3 Ways to Cook Butternut Squash
If you long for summer's vibrant produce, remember that butternut squash is pure nutrition, gold and plentiful, now. Low in calories (just 41 in a half-cup serving) and a good source of filling fiber, butternut squash is also chock full of yellow- and orange-hued antioxidants known as carotenoids. These nutrient powerhouses may help protect against heart disease and cancer, says Alice Bender, MS, RD, of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Carotenoids include beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient that supports the immune system, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes against cataracts and macular degeneration. One cup of butternut squash has more than four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A.
Butternut squash is the most widely grown winter squash. Its sweet flavor appeals to kids and works well in pastas, soups, and stews. But Bender suspects that some cooks are intimidated by the strange shape and hard skin. "It looks daunting, but it's very easy to prepare," she says. "You just need a good knife." Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Then bake it, cut side down, until soft and scoop out the flesh, or remove the rind with a vegetable peeler and cut the squash into cubes.
Walnut Herb Glazed Butternut Squash
Starring some of the best flavors of fall, this glazed butternut squash makes a savory Thanksgiving or holiday feast side dish.
Makes 6 servings
2 large butternut squash (totaling 3–4 pounds)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 shallots, chopped
½ cup toasted, chopped walnuts
½ cup fresh, whole sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
¼ tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Skin, seed, and cube squash, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss squash with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and shallots.
- Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet or sheet pan.
- Roast squash until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once to ensure even cooking.
- Remove squash from oven. Toss gently in a serving dish with walnuts, sage leaves, salt, and pepper, and serve.
Per serving: 175 calories, 3 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 104 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 54%.
Butternut Squash, Apple, and Currant Bake
This side dish pairs well with pork or roast chicken but it might as well be for dessert, given the delectable way the squash and apples caramelize while roasting. It features five-spice powder, a Chinese cooking staple found in large grocery stores or ethnic markets.
Makes 6 servings