The combination of roasted, slightly sweet and herbal butternut squash with saffron rice and this flavourful sage gremolata is pure healthy comfort. Naturally free from gluten and dairy, and ready in under an hour. Enjoy! xo

So we’re fully into a major kitchen renovation over here, and it’s made life a bit messy! I had this thoroughly naive idea that the whole thing “if properly planned” would take about a month from start to finish and I’m feeling a little sheepish at my ignorance at the moment. We started in August with the planning, started the demo of our old kitchen in September, put it all on hold in October because we were hosting Thanksgiving (I have 2 amazing dessert recipes out of that one that I need to share with you guys), and now as November is around the corner, things are really, truly underway. By that I mean that our entire kitchen is packed up, I have a makeshift “pantry” area downstairs in our rec room, all my appliances and glass tupperware in the spare room, plates, utensils and a few more ingredients in the living room … and every time I want to make something, I have to go around the house to collect what I need while ducking under the plastic sheets that are sectioning off the kitchen. It’s almost silly how awful and time-consuming it is. In the midst of it, my blender broke down and I needed to send it off for repair – the worst when you have zero counter space and big smoothies were a bit of a life boat in the meal department! I’m super grateful that it’s back and breakfast has become easy once again 😉

Before things really got underway, I made this comforting cozy meal and have been craving it ever since. I adore roasted squash, but this version combines a tiny bit of maple syrup with salt, thyme and sage for caramelized edges and the most Autumnesque flavour … that, combined with the savoury saffron-infused rice, crunchy toasted almonds, and the punchy sage gremolata, is just the most seasonal tasty meal. I always feel like saffron makes things more special, but this still is quick enough for an average evening meal since a good deal of the time is hands-off.

I have my fingers crossed that the kitchen will be done by the end of November. I may still be a bit unrealistic about it (we’re on the flooring, and still have electrical, cabinet install, countertop template and installation, wall tiling, painting, shelving installation, lighting, and a window to do so…. ?) But! I still have lots of fun things in the works, so there will be a bit of makeshift recipe development going on in the meantime!

Since Halloween is just a couple days away, how about some simple fudge, double chocolate cookies, or raw vegan donuts as a treat? These are all the things I’m craving so I’ll be living vicariously through you! Those cookies are my husband’s most requested dessert at our house, and may be the first thing I bake in the new oven when that day finally comes. As always, I’m so grateful to you for reading and hope you guys love this cozy recipe as much as I do xo

Caramelized Squash with Saffron Rice & Sage Gremolata

Serves 4

Caramelized Butternut Squash

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • greens, olive oil, and lemon, to serve

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oil, maple syrup, a big pinch of salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and rub the oil mixture over the flesh. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and sprinkle over the squash. Lay the sage leaves on top and then place the squash cut side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until the thickest part of the squash is soft when pierced with a sharp knife and completely cooked through, and the cut side of the squash is golden and caramelized.

Remove from oven. Carefully peel away the squash skin (it should come off easily). Slice the squash into 2 inch pieces and serve with saffron rice, sage gremolata, toasted almonds and greens. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.

Saffron Rice

Note: sprouted rice cooks quicker than rice that hasn’t been sprouted, so if you are using regular brown basmati rice than you will need to cook it longer (45-50 minutes

  • 1 cup sprouted brown basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups cool water plus 1/4 cup hot water
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Using a mortar and pestle, if you have one, finely grind the saffron and then pour over 1/4 cup hot water and allow to sit for a few minutes. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, crush the saffron threads using your fingers and then place in a small pot and add 1/4 cup hot water, allowing the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, the brown basmati rice, and the sea salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low, and allow the rice to simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat but keep the lid on. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Fluff with a fork.

Sage Gremolata

  • a small bunch of fresh sage
  • 1 small lemon (organic/not sprayed)
  • 1 clove garlic

Remove the sage leaves from the stems. Finely chop sage and add to a small bowl. Use a sharp knife to carefully peel the lemon zest away, avoiding the white pith. Very finely chop the lemon zest and add to the bowl with the sage. Peel the garlic, and then use a microplane or sharp knife to finely grate the garlic and add to the bowl. Toss to combine. Leftover gremolata can be stored in a covered container and kept for a couple days.

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