Sweet Roasted Butternut, Beet & Paneer (or Tofu)

Sweet Roasted Butternut Squash, Beets & Paneer (or Tofu)

Some mornings I wake up with a recipe in my head.  In this case, it was a polyamorous marriage between golden yellow pumpkin, ruby-red beets, pineapple and paneer (a mild white Indian cheese).  Channeling memories of the wonderful flavor of candied yams, and the sweet mellow taste of pineapple cheesecake (both of which are too sweet for me, generally), and it suddenly came to me that the paneer, pineapple and pumpkin would be fabulous together.  I had to think for a moment about the beets, but I thought they’d work too, and imagining the sparkling color of the final product made it too exciting a proposition to resist.  Given my general avoidance of sugar, I thought about using agave syrup in the recipe — I think it would work, and next time I’ll try it, but I wasn’t sure it would carmelize as nicely as the maple sugar which I used this time around.  If you don’t have maple sugar, brown sugar will do just as well.  If you’re vegan, don’t fret because baked tofu, soaked for at least an hour in mild sugar water, works as a fine substitute for the cheese.

Sweet Roasted Butternut, Beet & Paneer (or Tofu)
Active preparation
Cooking time
Total time
The jewel tones of beet and butternut squash are lovely together, and mix sweetly with the sparkle of pineapple, brown sugar, coconut and the mellow flavor of paneer.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: North American
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 medium beets
  • ¾ lb paneer (see note)
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • ¼ c pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup diced or crushed pineapple
  • ¼ cup maple or brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  1. Set the oven for 450F (180C)
  2. Peel and cube the squash and beets in ½" dice. Add them to a large bowl and toss them in the lemon juice.
  3. Dice the cheese or tofu into ½" cubes as well.
  4. Melt the coconut oil.
  5. Add the oil, pineapple juice, pineapple, and grated nutmeg and toss again. Add salt to taste.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a roasting pan and sprinkle with the sugar.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil.
Halloumi or queso fresco can be substituted for the paneer. What you need is a mild, slightly absorbent cheese that will hold its shape when grilled or baked. Stay away from feta or other sharp cheeses. Vegans can use firm baked tofu, which is best if it's been soaked for an hour in sugar water before use. This recipe is excellent served hot from the oven, or reheated the next day.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 300 Calories: 349 Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 14.1g Carbohydrates: 32.2g Sugar: 16.3 Sodium: 544mg Dietary Fiber: 4.6g Protein: 14.9 Cholesterol: 30mg