Food to Eat Right Now: Butternut Squash

I picked up a butternut squash from the farmers’ market about a month ago and just got around to cooking it on Sunday.

So there’s the first great thing about these delicious healthy winter vegetables! They can sit on the counter for weeks without spoiling. They also come in a variety of sizes, so you can pick one that is just for two or one that will feed the whole family.

I love this squash. It has beautiful sweet bright orange flesh that works well for soups or casseroles and is a hearty, filling food.

You may be thinking, “Yeah, but you can’t peel or cut them without losing a finger!” Well, I have news for you – I’ve figured out the simplest way to prepare butternut squash without even getting out a knife.

Roast it whole.

I’m not kidding. It’s super-easy. You just wash the outside off, plop the whole thing, as-is, into a baking dish and bake it at 425 degrees for approximately 90 minutes for a medium squash. It’s done when you poke it with a fork and the tines go in easily after they pierce the skin.

Please note: Don’t poke holes in it before you put it in the oven. Trust me, it won’t explode and you don’t want the moisture to ooze out while it bakes.

When it’s done, leave it in the pan to cool for a bit. It’s extra-hot and you don’t want to burn yourself cutting it. After it’s cooled, just cut it in half. So easy! Scoop out and discard the seeds and guts (the guts are a slightly darker color, so this is also a breeze), peel the skin off the outside – it comes right off – and, Voila! A miracle! Cooked squash without torturous effort.

 

You can under-cook it a little if you are planning to cube it for a dish, or over-cook it a little if you are planning to use it for soup. I over-cooked mine on purpose because I like the caramelization that happens on the edges. It gives my squash soup a nice rich flavor.

This squash is so good for you! It’s chock full of vitamin A and a host of B vitamins. It has lots of antioxidants, phytonutrients and some iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Plus, it’s low-calorie and doesn’t have any fat or cholesterol. And, it’s sweet. Yum.

Here is my favorite fast and easy butternut squash recipe.

 Blended Squash Soup

  • 1 onion, chop & sauté in the bottom of a saucepan.
  • Add 2 or 3 cups of already cooked squash and a couple cups of veggie broth.
  • Blend with an immersion blender or dump it all in the Vitamix and blend.
  • Add broth to achieve the consistency you prefer.
  • Cook for 5 or 10 minutes on low heat to blend flavors.
  • Add ¾ cup of almond milk (unsweetened).
  • Heat.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.

The almond milk will thicken the soup, so if it gets too thick you can add water or more veggie broth.

You can also add either a little curry powder & a tablespoon of coconut oil, or some nutmeg.

Three completely different soups!

And, in recognition of the holiday season, here’s a recipe for squash cookies:

Spiced Butternut Squash Cookies

by Mikayla Zumwalt – from biteclubeats.com (great recipes there!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (half whole wheat, half all-purpose white)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt (I use sea salt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (can be generous)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil (coconut or canola)
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional: ½ cup oats, chopped walnuts, raisins, coconut shreds, dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl. In a separate, larger bowl mix together, oil, molasses, squash and vanilla until well combined. Add dry to wet, folding to combine. Add optional ingredients after combined.

Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 16 minutes at 350. For best flavor, let them cool and set a bit.

I love these with the dark chocolate chips. Decadent for a pretty healthy cookie!

Happy Holidays!

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This article was written by Tamara Cameron of Health Harvest Holistic Wellness. Tamara is dedicated to helping people with elevated blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and, or, weight lower these levels naturally and grow younger at the same time. You can read more about Tamara at: www.health-harvest.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Then, please send me a link. I’d love to see what you’re up to!

Don’t forget, the 10-Day Energy Jumpstart begins on January 16th.

It’s a fun, effective and quick way to shake off the holiday haze, increase your energy and clarity, and drop a few extra pounds. It would make a great Christmas gift for you!

Early-bird registration ends December 20th.

To register or for more info Click Here.

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