I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the box, but I had not envisioned this.
Hubbard squash, size XL
Earlier this month, I signed up for Paleo Pens Pals, a fun program put together by Tarah of whatigather.com and Brittanie from threedietsonedinner.com. Here’s how the program works: You visit the Paleo Pen Pals Facebook page and sign up.
You will be paired up with another paleo aficionado. Then, you and your pen pal “exchange a unique, paleo-friendly ingredient/local item” that you can used in a paleo meal. I just loved the idea of the program. I mean, having a pen pal seems so retro and fun! And who doesn’t love paleo inspiration?
On November 1, I received an e-mail letting me know my paleo pen pal for this month was Katie from Ohio. Katie and I made arrangements to swap goodies. (To see what I sent her, you will have to wait for Katie’s guest post coming soon!)
That’s how I came to have a giant hubbard squash and no particular idea what a hubbard squash is. Luckily, Katie was nice enough to include a note with a bit of background.
Katie’s nice note. Love that she got tips from the farm stand girl for me!
I let the squash sit in my office for a few days while I did a little research on this mottled green, lumpy winter squash. I learned that hubbard squash is similar to a pumpkin or butternut squash. In fact, when I searched for recipes for hubbard squash on epicurious.com, the only recipes I found listed hubbard squash as an alternative to pumpkin or butternut. I needed more than that before I cut into my first Hubbard.
I talked to my friend L.B. and asked if she had any ideas. Nope, none. We were both stumped.
Then last Wednesday, L.B. and I went to dinner at Linger, a so-hip-it-hurts restaurant in Denver where the food is delicious (although not exactly, or at all, paleo.) We studied the menu and L.B. asked our waitress about one of the items.
Our waitress launched into a multi-paragraph explanation of the dish. The exotic description fogged my brain and I switched my attention to deciding if it was too much to order the Wagyu burger sliders and the braised goat tacos when I heard three words that made me look up: hubbard squash hummus.
It always amazes me how our brains tune into what is important to us. You know, like when you first learn who Rich Froning is and suddenly you start seeing him everywhere. Or you decide you want to buy a new purse and you start to notice everyone’s handbags.
I am sure I could have easily heard the description of that dish another time and never even known there was hubbard squash on the menu – but since it was on my mind, her words hit me like a 10 pound gourd to the noggin. I looked up. We ordered the dish.
Now, the hubbard squash hummus we got ended up being a little watery and strangely sweet. But I suspected I was on to something.
And I was. I used to love hummus and had sort of missed it since I ditched garbanzo beans. But this dish has all the garlicky, lemony, tahini-y goodness of hummus – but with a paleo-friendly squash base.
So, thanks my Paleo Pen Pal, Katie, I now present Hubbard Sqaush Hummus. (And, if you want your own Paleo Pen Pal, sign up now for December. You don’t have to be a blogger – just up for some fun in the kitchen.)
Hubbard Squash Hummus
Hubbard squash puree*, 2 cups (Based on what I learned, I think butternut squash or pumpkin would work too.)
Tahini, ¼ cup (or a little less)
Garlic, 2 small (or 1 large) cloves
Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
Cumin, 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, 1 shake
Fresh parsley, 1/2 tablespoon, (Optional but tasty!)
- Put all ingredients in a food processor or use an immersion hand blender.
- Puree until smooth.
- Serve with fresh veggies or paleo crackers for dipping. Another delicious serving idea: Top a bowl of cooked broccoli with a few tablespoons of hummus and a drizzle of olive oil. That is my favorite!
*For this recipe, I decided to roast the hubbard squash. I suspected that would make it a little less watery than cooking the squash face down in water like I usually do. To roast the squash, just cut it in half and remove seeds. Rub with coconut oil and place halves face up in pan. Bake at 400 degrees until soft. (The time will vary depending on the size of your squash. This huge one took a long time — 2 hours!) When done, scoop out the squash and puree until smooth.