Roasted Squash Is the Start of Something Beautiful

Turn it into cozy rice porridge or a warm lentil salad, or dress it up with an all-purpose savory topping.

By Tejal Rao

One of my favorite ways to dress a vegetable goes like this: Fry some mustard seeds and curry leaves, toss some ground coconut, crushed garlic and dried red chiles into the pan, and let it all toast very lightly. That’s it. This crumbly, sweet and savory topping is quick to make and goes with almost any vegetable.

I learned the basic recipe for this massolu from my aunties in Pune, India, and I love it over shredded, sautéed cabbage, wilted greens or halved roasted brussels sprouts. It’s good on still-juicy grilled mushrooms or with boiled new potatoes and fresh blanched peas.

But this week, we’re headed into winter squash season! I’m seeing ridged delicata and acorn squash at the market, and I found some beautiful honey nuts from Weiser Family Farms in Tehachapi, Calif., which smelled as floral as ripe melon when I split them open. I roasted them and sprinkled over that all-purpose mix.

Roasting a big batch of squash for the week is a great move, and doing so strategically can get you at least two more wonderful and completely different meals out of it. Purée some roasted squash with brown butter to stir into cooked rice for Minh Phan’s super comforting rice porridge — I fell in love with this dish at her old Los Angeles restaurant Porridge + Puffs. Then dress the rest of your batch with pomegranate molasses and honey to make Nik Sharma’s roasted squash salad, or try Yossy Arefi’s version with a red wine vinegar dressing and goat cheese (leave the cheese out to make it vegan).

Roasted Squash with Coconut, Garlic and Chile

Go to the recipe.

Rice Porridge with Squash and Brown Butter

Go to the recipe.

Roasted Squash with Lentils and Feta

Go to the recipe.

One More Thing!

What to do with roast vegetables covered in that crispy crunchy coconut topping? Put it on some rice. Stir it into a frittata mix. Have it with a bowl of dal and some yogurt on the side. Cut a thick slice of bread, spread a generous amount of cashew butter on it, and cover with the roasted squash. Then fry an egg, slip it right on top, and season with a little flaky salt and pepper.

See you next week. And if you want to check in between these weekly newsletters, I’m on Instagram @tejalxrao sharing pictures of food and plants (and my extremely good dogs!).

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