The grocery store produce department culls the summer produce, giving way to some of the best bounties of fall - crisp apples, firm potatoes, and oddly-shaped winter squash. One of the oddest-shaped, yet most delicious varieties is the butternut squash. It's bursting with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and culinary possibilities.
From a nutritional standpoint, the butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber (7 grams per cup!). Vitamins A and C act as antioxidants, slowing cellular damage and reducing inflammation.
There's more to butternut squash than soup! From a culinary perspective, this slightly sweet, nutty, and versatile squash lends a delicious addition to a variety of meals. To take advantage of this nutritious ingredient, try:
Add butternut squash to your favorite sheet of roasted veggies or use as a stand-alone. Toss with olive oil and season with thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Subbing for potatoes
Rather than using sweet potatoes or Russets, cut butternut squash into long strips rather than cubes to air fry like you would other potatoes. After cooking your butternut squash, mash it. Season as you would regular mashed potatoes, but add a shake of cinnamon to bring out the earthy flavor.
Stuffing the halves
Swap your stuffed bell peppers for stuffed squash halves. Cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds, and bake until tender. While baking, fix your filling. Finish off in the oven and enjoy!
Adding to your smoothie
Baked squash provides texture to your favorite smoothie. Combine with a frozen banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and milk of choice.
Enhancing stews, chilis, soups, and stir-frys
Cube the squash and add a little autumn to your favorite recipe.
Topping your pizza
Seriously. One of the best pizzas I've had was a caramelized butternut squash and crispy sage pizza. Thinly slice your squash and saute in a pan with olive oil. When done, add more oil to the pan and drop fresh sage leaves into the oil to quickly crisp up. Top your crust with olive oil, thyme, and the finished squash. Add goat cheese (or your favorite cheese) and the sage and bake until done. Amazing.
There's so much you can do with butternut squash to enjoy all the of benefits of this nutrition powerhouse. Pick one up with your next grocery store run and add it to your weekly meal plan.