Imagine waking up to the aromas of breakfast — sweet maple and warm cinnamon — wafting your way from the kitchen. No, we're not talking about overnight oatmeal, but a wholly different spin on the most important meal of the day: meaty wedges of winter squash sprinkled with maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice that cook slowly while you sleep, just waiting to be served with a dollop of yogurt and some chopped fruit.
This is what you get with this slow-cooker maple-glazed squash: a fresh and satisfying way to eat your vegetables for breakfast.
How to Eat Squash for Breakfast
You can use almost any kind of winter squash for this recipe, although a round squash like kabocha is easiest to work with, and the pieces fit nicely in the flat bottom of the cooker. Leaving the skin on not only makes prep a snap, but the skin also helps the squash hold together during the gentle, moist cooking, and is easy enough to remove while you eat.
Maple sugar — the byproduct of boiling maple sap beyond the point that makes syrup — melts into the squash flesh, rather than dripping off as syrup does, and offers plenty of true maple flavor.
We also like the idea of keeping things on the savory side with a sprinkle of the Egyptian spice and nut blend known as dukkah, although it's equally delicious with a handful of granola instead.
Lining the slow cooker with aluminum foil is a good trick when cooking things without any additional liquid, as it's easy to lift the items out and cleanup is a snap.
We believe that the slow cooker is a tool that can help you eat well no matter your goals. With the start of the new year, we're utilizing the slow cooker to create wholesome meals to nourish us from breakfast to dinner. In the series you'll find recipes full of veggies and never short on flavor. It's time to take advantage of all this workhorse appliance has to offer.
Slow-Cooker Maple-Glazed Squash
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
Yogurt, chopped fruit, dukkah, or granola, for serving (optional)
Line the bottom of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with a large piece of aluminum foil, making sure it comes up partway on the sides. Spread the butter over the foil.
Cut the squash into 8 wedges. Cut out the seedy centers and discard.
Stir together the maple sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl. Dredge each piece of squash in the maple sugar mixture until lightly coated, arranging each one, skin-side down, in the slow cooker as you work. Try to fit them in a single layer as best you can. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the squash.
Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the squash is tender, 4 to 6 hours.
Lift each piece of squash from the cooker and arrange on a platter. Carefully lift the foil out of the cooker and pour the collected juices over the squash pieces. Serve warm with yogurt, chopped fruit, and dukkah or granola.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.