Butternut squash is a nutrient-dense ingredient that you can incorporate into different kinds of meals, from smooth purees to roasted side dishes. Learn the different ways to cook butternut squash, so you can use it to make a hearty and filling meal any time.
Posted April 4,2018 in Natural.
Butternut squash is a popular winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbita moschata species.1,2 Its slim neck and bulbous bottom give it a distinct elongated pear shape, and it has an average weight of around 2 to 3 pounds.3 Its thick and smooth cream-colored rind hides its bright orange flesh, which contains fewer seeds and tastes relatively sweeter and nuttier compared to other variants of squashes.4
Even though butternut squash is considered a winter squash, it’s actually a warm-weather crop.5 It’s grown in the summer and harvested during early fall to late winter.6,7 You can keep it for a month or more, provided that you store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. While other foods lose their nutritional value when stored for a long time, butternut squash tends to become even more nutritious during the first two months of storage, as its carotenoids continue to accumulate.
Aside from providing a remarkable amount of nutrients, the butternut squash is also a versatile ingredient that you can add to different dishes, which is why it definitely deserves a spot in your kitchen. From soups to desserts, you can use it to create a variety of mouthwatering meals, as long as you know the different ways to cook it.
Butternut squash is easy to prepare and cook, plus it has a natural sweet flavor that complements different ingredients. Learning the different ways to cook this vegetable can be a useful culinary skill, especially if you need to whip up a tasty dish within minutes.
In order for you to create a delicious meal out of butternut squash, make sure that you choose one that’s dense and heavy for its size. You should also check its rind to see if it’s free of cracks, soft spots and other blemishes.8 Once you have the perfect butternut squash, turn it into a healthy and satisfying dish using any of the cooking methods below.
One of the simplest things that you can do with a butternut squash is to puree it. This makes for a perfect base ingredient for soups, desserts and side dishes. Plus, it’s a nutritious meal for babies and kids. Here’s a simple guide on how to puree butternut squash:9,10
When pureeing a butternut squash, take care not to include the skin into the mixture, since it will make the consistency chunky instead of smooth and velvety.
Roasting butternut squash keeps its flesh moist and tender while caramelizing its exterior, giving your dish a nice contrast in texture. Follow this easy method from Better Homes and Gardens to roast your butternut squash perfectly in an oven:11
You may also opt to roast butternut squash without peeling and/or dicing it into cubes. The roasting process can soften its rind, making it easier to chew.12
Don’t have an oven? Don’t worry — butternut squash can be easily cooked on the stove, too. The preparation for stovetop dishes is similar — you just need to peel the squash, remove its seeds and dice it into cubes if desired.
If you want to fry it in a pan, set the heat to medium-high and use grass fed butter or coconut oil for frying. Let the squash cook for several minutes, and then sample a few pieces to see if they’re done to your liking.13 You can also steam butternut squash on a stovetop. You simply boil 1 inch of water in a large pot, put the squash in a steamer basket and then place the squash over the boiling water. Be sure to keep the pot covered and allow the squash to cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it’s tender to bite.14
Now that you know some of basic cooking methods that you can do with a butternut squash, it’s time to show off your culinary prowess. Here are some hearty and delectable recipes that you should try:
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe
Note: If you have time, you can peel the squash and cut it into cubes to save time when cooking.
Six-Spice Butternut Squash Recipe
Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl
Roasting a Whole Butternut Squash:
Assembling Your Breakfast Bowls:
Winter squashes, like the butternut, are among the vegetables that I recommend you to include in your wholesome diet, as they’re loaded with a wide array of nutrients that can help you take control of your health.
The most notable benefit of butternut squash is its abundant carotenoid content, which is an antioxidant that turns into an active form of vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for your eye health, immune system and cell growth, among others. Plus, it plays a role in the function of vitamin D, vitamin K2, zinc and magnesium.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a cup of cooked butternut squash provides 1,144 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A, exceeding the recommended daily allowances (RDA) of this vitamin for men and women, which are 900 mcg and 700 mcg, respectively.15
A cup of butternut squash also provides 17 percent of your RDA for potassium,16 which may help lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases by counteracting the negative effects of sodium on your blood pressure. Some of the other valuable vitamins and minerals that butternut squash can provide include:17
Butternut squash is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which may help promote a healthy digestive system and immune function, as well as prevent inflammation and gastrointestinal issues like constipation.
Before you chow down bowls of butternut squash to reap its outstanding health benefits, keep in mind that it’s not OK to eat this food excessively, since it contains high amounts of carbohydrates. In fact, around 90 percent of its calories come from carbs, half of which are starch-like.
While the starch from butternut squash may have a few unique health benefits, it’s still best to limit your net carb intake to 40 to 50 grams per day. With that said, make sure that you eat butternut squash in moderation, as its high carb content may cause you to unintentionally exceed your daily limit for carbohydrates, which may increase your risk for high blood sugar levels and chronic diseases.