02 Feb spiced Fennel & Squash Roast
Simple one-sheet roast with lots of winter vegetables.
My opinion on fennel changes day by day. There are times when I spot it in the grocery store and my mind immediately goes to a fresh citrus salad with shaved fennel, and then there are weeks where I let it languish in the fridge untouched like a pirahia.
Fennel needs something else. It needs a zing of citrus, or a rich tomato sauce as a foil to play off and give some much needed drama to fennel. This simple spice mixture -which is the most suburban Moroccan blend- pushes the roasted fennel into mouth-watering deliciousness. I love the warming mix of cumin, Aleppo pepper and paprika with the botanical aroma of fennel bulb.
When roasting these veggies together, I pile the baking sheet a bit more than I would normally. I’m not going for a char on these vegetables, instead i’m looking for a bit of caramelization that comes about when they cook slowly with a bit of steam. I like the fennel and onions to be soft and well cooked, instead of crispy and dried out. The butternut squash takes the longest to cook, make sure to cut it into smaller chunks to ensure that it’s done at the same time as the fennel and onions.
Like a lot of my sheet pan roasts, i like to throw on some chicken or pork sausages in the last 20 min of cooking. Or fry some up on the stove top if there is no room on the sheet pan. It’s a simple way to get dinner on the table without a lot of work. Plus, it’s an easy way to meal prep for the week.
Spiced Fennel & Squash
- 1 small (approximately 1.5 lb) butternut squash
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper, crushed
- 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
- Heat the oven to 400F with a rack set closest to the heat source (mine is on the bottom).
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes.
- Chop off the fennel fronds and give the bulb a good wash under running water. Cut the bottom of the fennel, removing the tough fibrous root end. Slice the fennel in half, and then shave the fennel into thin strips from top to bottom.
- Slice the onion into thin wedges, similar to the fennel in size.
- Toss all the veggies on a large rimmed baking sheet or two, depending on the volume of vegetables.
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt, and Aleppo pepper. Mix well.
- Drizzle the avocado oil over the vegetables, and then sprinkle the spice mix evenly across the vegetables. Toss with your hands to make sure all vegetables are coated.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and give everything a good stir. Return and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the butternut squash can easily be poked with a fork.
- Serve immediately with fresh cilantro or parsley. I also like to cook up some sausages and slice and serve them all together as a complete meal.