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This is a healthy, delicious recipe for Thanksgiving or any time you need some healthy comfort food and proof positive that healthy does not mean boring or tasteless!

Kudos to the original recipe goes to my friend and colleague Sara of “The Organic Dietitian”. She’s a recipe powerhouse and if you are not familiar with her, give her a look!

But for my taste (and the status of my gut health—–more on that later), I knew that I had to make a few small tweaks to this recipe. Sara’s recipe had an apple, and I knew that would be over-the-top sweet for me, so my version excludes apple.

Also, I find that I don’t really like whole nuts in recipes (my gut likes them better if they are not whole), so I used my food processor to chop the crunchy topping into smaller, more digestible pieces. Also, I needed more precise measurements and set out to double the recipe for my large family. I also wanted to pre-roast the hazelnuts so I could slip skins off. I just find that hazelnuts taste better without their dark brown papery skins.

It was a huge hit!

Give it a try….and truthfully, even my version (sans the apple) actually almost borders on TOO sweet.

But it is really, really delicious.

 

 

Ingredients

Filling:
1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out and discarded.
2 lbs. sweet potatoes (depending on size, you may need about 4)
1 chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Topping:
1 cup hazelnuts, roasted in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, rub skins off
1 cup pecans (raw)
1/2 cup pepitas (raw)
2 Tbsp. unsulfured, black strap molasses
large pinch of sea salt

Instructions for Filling:
Place squash and sweet potatoes in 350 degree oven and cook until very soft. Depending on their size, this could take an hour plus. You also can’t really overcook these items, so don’t worry about the exact timing.  Cool off and then scoop out filling from both vegetables. You should have at least 4 heaping cups of filling. (Time saving tip: if you don’t have already roasted hazelnuts, stick them in the oven now for 10-11 minutes. Just don’t forget them or they will burn and become unusable)

Take chunk of ginger and grate a good amount in. At least a teaspoon. This is hard to measure, so just grate away. Two teaspoons? That’s fine. It works.

Add cinnamon and blend in a food processor until ingredients are nicely mixed. When finished, transfer to the oven safe casserole dish and set aside while you make the nut topping.

Instructions for nut topping:

  1. Place hazelnuts in food processor and process until you have small-medium chunks. Then add pecans and pepitas and process a little bit more. Don’t over process….you don’t want to end up with nut meal.
  2. Add molasses and salt and pulse a few times more to blend in.

Bring recipe to completion:

    1. Add nut topping to veggie puree.
    2. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25- 30 minutes. Checking after 20 minutes to make sure topping doesn’t darken too much.
    3. You want to toast up the nuts and make them crunchy but avoid overcooking them.

Notes:

  1. If you are nut free, you could try a combo of pepitas and sunflower seeds, but I haven’t tested that.
  2. The prep work of cooking the veggies and roasting the hazelnuts can be done 1-3 days in advance
  3. The next time I try this recipe, I am going to add a parsnip or two.

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