Simple and Flavorful — Roasted Acorn Squash with Fennel Seeds
Food is capable of feeding far more than a rumbling stomach. – Anthony Beal
I have seen this acorn squash change color from deep green to light golden on my kitchen counter in two weeks. Waiting for my much needed attention, it endured the neglect. Just the fact that I had a new idea every time to cook it, it was set aside for another day. Yet, I loved seeing it sitting there turning into this beautiful piece of art with a new stroke of color every day.
In fact, I enjoyed the process.
Who would have thought a simple experience like this could also bring curiosity? Whenever I saw it, I wondered if it will survive another day. Or another stroke of green will be lost. I touched it, inspected it, and set it aside saying to myself, “I will make something tomorrow. Definitely.”
And it waited for me.
Looking more beautiful and absolutely fresh!
With half a dozen ideas in my mind to cook it, I settled for a simple recipe of roasting it and flavoring with some sweet and fragrant flavors like orange zest and toasted fennel seeds. I then combined the two with sweet paprika and sea salt to make a spice blend to toss into after roasting. Another wonderful spice blend with citrus! My new year started with spice blends.
After tossing the roasted squash, I finished it with a garnish of freshly ground cumin and parsley with a squeeze of lemon (optional). Simple and flavorful this recipe takes very little time to make. If you have any leftover, use it in your favorite grain or salad.
Herbs and spices are good for our health. Fennel seeds have wonderful healing qualities. They help with digestion and have anti oxidant properties. Fennel is also chewed as mouth freshener. I sometimes make fennel tea that is quite relaxing. Have it with a little honey. It’s delicious and calming.
1 small acorn squash
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch of chili flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Heat oven to 400 F. Cut acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and cut crescent shape pieces. Toss in a one tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 20-22 minutes or until done.
While the acorn squash is roasting, dry toast fennel seeds in a skillet for 1 minute taking care not to burn the seeds. Let them cool for 5 minutes and pound coarsely in mortar and pestle. Add orange zest and crush just a little. Transfer to a bowl. Add paprika and salt to it. Mix and set aside.
When squash is done, transfer it to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture on it. Coat gently. Drizzle a little oil and adjust salt.
Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Garnish with ground cumin and parsley. Serve with lemon slices (optional) on the side.