It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the year. Squash lovers rejoice! Get out your sharpest knife, turn on that oven, and bring a wheelbarrow to your local market–it’s Squash’s time to shine. My kitchen has turned into Squash HQ over the last month, and I can’t help but add it to just about everything. Oatmeal? Throw some squash in it. Smoothies? Sneak it in there. Risotto? Mhm. There too. Teriyaki sauce? Yes and yes.
Squash and sesame have a natural affinity for each other. Tahini (sesame seed butter) and squash are one of life’s great pleasures–a combination I started eating after seeing a recipe with this delicious marriage in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook, so I was thrilled to discover that squash and toasted sesame oil are partners in crime as well.
I’ve used acorn (or pepper) squash here. It’s sweet, with a deep, caramel taste to its flesh, and a bit drier than many squashes, lending itself well to a thick sauce. This recipe would work well with butternut, pumpkin, or kobocha (sometimes called red hubbard, hokkaido pumpkin, Japanese Pumpkin, or red kuri) squash, but I’d stay away from spaghetti and delicata, as they’re too light. And I’ve just decided right this second that there are too many squash varietals. (Or not enough.)
While squash varies in shape, colour, breed, and texture, each one packs a wallop of nutrition, containing good amounts of vitamin A (carotenoids), C, B6, and folate, as well as magnesium and potassium. Its flesh is rich in complex carbohydrates and filling fibre, as well as being a surprising source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Along with the pasta, I’ve added a spiralized zucchini (yet another variety of squash!) to the mix. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can chop them into thin coins or make ribbons with a vegetable peeler. For a pop of green, broccoli does the trick nicely. Oh, and when that sauce clings to the little green broccoli tops–my word, it is divine.
Of course, I have more squash recipes to come in the next few months, as this most joyous season comes but once a year.
- Squash Teriyaki Sauce:
- 1 cup mashed, cooked squash or pumpkin (I used ½ of an acorn squash)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce or shoyu
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sweet white miso
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- Chili flakes, to taste
- Broccoli & Noodles:
- 1 head broccoli cut into bite-sized florets
- 2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles or very thinly sliced
- 1 lb gluten-free brown rice spaghetti or soba noodles or spaghetti noodle of choice
- To Serve:
- Sesame seeds
- To Make the Squash Teriyaki: Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can whisk together all ingredients in a bowl, adding the water last, slowly (the sauce will be less smooth, but still delicious). Set aside.
- To Make the Broccoli & Noodles: In a large pot of boiling water, cook brown rice pasta according to package directions (most brands take 8 minutes); during the last 2 minutes, add the broccoli. Drain and rinse with water. Add back to pot, along with zucchini noodles or slices and prepared Squash Teriyaki Sauce.
- To Serve: If you want to eat it cold, toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you want it warm (how I like it), cook over medium heat, (gently) tossing often, until very hot (about 5-8 minutes). To serve, garnish top with sesame seeds.