This Spelt with Butternut Squash, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Currants is a seasonal vegetarian side worthy of being a main course. Savory, yet sweet, it is excellent served warm aside cornish game hens and brussels sprouts or eat it as leftovers at room temperature.
A nutty and ancient cousin of traditional wheat, spelt is more delicious and nutritious and just perfect this time of year. Combine it with roasted butternut squash with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and some toasted pumpkin seeds and currants and you have yourself a dynamite dish.
Spelt is slow to cook and depending on the variety and whether you soak it, it can take up to an hour and half. But its well worth the wait. Read the directions on the package, because, in my experience, they can vary widely.
I highly recommend that you buy pre-chopped butternut squash for this dish. Its worth the mark-up in price, because you spare yourself the effort (and agony!) of wrestling with and chopping up the squash. Trust me, if your grocer has it pre-chopped don’t think twice about going that route. It will save you a good 15-20 minutes and prevent you from cursing under your breath in front of your children.
I like to roast my pumpkin seeds with a little oil in the pan and then pour it directly onto the spelt. Add in some currants and the simple dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper and you are good to go.
- 1 cup spelt, uncooked
- 4 cups butternut squash, cut into ½ in cubes
- Sea Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ⅛ cup currants
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- In a medium saucepan, combine spelt and water according to directions on package. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, 20 minutes until spelt is tender but still a little chewy. Drain in a colander, set aside. Note: spelt that is not pre-soaked overnight will take much longer to cook.
- Meanwhile, place cubed squash on a sheet pan (you can cover the pan with parchment paper for easier cleanup). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Toss squash to evenly coat it with olive oil. Place in oven and cook for about 50 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine oil, cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper with a whisk.
- Meanwhile, toast pumpkin seeds in oil on medium high heat on the stovetop until slightly browned and fragrant (about 3-4 minutes).
- Combine spelt, pumpkin seeds, roasted squash, and currants. Toss with dressing. Serve warm. Alternatively, serve at room temperature or cold