I was inspired to create another holiday recipe for Thanksgiving next week and I couldn’t seem to get my mind off of cauliflower and butternut squash because when squash is roasted to it’s tender perfection and cauliflower is steamed and pureed, they are quite the heavenly pair. I didn’t want to make another pureed vegetable soup so I went out of my comfort zone here to create a three-layered recipe with ever-so-sweet butternut squash, salty and tender caramelized onions and fluffy cauliflower. The result was absolutely delicious and I ate most of it with a spoon standing over my stovetop just minutes after taking it out of the oven.
This recipe is quite simple, like all my recipes, and it only uses three ingredients: butternut squash, red onion and cauliflower. You’ll need some olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and spices, of course, but other than that – this is quite a basic recipe with minimal prep and ingredients – something we all long for when we’re cooking for the holidays.
I topped this recipe off with toasted quinoa on top, however, it’s optional and you can easily use any fresh herb such as rosemary on thyme sprinkled on top for garnish instead. Enjoy.
Cauliflower and butternut squash are equally tender vegetables when roasted and pureed. Here, I'm layering them with caramelized red onions and topping it all off with toasted quinoa.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 large cauliflower cut into 1 inch florets
- 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. quinoa optional for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 x 11 inch baking dish; set aside. Prepare one large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice squash in half lengthwise and drizzle with 2 tsp oil using your hands to coat all sides of the squash. Add more oil if needed. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and place onto the prepared rimmed baking sheet. Make sure to spread out the squash so it's not touching. Roast for 60 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tsp of olive oil with the onion and caramelize for about 30-35 minutes lowering heat as needed until onions are very tender and brown.
Meanwhile, steam cauliflower florets on the stovetop in a steamer basket until very tender.
In a food processor, add the sunflower seeds and process until it forms a flour consistency. Add the steamed cauliflower, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper and puree until very smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
To toast the quinoa for a topping (optional): Add the quinoa to a large dry skillet, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until the quinoa is lightly dried out and toasty, about 12 minutes or until you hear the quinoa popping. Set aside.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Scoop out flesh with a large spoon and discard the skin.
Transfer the squash flesh into the base of the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon and cumin followed by the caramelized onions. Top the onion layer with the puréed sunflower seeds and cauliflower and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Add the toasted quinoa on top, if desired.
Store leftovers in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
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