Harvest Squash with Millet and Cranberries

Harvest Squash with Millet and Cranberries

The calendar has switched to November and Daylight Savings TIme has come around so my mind is fully on Thanksgiving. It has always been my favorite holiday-- a time to relax and visit with family and usually without snow. For teachers, it comes at a time when we also desperately need a break from the classroom and our sweet, sweet students.

When I stopped eating meat, my family often wondered what I would eat for this holiday, but let’s be honest, even when I did eat meat, I wasn’t there for the turkey. It was always about the side dishes! I love to eat a variety of foods so piling my plate with side dishes was always way more fun than having turkey on my plate (my family can surely vouch for that!)

I’m so excited to share a few Thanksgiving side dishes with you over the next couple of weeks as you start thinking about preparing your own family meals.

First up is this beautiful, Harvest Squash & Millet dish!

My parents were both squash-haters when I was young, but I simply loved it! My grandmothers always made squash for holiday meals and in the summer we would eat zucchini and summer squash often. I haven’t tried all of the varieties of squash as of yet, but thus far, my favorite is the Delicata. Have you tried it?

Delicata Squash are smaller than a butternut or hubbard, easier to cut, and hold their shape when cooking. When you roast a Delicata Squash it tastes heavenly-- the longer you roast it the sweeter it tastes!

Delicata, like all winter squash, are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is amazing for eye health and supporting your immune system. Is it a coincidence that a winter squash would have vitamins to help you stay healthy during the winter months? I think not.

This dish is also full of other colorful vegetables including spinach, which is a great source of calcium and Vitamin K, red onion, garlic (another super ingredient for warding off sickness!), and is a few fresh cranberries for a little bit of tang.

I chose to make this dish with millet, which is a gluten-free grain and is a little heartier than quinoa. It’s got a slightly nutty flavor and the texture is similar to couscous. If you can, buy it in bulk at the store so you can give it a try-- it’s really cheap and super tasty! You could certainly sub in another grain into this dish as well. If you’re not gluten-free, then barley or farro would also be delicious.

 

Harvest Squash with Millet and Cranberries
Serves 6-8 as a side

Ingredients:
1 c millet
2 ½ c water or vegetable broth
1 delicata squash, halved and sliced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch salt and pepper
1 TBSP coconut oil
½ red onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, diced
1 large handful of spinach, washed and chopped
2 TBSP chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp maple syrup
3-4 TBSP chopped, fresh parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add millet and water or broth to a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then turn heat to low and cover. Cook 20-25 minutes and then remove from heat. Fluff with a fork and then recover and allow to sit an additional 10 minutes.

While millet is cooking, cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and then slice into half moon shapes. Add to a bowl with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and then lay onto a baking sheet in an even layer and put into your oven. Roast for 55-60 minutes, taking them out once halfway through to stir.

While squash and millet are cooking, chop onion, garlic and spinach. Add coconut oil to a pan over medium heat. When oil is heated, add onion and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and a pinch of salt and continue to cook until spinach is wilted and onions are cooked. Add to a large bowl when finished.

Chop cranberries and and set them aside in a dish with maple syrup to sweeten. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, being sure to stir them once or twice along the way.

Add cooked millet and cooked squash to the bowl with the onion, garlic and spinach. Add sweetened cranberries and 3-4 TBSP of chopped, fresh parsley. Stir to combine and enjoy alongside your favorite main course or take for lunch with a small salad!

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