I adore fall’s deep orange butternut squash almost as much as the orange-colored leaves currently overtaking my trees. Butternuts are beautiful, tasty, and oh so healthy.
The health stats of the fall squash far surpass summer’s yellow variety, sporting flesh that’s exceptionally rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber.
It’s orange color gives away one of the key nutrients hidden within its flesh, beta-carotene (AKA, what your body uses as vitamin A). In one cup alone, you get approximately half your day’s worth of vitamin C, along with 15-20% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin B6, known to support a healthy immune system and blood circulation. Butternut squash also contains 12% of your daily recommended intake of potassium, essential for bone health. All of these nutrients are packed into a small package containing less than 70 calories per cup!
Aside from all the health benefits butternuts put on your plate, they just downright taste good. The flavor is comparable to that of a sweet potato, although not quite as sweet and with an added hint of nuttiness. My favorite way to cook these babies is to pop them in the oven until they get soft and creamy. Making a delicious side of butternut squash is a cinch.
Roasted Butternut Squash
-1 butternut squash
– Olive oil, for drizzling (1-2 Tbsp. depending on size of squash)
– Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice into half moons, approximately 1/3-inch thick. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grease aluminum foil with a bit of oil. Place sliced squash on tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake 40 minutes, flipping halfway, or until squash is soft and just begins to brown.
Note: While I honestly enjoy the simple version of baked butternut squash the best, there are tons of things you can do to dress this fall treat up.
For a sweeter version of baked butternut squash, top with 2 tsp. of brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. of cinammon. Finish with a dab of butter once squash are removed from oven.
For a savory version, add 1/2 tsp. of sage and a few cloves of minced garlic.
Like pictured above, it’s also super convenient to roast up some brussel sprouts along with the squash (even if you think you’re a non-brussel sprout fan, roasting them might change your mind). Just toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and bake right alongside the squash. Depending on the size of the sprouts, you might want to check them 5-10 minutes before the squash is finished cooking.