Stylist Michelle Wong is always clueing us into the latest and greatest, whether it’s a new cocktail, the flower of the moment, or the ingredient that has chefs buzzing. And after seeing delicata squash rising above popular butternut on hip menus across New York City, Michelle decided to put her own quick and simple spin on the in-demand winter side. From a savory veggie bowl to a hearty grilled cheese, these three dishes highlight the slightly sweet flavor of the squash and are sure to satisfy your comfort-food cravings throughout the winter months.
Also known as peanut, sweet potato, or bohemian squash, delicata has plenty of nutritional benefits, including loads of vitamin A. And while the winter squash tastes delicious, it’s the supereasy preparation that had us sold. Its thin, mild skin means there’s no need to peel—just slice and remove the seeds. Michelle’s recipes all start with a quick roast in the oven to bring out the rich, sweet flavor. She recommends making a big batch and using it in different recipes throughout the week. What could be easier?
Roasted Delicata Squash with Feta, Mint, and Parsley
Butternut squash is a go-to side for holiday dinners, but Michelle’s elevated take on roasted delicata squash may push it out of the running this year. “I wanted to give it a Middle Eastern spin,” says Michelle. “This is something you could make for Thanksgiving that’s a little lighter.“ Cinnamon and chopped hazelnuts deepen the flavor of the squash, while feta, mint, and lemon add brightness and acidity.
2 lbs delicata squash
4 tbsp of oil (grape seed or olive)
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ cup mint
½ cup flat Italian parsley
3 oz crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and slice ends of delicata squash. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Keep skin on and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, cinnamon, chopped hazelnuts, and salt, and stir. Add squash slices and coat. Transfer squash slices to a baking sheet. Scrape remaining oil with a spatula and drizzle over slices.
Bake for 12 minutes, then remove baking sheet from the oven to turn over the slices. Bake for another 5 minutes until sides are lightly brownish. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Tear up mint leaves and flat Italian parsley. Set aside.
Transfer squash slices to a serving bowl. Add crumbled feta, mint leaves, and parsley. Squeeze the whole lemon over the serving bowl.
Delicata Squash and Sage Grilled Cheese
We can’t think of anything more comforting than a melty grilled cheese on a cold winter’s day. Michelle’s take on the classic combines two types of cheese with roasted delicata squash and crispy sage. “The sage adds even more of a fall flavor,” she says. And when it comes to assembly, Michelle says, “You can’t go wrong with how much cheese you put on. The more the merrier!”
1 delicata squash
1 small bunch of sage leaves
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 slices of sourdough bread
2 oz whole-milk mozzarella
2 oz Gruyère
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and slice ends of delicata squash. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Keep skin on and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Transfer to baking sheet.
Drizzle oil over slices. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove baking sheet from the oven to turn over the slices. Bake for another 5 minutes until sides are lightly brownish. Remove from oven and let cool.
Heat a skillet on low heat for about 4 minutes. Fry four sage leaves in olive oil for 15 seconds on each side. Remove sage from skillet.
Spread mayonnaise on the outside of two slices of sourdough. Slice 1/8-inch-thick layers of mozzarella and Gruyère. Add a slice of sourdough into the pan with mayonnaise side down, and layer with Gruyère and mozzarella slices. Add 5 or 6 slices of squash and the fried sage leaves, then cover with the second slice of bread mayonnaise side up.
Fry for approximately 3–4 minutes until the bottom side is golden brown. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich and fry for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy!
Wintry Veggie Bowl
Michelle loves this hearty veggie bowl as a make-ahead meal. “It’s an easy thing to prepare ahead of time and have for a few days,” she says. “It also tastes great cold.” A simple dressing of tahini, lemon, and olive oil adds flavor but keeps the dish light—perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.
1 delicata squash
1 bunch of broccolini
½ cup red quinoa, cooked (about ¼ cup uncooked)
Black sesame seeds
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp of olive oil
½ lemon, squeezed
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and slice ends of delicata squash. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Keep skin on and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Transfer to baking sheet.
Rinse broccolini and add to baking sheet. Drizzle oil generously and sprinkle sea salt over the broccolini and squash. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the broccolini from the baking sheet and set aside. Flip over the squash slices, and return to the oven for another 8-10 mins until lightly brown.
Follow instructions to cook quinoa. Slice 2 radishes, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
In an individual shallow bowl, add ½ cup of quinoa, 5 slices of squash, 4 pieces of broccolini, and radish slices. Drizzle tahini sauce on top, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.