Pomegranate and Chocolate Glazed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Pilaf and Gorgonzola Cheese

Recipe and photo contributed by Susan Pridmore Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 45 minutes

Pomegranate and Chocolate Glazed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Pilaf and Gorgonzola Cheese

This vegetarian dish is hearty enough to please omnivores as well as vegetarians, and gorgeous enough to include on any holiday table. To save time, I keep a stash of cooked quinoa and roasted garlic in the refrigerator to easily draw from when making this dish.

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash

4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, divided

3½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon unsweetened chocolate powder

½ teaspoon Pequin pepper flakes, or other mild dried pepper

12 garlic cloves

2 red onions

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 bunch baby carrots (about 10 carrots)

⅔ cup quinoa

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon gorgonzola cheese

Small handful toasted pepitas, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Chop off the top of the squash and slice lengthwise to create 6 long sections. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Baste with 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses. (You may need to warm the molasses a bit if it’s too thick and sluggish). Drizzle the squash with 1 teaspoon oil and dust with chocolate powder and pepper flakes.
  2. Drizzle the garlic cloves with ½ teaspoon olive oil, wrap in foil, and add to the same baking sheet. Roast everything for 1 hour, basting the squash with 2 tablespoons molasses after the first 30 minutes. The squash should be tender and the garlic cloves easily slipped from their skin.
  3. Peel and slice the onions into eight wedges, keeping the roots intact. Place on a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper with their cut sides facing up. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; dust with thyme and salt.
  4. Peel the carrots, slice in half lengthwise, and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Arrange on the same baking sheet and slide into the oven on a rack below the squash. Roast until softened, about 30 minutes.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, rinse the quinoa and bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. (I rub the quinoa seeds between my hands in a bowl filled with water, and rinse them thoroughly before cooking). Add the quinoa to the broth and lower the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa looks like a mass of curlicues, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, covered, then fluff with a fork.
  6. Mash the roasted garlic into a paste and combine with the gorgonzola; stir into the warm quinoa. Slice the carrots into bite-size chunks and fold into the pilaf along with the onion wedges. Spoon over the glazed butternut squash and top with pepitas.

Kitchen Tips

To toast the pepitas, toss shelled pumpkin seeds in a little oil and throw into a skillet over medium high heat. Toss around to allow both sides to toast. Feel free to add some spices too.

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