How to Make a Simple, Low Clean-Up Thanksgiving Side: Delicata Squash and Spinach
Updated: Nov 12
This simple, special vegetable dish takes advantage of fall vegetables and bakes in the oven alongside the meat (or other dish) of your choice. Mellow, nutty delicata squash combines with onions and spices and turns into an incredibly tasty sweet, savory side dish. You don't need to peel the delicata. It's one of the few winter squashes that, when cooked, has fairly tender, edible skin. I generally pre-cook the squash in the microwave to give it a head start and to make it easier to cut and seed. The pre-cook isn't necessary, but it will shorten the oven time. After you pull the delicata from the oven, toss the squash with fresh spinach for more flavor, nutrition, and color. Finally, a scattering of pomegranate seeds provides sweet/sour flavor and seasonal color to the dish. Don't have pomegranate seeds? Use dried cranberries instead. They'll work fine. Enjoy!
Delicata Squash and Spinach -- Serves 4+
3-4 delicata squash, washed well
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4-5 ounces of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of fresh pomegranate arils or dried cranberries
1-2 tablespoons of sherry or balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a large sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray (or line the pan with foil and spritz the foil with spray). Pierce the squash in several places with a knife and microwave them on a plate, covered with a paper towel, for 5-8 minutes. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut the squash into half-moon shapes. On the prepared sheet pan, toss the squash, onion, thyme, onion powder, lemon pepper, and salt with the olive oil. Bake/roast the squash for 25-30 minutes or until very tender. Remove the squash from the oven and add the spinach to the sheet pan, turning the squash and spinach with a spatula to mix in the spinach. The spinach will soften in a few minutes, so what looks like a lot of spinach will wilt down. Drizzle on the vinegar and turn the squash and spinach again to mix in the vinegar. Sprinkle on the pomegranate arils or dried cranberries and serve the squash hot or at room temperature.