Celebrate the flavors of Vancouver Island with this delightful recipe featuring locally grown squash. Vancouver Island's fertile soil and temperate climate yield squash with a rich, earthy sweetness that's perfect for roasting. Tossed in a luscious maple glaze and paired with aromatic herbs, this dish captures the essence of the fall bounty. Let's get cooking!
1 medium Vancouver Island-grown squash (Butternut or Kabocha work well)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (local, if available)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for a subtle kick)
Preheat Your Oven:
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C)
Prepare the Squash:
Wash the squash and pat it dry.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.
Remove the seeds and fibers.
Slice and Arrange:
Cut the squash into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick half-moons or chunks.
Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, melted butter, fresh thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper (if using).
Brush and Season:
Brush both sides of each squash slice generously with the maple glaze.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and caramelized around the edges.
Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
Transfer the roasted squash to a serving platter, drizzle any remaining glaze over the top, and garnish with a few extra fresh herbs if desired.
Serve as a side dish for your favorite fall meal. It pairs wonderfully with roasted chicken, grilled salmon, or a hearty grain salad.
Pro Tip: For an extra touch of local flavor, consider adding crumbled Vancouver Island goat cheese or roasted hazelnuts as a garnish before serving.