Psst – can I tell you a secret?
Well, when you are reading this, I will literally be yelling “surprise!”
Yep! My mom and I are throwing my sister-in-law a surprise birthday party tonight, and 7:00 is when it all goes down 🙂
I’m in Ohio. I flew in in a SNOW STORM – literally. In mid-April. And this afternoon, I was outside in a tank top by the pool, soaking up the sun. Go figure.
Go home, Mother Nature — you’re drunk.
Well, this meal is a little bit like the weather: a little bit of winter and a little bit of spring come together in this show stopping meal.
Truly, this meal is in my Top 3 dishes I make. Which is quite a statement, I know. But it is 100% accurate.
What is it?
A Harvest Stuffed Butternut Squash!
A roasted butternut squash (Winter), filled with a bountiful stuffing of bright, colorful flavors (Spring): Pears, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, and pistachios. And all of it smothered in a peanut butter drizzle.
Drooling yet? haha
And the best part is that it’s Vegan, Grain and Gluten Free, Specific Carb Diet friendly, and Paleo!
But don’t let that scare you – it’s slap-yo-mama good!
Here’s what you need: (Serves 2)
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
1 beet, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1 pear, small dice
The leaves of 4 brussels sprouts
1/2 red onion, minced
handful of spinach
2 dozen pistachios
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter)
3 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp honey (or a few drops of stevia)
Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top and tail off the butternut squash. Then stand it up on the flat bottom, and carefully, cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and either discard, or roast for a yummy snack! Brush with olive oil, and place cut-side-down on a tinfoil-lined, olive oil-sprayed baking sheet. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until tender.
On a separate tinfoil-lined, olive oil-sprayed baking sheet, spread out the beets and carrots in an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.
Meanwhile, prep your brussels sprouts by tearing off the leaves. You will be sautéing them.
In a large frying pan, sautè the onions in 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper over medium-high heat. Let them cook for about 3 minutes, until soft. Then add the brussels sprout leaves and spinach. Stir them around for 1-2 minutes, until the brussels sprouts leaves have become bright green. Immediately remove the contents of the pan from the heat and set aside. (You just flash-sautèed the leaves 🙂 )
Chop the pear and make the dressing by combining the dressing ingredients. Add enough water until it becomes “drizzly.” Add honey to taste. I added a few drops of stevia.
When the beets and carrots come out of the oven, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss with the pears, brussels sprouts leaves mixture, and pistachios.
To assemble, scoop a generous portion of the stuffing into the butternut squash cavity and drizzle liberally with the peanut butter sauce. Garnish with more pistachios.
I always bring this with me to dinner parties. Because the Specific Carb Diet is so intense, I never ask the host to accommodate my needs, I always just volunteer to bring my own meal. And this meal travels exceptionally well. I just bring the stuffing and squash in separate tupperwares, the drizzle in a little condiment container, and it comes together in about 2 minutes, and can be eaten at room temperature.
Friends, beware: if you bring this to a dinner party, you will be the source of food envy from your meat and gluten-gobbling companions. Be prepared to give half of it away, because EVERYONEwill want to try it! 🙂
Why? BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING AWESOME!! Not only is it visually stunning with the purples and oranges and different hues of green, but it taste SO. GOOD.
There is this subtle sweetness from the beets and the carrots and the butternut squash, which is complimented perfectly by the nutty and rich sauce. The brussels sprouts provide a wonderfully savory note, while the pistachios give this pop of salty nuttiness. And the pears. OH, THE PEARS! Chiming in with this intensely sweet note that takes this ditto the next level.
And the textures! Oh my, oh my. The squash is creamy and soft, while the roasted veggies are chewy and beautifully caramelized. The pears provide an amazing juiciness, and the pistachios give this amazing crunch! Very satisfying. 🙂
Alright, I could go on and on, but I think I’ll just let you experience it for yourself.
What do you do when you throw a dinner party? Do you try to meet all the food allergy needs? Do you make a special dish? Or ask them to bring their own?
Alright, well I hope you all have a fantastic and joyful evening!
Happy cooking! And may the odds be ever in your favor! 🙂
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