Warm Roasted Squash with Creamy Dill Dip
Fall is here!
I can feel the crispness in the air, and I love the way it feels to be warm from the sun but cool from the gentle breeze.
What better food to transition us into fall than roasted squash. I was on the hunt a few years back for an appetizer that was healthy, looked gorgeous when plated, and was amazing enough that I could bring it to someone’s house. This one fits the bill! You will be the domestic god/dess at your next friend or family gathering!
First, let me say, I love dill. There’s something about the flavor that really speaks to my palate. I throw dill in anything I can. My newest obsession is to use dill in my lunchtime salad. This recipe is a winning combination: the cool dill dip tastes so great with the gentle warm spices basted on the sweet squash.
Most dill sauces call for a lot of mayonnaise or sour cream. Not this one! Instead of using sour cream, my recipe hack is full-fat plain Greek yogurt or full-fat plain coconut yogurt. Now, you all know that I don’t love dairy . . . but I give a special exception to yogurt (and it’s cousin kefir) because they are fermented.
Buying full-fat fermented dairy and fermented dairy alternatives brings depth and richness to food with the idea that we can eat LESS of something that has MORE fat. One mistake I see patients make is to eat a larger portion of low-fat or non-fat yogurt in order to feel satisfied. Eating the full-fat version is not only so much tastier, but the fat signals to our brain to feel fuller faster. So we can eat less. And still feel satisfied! Winner!
Fermented dairy in the form of yogurt and kefir differs from other dairy like milk, butter and cheese in that it contains a rich supply of probiotics. Probiotics are the good little bacteria that populate our digestive tract, and eating fermented foods helps to support the troops. Consider other fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha in your diet. Just one serving a day can be a nice addition. No need to overdo it. Another mistake I see patients make is going to town on kombucha. You can certainly drink too much of a good thing and give yourself a whole new digestive problem.
Probiotics support our entire body, not just our digestion. I find with my patients that there’s a strong association between the health of the probiotic population and a number of conditions, including asthma, seasonal and environmental allergies, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue, and mood disorders like anxiety and depression. That’s just to name a few!
And remember that our good little PRObiotics like to eat PREbiotic-rich foods. What foods are rich in prebiotics? All vegetables and fruit are rich in prebiotic fiber, but a special shout-out goes to garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes. And, guess what . . . this recipe has garlic in it! Double win!
1 delicata or kabocha squash, sliced into ½ inch pieces
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp raw garlic, crushed
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup plain full-fat organic Greek yogurt or full-fat coconut yogurt (I am partial to the brands CoYo or Anita’s because they are thick)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp raw garlic, crushed
3-4 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut squash into ½ inch pieces, de-seeding as you go. (I save the seeds and roast them right along with the squash in the oven – they are great for snacking!) Place the squash on a baking pan lined with parchment. (Note: if your squash is hard, microwave for a minute or two and try chopping again.)
3. Mix cumin, paprika, garlic, EVOO, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use a brush to baste both sides of squash.
4. Roast the squash in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If the squash is soft but not browned, you can broil it for 1-2 minutes at the end of roasting.
5. Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and dill in a small bowl. Salt to taste.
6. Allow the squash to cool for a few minutes, then transfer squash to a pretty serving platter with the dill sauce.
I highly recommend doubling this recipe – you won’t be sorry!