Acorn squash is the perfect side dish to round out your Thanksgiving meal. Served along with this easy Avocado Sauce for dipping, your guests will be licking their plates clean, regardless how stuffed they thought they were.
Only 24 hours until the big day! Do you know what you’re thankful for? My professor got sentimental at the end of class this week, and shared with us that he feels truly grateful for our class this semester. He actually ends each lecture by thanking us for giving him the opportunity to be our teacher. I like that he does that, for the reminder not to take things for granted.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to lose sight of how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. Over the last month I’ve been making a concerted effort to write down one thing that was good or made me happy at the end of every day. Not only do I now have a record of daily positivity, but it helps me pay more attention to the small details and realize that, even if I had a rough day, there’s always at least one thing that made me smile. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share a few everyday bits and pieces of what I’m grateful for.
1. Hot Drinks on Cold Mornings
This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned how much I love sipping steamy drinks from giant mugs. But it’s become such an integral part of my routine that I think it’s worth mentioning one more time. Starting off the day with even a short chunk of time to myself helps me stay relaxed and, in my humble opinion, boosts my creativity throughout the day. And, you know, I may not be a winter person, but the juxtaposition of the cold outdoors with the hot mug I’m cradling is too good not to appreciate.
2. Walking Between Classes
Now that the semester is nearly over, I feel like my schedule is finally settled. Better late than never, right? Admittedly, I had big plans for developing (and sticking to) an exercise routine. Visions of myself hitting the gym at least three times a week, along with going to a yoga or barre class, flitted across my mind’s eye. I had good intentions, yet those images never actualized. Instead of stressing out about it, which I used to do, finding time to simply go for a walk and breathe fresh air became my norm. Also, getting out some energy makes me less fidgety during class, which improves concentration.
3. Feeding Friends
While this isn’t new, it’s a role that I’ve always loved, yet only started wholeheartedly embracing in the last several months. Friends at school know– if you go to Sara’s, then you can always find a treat in the freezer. It’s a win-win situation, because I have plenty of willing taste-testers and they get free food. Everybody’s happy. Oh, and I totally use food as means of bonding with new people. We all need to eat, and it’s a topic I’m crazy comfortable talking about, which eliminates
all most of my small-talk nerves. Speaking of which, if you ever run out of things to say, ask how they eat their pasta. You can tell a lot about a person based on if they lean towards spoons or forks.
4. Acorn Squash and Avocados
You must have seen this one coming. I mean, we can’t not talk about the food (refer back to number 3). Acorn squashes are one of my favorite winter squashes, mostly because I like eating from edible bowls. It appeals to my environmentally conscious side. In case you didn’t know, the squash’s skin is completely safe to eat once cooked.
This time, though, we’re slicing the acorn squash into half-moons, then topping them with a five ingredient avocado sauce that’s essentially a smooth guacamole.
Does that sound blasphemous to you? I won’t hold it against you if you can’t get on board with anything other than chunky guac. Scout’s honor. Although, pureeing it does mean that you can put it into a bag, snip off the corner, and pipe pretty designs onto the acorn squash for a bit of extra pizzazz. Add on a drizzle of tahini and a sprinkle of pine nuts for some extra crunch and contrast. We’re basically decorating cookies without the cookies. Your choice, but, I’m just sayin’…
After all is said and done, though, I’m sure the hungry stomachs waiting at your table won’t complain if you simply put all of the avocado sauce (smooth or chunky) into a bowl and tell them to have at it. And if they do say anything about it… Well, then you can send them my way so that they can think about what they’ve done.
On that note, it’s time to send you off into the heat of your kitchens and warmth of your loved ones. May your Thanksgiving be full of more laughter than you thought possible and enough autumnal food to SQUASH (couldn’t resist) the pumpkin cravings. Happy Turkey Day!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram to share!
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 avocado
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- OPTIONAL: tahini and pine nuts for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut in slices about ½ an inch thick. Toss with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Lay out in one layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- In a food processor, combine the avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon of water to thin out to desired consistency.
- Spread the avocado sauce over the acorn squash, then drizzle on tahini and sprinkle on pine nuts to serve.*