Orange + Cinnamon Scented Delicata Squash
My favourite recipe creations contain vegetables. Their vibrancy, colours, and textures call for creativity to transform them into a delicious and healthy side or main meal to look forward to.
I was introduced to delicata squashed when I moved to Vancouver island and since then I have regularly included it in my meals. Although it is primarily a root cellar vegetable of fall and winter it stores well into spring and once summer rolls around it can plentifully be found at farmer’s markets. It has a unique oblong shape, is mild-sweet in flavour, and its moisture is moderate — between that of butternut and kabocha. The insoluble-fibre rich skins of kabocha and delicata squash can be eaten.
Benefits of squash and cinnamon:
- Energetically root vegetables supply increased potential for digestive functioning, and promote stamina, confidence, endurance, and groundedness.
- Squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of magnesium, vitamin C, manganese, along with other vitamins and minerals. You can learn more about the benefits of squash in a previous post found here.
- Delicata and kabocha squash are low in carbohydrate, providing approximately 7g per cup. This is ideal for those with blood sugar and microbial imbalances.
- Cinnamon’s pungent and sweet flavours are warming. It influences all of the 12 meridians, promotes qi and blood circulation, stimulates the lungs, and benefits digestion.
- Cinnamon is an excellent source of antioxidants, a good source of manganese, contains calcium and iron, and other trace vitamins and minerals.
- Functionally, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, aids in healthy gastrointestinal microbial balance, and strengthens the immune system.
- When shopping for cinnamon you want to buy true cinnamon, sold as Ceylon or Mexican cinnamon. This type is sweeter, softer, and more beneficial to the body. Its cousin ‘cinnamon’ sold in stores is often cassia, which contains high levels of liver-irritating coumarin.
I’ve tried preparing delicata in a variety of ways and I seem to be most fond of baking it in thin, half-moon or round shapes. When cooking with orange, cinnamon, and ghee, the raw squash transforms into a carmelized, comforting, sweet side. Serve with protein and non-starchy vegetables of choice. In the photo above I served the squash with turkey, rutabaga-onion gravy, sautéed kale with orange, and home-made orange marmalade.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 – 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 cups delicata squash, 3 – 4 small, cut into rings and seeds removed
- 2 – 3 tsp ghee
- ½ small orange, fresh squeezed juice
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375F and line one or two large baking pans with parchment paper.
- Slice off the ends of your delicata squash and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into ½ inch rounds.
- Transfer the rounds to a bowl then drizzle with melted ghee and the fresh squeezed orange juice. Toss with your clean hands or tongs to coat.
- Arrange the rings onto your baking pan(s) and sprinkle with cinnamon and sea salt.
- Transfer to your oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
- Leggett, Daverick. Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics. Totnes, England: Meridian Press, 2005.
- Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness, 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2003.