Grains and Roasted Squash With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

September 12, 2019 Updated: September 12, 2019

The base of this dish can be made with any whole grain, and you can use any vegetable that roasts well instead of the squash. In the fall and winter, I do this with cauliflower steaks, thin cabbage wedges, and sweet potatoes that have been cut into planks. In the spring, it’s carrots, radishes, and baby turnips. In summer I’ll use thick slices of eggplant for the job, or I might grill wedges of romaine (instead of roasting). Fresh beefsteak tomatoes would be amazing, too—as long as you leave them raw.

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight if possible
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Honeynut or 1 butternut squash, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon crushed Calabrian chiles in oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 cup chopped tender herbs and/or fennel stems and fronds

Cook the wheat berries like pasta, in a big pot of salted boiling water, until tender, 20 minutes if soaked, 30–40 if not (start checking at around the 20-minute mark). 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

Peel the squash if desired (the thin skins are edible). Halve squash crosswise at the spot where the neck and the bulb meet. Cut neck crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick rounds. Halve bulb end, scoop out seeds, and cut squash into 1-inch-thick half-moons. Transfer all of the squash to a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the squash out and roast until tender and lightly browned, 20–30 minutes, tossing gently halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and buttermilk until combined, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Add Calabrian chiles and swirl together. Taste and season with salt and juice of 1/2 lemon. Thin with a splash of water if it doesn’t seem loose enough to be described as “dressing” (especially relevant if using Greek yogurt).

Drain wheat berries and transfer to a medium bowl. Let cool until warm, tossing occasionally. Stir in half of the dressing.

 Spread out the dressed grains on a serving platter. Top with squash and drizzle remaining dressing over. Toss herbs in a small bowl with juice of remaining 1/2 lemon. Season with salt. Scatter herbs over.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook” by Carla Lalli Music. Published by Clarkson Potter. 

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