Well, it’s that time of year again – beautiful orange leaves on the trees, crisp and cool weather, and an abundance of squash and autumnal flavors! This flavor challenge was…Dates! Yes, the sweet, dessert-like, super versatile little flavor bombs. I’m up for it.
My challenge was to make something for Rosh Hashanah, using dates in my dish. Now, I could have made something sweet, totally predictable. Maybe a squash pie with a date and coconut crust. Or, perhaps the classic stuffed or wrapped date. But I opted for something else – an appetizer that was delicious, obviously, but not pretentious or even expected.
For this recipe, you can definitely get a whole butternut squash and cube it yourself, (or get it prepared from the grocery store). Don’t like butternut? Try something else, like acron, kombucha, or even sweet potato, pumpkin, or anything you like. Feel free to change it up how you like it!
I love the combination of flavors here – you have sweet, tangy, and even a little bit sharp from the onions. Here’s a good trick to remove that super spicy bite from the onions. As you prep the rest of the ingredients, soak the sliced onions in cold water for a few minutes – it’ll rinse off the sharpness, but you’ll still get the onion flavor.
Happy autumn and happy cooking all!
- 1 Medium Butternut Squash
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
- 1 cup Pomegranate Seeds You can use 1 whole pomegranate - to get the seeds, slice in half peel out the seeds in a bowl of cold water
- 1 Medium Red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Deglet Noor Dates, chopped You can use Medjool if you prefer, but I like the sweeter, stickier Deglet Noor
- 1/2 cup Fresh Lime Juice About 3-4 limes
- 1 Tbsp. Lime Zest
- 2 Tbsp. Raw Honey Any flavor is fine - use what you like
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. White pepper
- 1/4 cup Fresh chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 400F and cover a sheet pan with parchment paper
Add the butternut squash to a bowl, mix in the coconut oil, salt and pepper (I like to add a little cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to my squash, but feel free to just simply add the S&P).
Roast the squash for 30 minutes until just cooked through, but not mushy. Let the squash cool for 15-20 minutes
Add the onions, dates, pomegranate and parsley to a big bowl.
Make the dressing: Add the lime zest and juice to a bowl and whisk in the honey. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a slow stream. Adjust seasonings if needed. Side note - I love anything tart, so I really don't add a lot of olive oil to my dressing, but definitely check the taste and add more lime juice, honey or olive oil as necessary.
Add the squash to the salad and toss carefully with the dressing so you don't mush the squash too much. Serve immediately. Note - this salad won't last too long in the fridge. It's good for possibly a day, maybe two, but the squash will absorb the dressing and just get mushier.