out the parmesan cheese. I assure you, you don’t miss it, but if you fear you will, certainly add in a Tablespoon or two and you’re good.
Delicata is one of my favorite squashes because it has a subtle, buttery taste (not cloyingly sweet like butternut or pumpkin), roasts quickly, AND you don’t have to peel it! Yes! You seriously just scrape out the seeds, slice it and roast it. Super simple. Oh, and did I mention it looks like a flower?
I’ve paired it with a walnut pesto! Walnuts are way cheaper than pine nuts, easier to find, and have a more woodsy taste, so they stand out more. I really love how they pair with the squash and how this whole dish comes together with minimal yet wonderful flavors.
Your guests will really appreciate the fact that this dish doesn’t take over their plate and make it impossible to see pie in their future. I hate when I start digging in and within minutes realize my choice of sides just pushed my pie time back to 9 or 10 pm. Total buzz kill.
Ready for the recipe?
- 1 medium-sized delicata squash
- olive oil (preferably olive oil spray)
- ¼ cup raw walnuts
- handful of fresh basil
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 370 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Cut the end off of your squash and use a long spoon to dig out all of the seeds (I used an iced tea spoon). Then, cut the squash into “flowers” that are about ½ cm thick. Place them on your baking sheet in a single layer.
- Spray the squash with more olive oil (or drizzle on a light layer). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Make your pesto: Place all of the pesto ingredients (walnuts, basil, salt, lemon zest and olive oil) in a high powered blender or food processor. Pulse and blend on low until the walnuts are in very small pieces and it looks like a chutney. If you like creamy pesto, feel free to blend until smooth and add more olive oil if necessary.
- Lay your squash onto your serving tray and drizzle with the pesto. Serve warm, enjoy!
- Squash and pesto can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge in well-sealed containers (separately). Let the pesto come to room temperature and warm the squash then put them together and serve.