Flavors like maple syrup. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. An added richness from goat cheese. An elevated sweetness from dried cranberries. Add a few veggies and pair with roasted acorn squash and you've got an amazing (vegetarian!) dinner.
Before getting into the recipe, I would also like to add that I'm really into introducing my mom to food she has never had before or claims not to like. I did both of these things with this dish! She claims not to like eggplant, but she ate it right up. She also has never had sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes), so I thought this was the perfect way to get her into them. Point of me bringing this up being - this is a great dish to change minds. Don't be afraid to introduce your friends and family to new foods or to convince them they are stubborn about disliking food for no reason. (but of course, have a back up plan. you never know how they will react! hopefully well, though.)
Without further ado, here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy and do yourself a favor...cook this dish ASAP while the flavors of fall are as comforting as they are now!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 "flowers", 2 per serving
You Will Need:
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 2 TBS plus 1-2 additional TBS olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, plus more to sprinkle
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 small Japanese eggplant, sliced into coins
- 1/2 container baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup sunchokes, sliced into thin coins
- 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 large bunch spinach, chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt, plus salt and pepper to season with
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 3 TBS grade B maple syrup
- 4oz log of chevre (goat cheese), plain
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with a small amount of oil.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds (reserve to roast later!). Very carefully make slices of squash roughly 1/4-1/2 inch thick, making sure to keep each slice in tact on either side (see above pic for squash "flower").
- Brush each side of the squash slices with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake another 15 minutes.
- In a large pan on medium heat combine 2 TBS olive oil with minced garlic, cinnamon, and nutmeg until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the eggplant, mushrooms, and sunchokes. Turn up to medium-high heat and stir often. After 2 minutes, add apple cider vinegar (evenly spread over to avoid one patch of veggies from getting over-saturated).
- At this point, if the veggies appear to be dry or easily sticking to the pan add 1 more TBS olive oil. (optional step)
- After 10 minutes, lower the heat back down to medium. Add dried cranberries and let continue to cook 3 minutes (still stirring often!).
- Add spinach and maple syrup. Fold the spinach in and make sure everything is evenly mixed.
- Once the spinach is wilted add the chevre in four pieces, stirring with each addition so it melts down and coats veggies evenly.
- To plate, place two squash "flowers" on each dish and spoon vegetable mixture into the middle of each. For a cleaner look, use a 1/3cup scoop to fill the middle of each. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
What dishes have you made to introduce others to new foods?