Spice-Roasted Squash with Walnut-Green Harissa

Spice-Roasted Squash with Walnut-Green Harissa

Caramelized wedges of roasted squash are paired with a spicy green harissa – the less common cousin to red harissa – in this side dish.

Ingredients

For the squash:

  • 2 medium acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium jalapeños

For the green harissa:

  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup (about 1 ounce) packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems
  • 1/2 cup toasted California walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or water
  • 1 medium garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:

  • 1/2 cup toasted California walnut halves
  • Walnut oil (optional)

Directions

For the squash:

  1. Heat oven to 475°F and arrange a rack in the middle. While the oven is heating up, place the squash in briefly, until just warm, about 5 minutes. Remove squash from oven, and, using a serrated knife, carefully cut in half and scoop out seeds. Cut each half into four lengthwise slices.
  2. Combine squash, oil, sugar, cumin, salt, and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Arrange squash on a baking sheet, add the jalapeños and roast until squash is browned and completely tender when pierced with a fork and jalapeños are soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Once the squash is done, remove the squash from the oven and transfer the jalapeños to a cutting board to cool.

For the harissa puree:

  1. Once cool enough, trim off the stems from the jalapeñosand remove the seeds and ribs. If you like spice, add the seeds and ribs, or taste and adjust to your liking. Combine the jalapeños with all the harissa ingredients (except 2 tablespoons of the olive oil) in a food processor or blender and blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth.Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining 2 tablespoonsof olive oil and stir to help loosen the sauce.
  2. To serve, place 3 to 4 tablespoons of the harissa on each plate and top with 3 to 4 squash wedges and some walnuts. If using, drizzle with walnut oil and serve.