Cider and honey are cooked together to create a sweet and seasonal glaze for roasted cauliflower and sweet butternut squash in this holiday-ready recipe.
It is the month of November, so I must roast vegetables. I’m not sure when this became a habit, something I put on as uncomplicated as pulling my sweater from the top shelf of the closet and slipping boots on my feet when the leaves change.
Sunday I tried to make room for groceries, shifting vegetables and fruit around in my 16 cubic feet of refrigerator space, frustrated with the size and rethinking all the Thanksgiving plans I’d carefully laid out. Where would I fit pies if I couldn’t even get find a home for the carrots?
In a moment of frustration, I removed the cauliflower (three heads) and threw them up on the counter, freeing up a good bit of space and allowing me to finish the task at hand. The cauliflower stared back at me all afternoon as I made the largest batch of turkey wild rice soup I could, efficiently clearing out celery and stock to make room for the holiday meal prep to come. With the soup simmering, I continued to ignore the white and purple heads that I’d been harboring from the market weeks earlier, instead returning to laundry and my desk and all of the other things that needed attending.
It was only after my husband abandoned his appointed task of downing the last of the gallon of cider that I huffed my way into the kitchen to take care of it and the cauliflower heads myself. Before dinner, which was looking more and more like pancakes and less and less like something to serve roasted squash and cauliflower alongside.
There’s something comforting about a well roasted vegetable, and while you can do any number of spice and seasonings, I always end up leaning towards glazes. Making vegetables feel like dessert gives me a strange sort of joy, and feeding them to my children as a weekend afternoon snack in bowls as they sit on the couch only confirms that I have completely lost my mind.
In a perfect world, you plan this dish, stealing a bit of the cider that was to be warmed on the stove for the holiday meal. You turn it into a honey-sweetened glaze and roast the vegetables in it and then serve it alongside your turkey dinner – or a roast chicken on a cold night as you’re huddled inside your cozy house, made warmer from the heat of the oven and the bodies gathered around the table.
The cider and honey make our vegetable friends a cohesive unit, and you can add whatever herbs you might have around for other seasoning purposes. It would be good with sage, rosemary, and thyme, for example. All three or one or perhaps just a bit of marjoram you have resting in the back of the refrigerator begging for attention.
Honey and Cider Roasted Cauliflower and Butternut Squash
- 2 cups purple cauliflower florets
- 2 cups white cauliflower florets
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½" pieces (1½ - 2 cups)
- ½ cup apple cider
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower florets and the butternut squash chunks.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the apple cider and the honey. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about a third. Remove from the heat. Stir in the olive oil, herbs, and salt.
- Pour the honey dressing over the vegetables, tossing to coat evenly. Spread them onto a large baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, turning once, until cauliflower is golden brown and starting to char and the butternut squash is cooked through. Serve warm.