New York Times recently had an article with a recipe from Carmen Quagliata, the executive chef at Union Square Café. The recipe was for a perfect winter dish: Vegan Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Apple with Candied Walnuts. Usually when searching for Brussels sprouts recipes, bacon is almost always included, so I was happy to find a somewhat healthy alternative. I thought Ash Wednesday would a great to try out this recipe for dinner.
Ingredients for Brussels sprouts:
1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch asymmetrical chunks
2 cups (about 1 large) Honeycrisp, Cortland, or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1-inch asymmetrical chunks (my local market was out of these options so I used two Pink Lady apples)
1 shallot, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ tablespoon maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While it is heating up, prep your Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, apples, and shallot. To trim the Brussels sprouts, cut off the rough white stem and then cut the sprout in half. If any outer leaves fall off discard them as well.
This was my first attempt at cutting and peeling a butternut squash, and I found the blog A Veggie Venture to be super helpful. The blog has a lot of great tips about veggies in general, so I suggest checking it out. If you’re not up for cutting your own butternut squash, Trader Joe’s sells already cubed pieces. However, they are a bit more dried out than freshly cut squash so keep that in mind.
|I only needed the top half of the butternut squash|
I used an apple corer to prepare the apples, and then cut the slices in half.
|Keep the skins on the apple|
Toss the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, apple, and shallot with the olive oil and sage leaves in a shallow baking dish.
|So many colors!|
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 375 until vegetables and apple are wrinkled and slightly brown, about 45 minutes to an hour. Do not disturb or mix the dish while it’s cooking.
If you don’t have time or are just apprehensive about making the candied walnuts, you can purchase them already made.
However, the recipe is below in case you’re feeling adventurous. (Honestly, it wasn’t that difficult!)
Ingredients for walnuts:
6 cups vegetable oil
6 ounces walnut halves
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I ended up using less than a cup and they were fine)
To make, place a deep fryer or high-sided saucepan over high heat (I ended up using my pasta pot; my saucepans were all dirty from previous cooking adventures). Add the oil making sure there is at least 3 inches from the top of the pot. (When the walnuts are added, the oil bubbles and rises so you need room for this to happen) Heat to 375 degrees.
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in another pot. Add the walnuts and boil for 10 seconds. Drain well and immediately toss with confectioners’ sugar. Spread flat on a baking sheet to allow to dry.
|Walnuts after tossed in powdered sugar|
The original directions suggest having a baking sheet lined with paper towels nearby. Mine stuck to the paper towels (boo) so I’d suggest maybe using parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, add the walnuts to oil and stir once or twice. Fry until amber-brown or about 30 seconds. Using a wire skimmer or a heatproof slotted spoon, remove walnuts and move to baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
To serve, drizzle maple syrup over roasted vegetables and sprinkle with walnut pieces.
|How good does that look??|
This dish was really great. It had the feel of a comfort food dish without the leftover heaviness.
I was sort of hoping the Brussels sprouts would play a bigger role in the dish, but the butternut squash was what I kept going back for (nothing wrong with that). The walnuts add a lot of sweetness to the dish so don’t go overboard on topping the dish with them. The best part though, was that with so much flavor, I didn’t even miss not having meat for dinner!
Note: If you want something to pair with this to make a more hearty meal, the recipe suggests serving it with walnut bread.