Winter in Minnesota is not my favorite season. But then again, neither is summer in Arizona. I’ve often said that I’d prefer to be too cold than too hot, so I try to be thankful for the opportunity to bundle up and be cozy.

I’m also thankful for easy access to fresh produce, winter farmers markets and specialty grocery stores, like the Greek market by my house that sells fresh feta, olives and some of my favorite dried fruits.

I was in one of those “clean out the fridge” modes last week and threw together a couple of recipe ideas to make one big dish. One is a recipe from an Australian food blog and brings together maple syrup, butternut squash and walnuts. The other recipe comes from a dish I ate in my work cafeteria four years ago and combines chard, olives and feta cheese.

I’ve been craving a version of this for quite some time now and, thanks to a little Sunday meal prep, this was a quick meal to make.

On Sunday, I prepped the chard by removing the stems and chopping the leaves into large pieces and also peeled and cubed the squash.

The squash, walnuts and red onion all roast on a baking sheet while you chop the olives and sauté the chard. Don’t be afraid to use a couple bunches of chard because it cooks down significantly. The chopped walnuts add a nice toasted flavor to the dish along with some protein.

A perfect winter dish, if you ask me.

Maple Roasted Squash with Chard, Olives, and Feta
Serves four


For the squash:
2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces.
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust to desired spice level)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the chard:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 bunches of swiss chard, washed, dried and chopped
1-2 tbsp water
1/4 cup pitted and chopped green olives
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine butternut squash and walnuts. Add maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

On a large baking sheet, gently arrange red onion wedges evenly across the sheet. Add squash mixture to fill in the pan and drizzle any remaining liquid over the onions. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the onions have softened and the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute. Add chard and a small pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, and quickly cover. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until chard is wilted. Remove from heat and add olives.

To serve, layer the bottom of a serving bowl with the chard mixture, top with squash and walnuts and gently arrange the red onions in the center. Crumble feta on top, season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!