The Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
If you find sweet and nutty butternut squash super satisfying, there’s a reason why: It’s one of the most filling vegetables out there, offering almost 7 grams of satiating fiber per cooked cup—for only 82 calories. The benefits don’t stop there: You also get excellent amounts of vision-supporting vitamin A and immunity-boosting vitamin C. Plus, the natural sugars in this starchy winter squash are released during the cooking process, so that the veggie becomes deliciously sweet.
How Do You Prepare Butternut Squash?
First, choose a squash that feels heavy for its size and has its stem intact. Also make sure the skin is dull and matte—without any soft spots, cuts, or cracks. When you’re preparing the squash for cooking, you can actually keep the skin on if you intend to roast or grill it. Either way, save the seeds, as they’re delicious when roasted. To peel a butternut squash, first cut off the ends with a chef’s knife. Then peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. If you’d like to dice the squash, halve it where the neck ends and then cube the neck flesh. Next, halve the squash body lengthwise, discard the strings, remove seeds, and cut into cubes.
What Can You Do with Butternut Squash?
The cooking opportunities for butternut squash are numerous! But you can start with these tasty ideas.
Roasted Squash: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Arrange squash cubes on a nonstick cooking tray coated with spray oil. Toss lightly with olive oil and seasonings of choice (such as salt and black pepper), then bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until squash is fork tender. Stirring halfway through.
Pureed Squash: Peel a butternut squash, then cube and roast it. Place roasted butternut squash cubes in a food processor, along with seasonings of choice (such as a drizzle of honey and cinnamon). Pulse a few times until smooth. Then use the puree in soup, in pancake batter, or even as a pizza topping.
Squash Noodles: To make veggie noodles, you’ll want to choose a squash that has as much of an even cylindrical shape as possible. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Coat two nonstick cooking trays with spray oil. Slice off the top of the squash’s stem, then peel the squash and cut off the bottom half. This is where the seeds are, so you can’t spiralize it—but you can cube and roast it. Halve the remaining part of the squash so that you have two pieces, each roughly three inches wide. Then spiralize each half of the squash with a spiralizer, using the setting for the thickest noodles. Place the noodles on the cooking trays, drizzle lightly with olive oil and seasonings of choice, and toss to coat. Roast until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with your sauce of choice.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
Hungry for more? You’ll love these butternut-squash-focused recipes!