Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash with Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Dressing

Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash

Fiber Manifesto

Well, where there are vegetables, there just so happens to be fiber. Perhaps a dry subject, perhaps a bit less toothsome than what we’d like to associate with our food, but listen… fiber. It’s here, it’s multifaceted, and it does some darn important stuff for us. Mainly, just like earlier this week while spouting some inulin info over with the braised leeks, that the different types of fiber play different roles in our bodies, and than many types of those fibers are THE STUFF that feeds our good bacteria. So, even for our most ketogenic of friends, getting in the goods via a bounty of raw, cooked, fermented and otherwise prepared veggies, is gonna do our bodies good in the long run.

Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash

Taking the slow train

Within the category of fiber, there are a few different ideas we can think about in terms of classification:

  • Soluble
    • The fiber binds with water and can create a gel-like consistency.
  • Insoluble
    • These fibers do not mix with water, inside or outside our bodies.
  • Viscosity
    • The fiber mixes with liquids inside/outside the body to varying degrees of thickness.
  • Fermentability
    • Can the fiber in question be fermented and utilized by our gut bacteria and feed these bacteria?

Why do we CARE, Lucia? Ah! Because really, at the end of the day, for a gut that functions mostly with ease, we actually… don’t… need to care about the nitty-gritty above. As long as we’re getting a mixture of different textures, cooked and raw, colors and actual variation in the vegetables themselves throughout the week, month, year–we good. We’ve covered all of the above types of fiber without having to break a sweat because we’re naturally just doing our food thang.

Go us!

Which is why this salad had me thinking about fibers all week. Because we’re hitting most (if not all) of the different types in one dish, and sometimes it seems that we, once we develop an interest in nutrition, tend to get a little stuck in our heads about these sorts of details and can miss the forest for the trees. Does this have x? Does it have enough of y? Did I hit my goal for the day? Am I good now? Will I be bad next week? (pro tip: you are never bad). All those questions can rest easy, and we can present ourselves with foods that do the heavy lifting, so our big ol’ brains can take a hot second off. (For those who currently experience difficulty in the breakdown and digestion of different types of carbohydrates–fiber is a different issue and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be a beautiful template that can help us suss out where to start in sorting how to prioritize carbohydrates and their digestibility!).

Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash

Pull up a chair–wait, no, a stool.

Poop jokes in bulk around here, always. ANWAY. The carnival squash, just like delicata squash and butternut squash, has a peel that once cooked becomes totally edible–check off some of that insoluble fiber box, huh? And whole poppy seeds, well, they provide just oodles of fiber, so listen… you’re set, ya hear?

If you don’t happen to stumble upon the carnival squash, grab a couple of acorn or delicata squashes and treat ’em the same way. No orange? Try grapefruit. Blood orange? Lovely, your dressing will be that much more brightly colored! But I’d say do try out this fun technique for adding the poppy seeds to one side of the sliced squash–they plate beautifully once roasted up and it’s just one more step than simply roasting off the squash anyway. And, you know what happens when we’re able to add a step to the cooking process that allows us to relish in how the food is presented, right? It amps up our digestive prowess!

Not sure about that? Try it out and let me know what happens. And bring over another fiber joke while you’re here, ok?

Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash


Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash with Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Dressing

A stunning yet simple roasted squash dish served over a bed of fresh arugula or mixed baby greens is a wonderfully robust and warming winter side dish!

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lucia Hawley


Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash

  • 2 carnival squash or any squash you prefer, acorn or delicata are great!, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes


Poppy Seed Crusted Carnival Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash each into 6ths or 8ths, depending on their size.
  3. Place squash wedges on baking tray, then drizzle and rub all over the with extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Pour poppy seeds on a separate and shallow plate.
  5. One by one, gently press one side each of the squash wedges into the poppy seeds to coat the cut edge. Place the crusted squash wedges back onto the baking tray, putting the non-crusted edge of the squash onto the bottom of the baking tray.
  6. Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through the roasting time so each wedge is put onto its back.
  7. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then plate over a bed of arugula (or by themselves) and drizzle with the orange crushed pepper dressing (see below)

Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Dressing

  1. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small jar.
  2. Place lid on and shake, shake, shake to emulsify!
  3. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Drizzle over the finished crusted poppy seed carnival squash.


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