Featuring a zinc-rich pumpkin seed pesto and vitamin A- packed butternut squash, this glamorous side dish has the nutritional resumé needed to boost your body’s natural defences against those foreign invaders that are giving your head, eyes, nose, and throat a hard time. Adding a handful of vibrant pomegranate seeds gives a burst of sweet-tart flavour, and Asiago cheese has a nutty personality that pairs perfectly with buttery squash.
- Feel free to swap out Asiago for feta or goats’ cheese. Use extra pesto to elevate sandwiches, pasta dishes, and even salad dressings.
- The extra step of blanching greens like kale and herbs before blending results in an emerald-green pesto that keeps its vibrant colour for longer. After a short time in boiling water, it’s important to shock your greens in an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
3 cups (750 mL) stemmed, packed kale
1 cup (250 mL) flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil or camelina oil
2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 cup (125 mL) pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup (125 mL) diced Asiago cheese
In heatproof strainer, place kale and parsley and then dip strainer into large pot of boiling water just until kale and parsley turn brighter green. Lift strainer from pot and then immediately dunk into bowl of ice water for 10 seconds to halt the cooking. Drain well and place greens in food processor along with pumpkin seeds, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Blend into a coarse paste. With machine running, slowly pour in oil through the feed tube until incorporated. Add a little water if needed.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly brush flesh of butternut squash with oil and place on baking sheet flesh side down. Roast squash until knife slides easily through skin and flesh, about 40 minutes.
To serve, spread pumpkin seed pesto on butternut wedges and sprinkle on pomegranate seeds, cheese, and, if desired, some additional pumpkin seeds.