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Spice-Roasted Squash with Walnut-Green Harissa

Menu PartSide Dish
Cuisine TypeMediterranean

Chef Mollie Katzen
Cookbook author
San Francisco, Calif.

Roasted wedges of acorn squash are sure to permeate the kitchen with the aromas of autumn. Chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen contrasts the nutty caramelized squash with a spicy green harissa, the trending North African condiment that usually comes in shades of red. Here, parsley and spinach are responsible for the color change.


2 med. acorn squash (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
2 tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil
1 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 med. jalapenos

Green Harissa:
1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup (about 1 oz.) packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth or water
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 1/2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, for garnish
Walnut oil (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 475 F and arrange rack in middle of oven. While oven heats, place squash briefly inside oven, until just warm, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Using serrated knife, cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut each half into 4 lengthwise slices.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine squash, oil, sugar, cumin, salt and few cranks of fresh ground pepper and toss to coat. Arrange squash on baking sheet, add jalapenos and roast until squash is browned with fork and jalapenos are soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Once squash is done, remove squash from oven and transfer jalapenos to cutting board to cool.
  4. For green harissa: Once cool enough to handle, trim off stems from jalapenos and remove seeds and ribs. Keep seeds and ribs for spice if preferred. In food processor, combine jalapenos with all harissa ingredients, except 2 tablespoons of olive oil, scraping down sides as needed until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to bowl and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to help loosen sauce.
  5. To serve, place 3 to 4 tablespoons of harissa on each plate and top with 3 to 4 squash wedges, walnuts and optional walnut oil.

Photo courtesy of California Walnuts

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