Many people shy away from even attempting to cook up some butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, or any squash for that matter. I can understand the fear as most people in general don’t cook or don’t know the basics of anything more than popping something in the microwave. That is why I’m writing this- it’s a simple How-To for cooking up butternut squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, or any of the squash variety.
Why Butternut Squash?
This versatile veggie is packed with more than just taste possibilities; it’s also loaded with vitamin A. 1 cup of cooked squash has 457% of the recommended daily allowance — and is a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium. And like most vegetables, it’s fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free.
Fat and Calories: One cup of raw butternut squash only has 63 calories. The majority of those calories come from the carbohydrates. The same serving of butternut squash only has .1 g of fat. It can be added to meals to add flavor and fullness without adding fat.
Dietary Fiber: Dietary fiber regulates the digestive system. It can also help to lower cholesterol levels in the body. There are 3 g of dietary fiber in every serving of butternut squash, 11 percent of your daily recommended value.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is an important part of cell reproduction and it’s important to maintaining healthy eyes. Butternut squash has 298 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for the body. It can help to prevent certain kinds of cancer and can help to keep the immune system working properly. Vitamin C has also been shown to possibly help prevent certain types of heart disease. Butternut squash accounts for 50 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C at 29.4 mg per one cup serving.
Minerals: One serving of butternut squash has 14 percent of your daily recommended value of manganese, 12 percent of magnesium and 14 percent of potassium. Potassium is important for healthy muscle action. Magnesium is important for cell formation and manganese is important to metabolizing proteins and fat, according to NutritionData.
HOW TO PREPARE & ROAST A BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Start with a nice size
Butternut squash! Not too big, as the larger the size, the harder it is to handle…
(That’s what she said! LOL…had to say it!)
I use a super sharp serrated knife (my bread knife works perfectly for this). Begin by cutting off the two ends- the pumpkin looking top and the core bottom.
The next step would be to slice the squash in half Length wise- right done the middle. This can take some muscle power so hopefully your been hitting the weights building those biceps! You can “saw” into it on all sides till eventually you’ll cut through the center.
Using a spoon, scoop/scrape out the inside pulp which is similar to carving the flesh out of a pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds & pulp so that it is clean & hollow like the squash pictured.
After this step you can skip right to the marinading & seasoning of your squash or you can continue preparing your squash into cubes for roasting!
To skin a butternut squash is a job within itself. The safe way To do this is with a peeler but if your’re a pro with a knife, Feel free to skin the squash with just a knife in hand. Be Careful not to take off too thick of layers of skin as you will
Be taking away the delicious squash rather than the outer Skin if you cut too deep!
The next part of the process would be to chop up the squash. Now at this point it shopuld be a fairly simple step as the hard Outer skin has been removed. Begin by cutting about 1″ slices All the way down the squash. Then dice up the strips into cubes About 1″ or bite size. At this point you will be ready to season &/or Marinade your squash & prepare the roasting process!
There are two ways to prepre the butternut squash for roasting. Here I have done the preparation process of skinning the squash, then chopping it up into cubes.
Here I have simply left the skin on the squash, cut it in half length wise, scooped out & cleaned the inside pulp/seeds, & I’m beginning to add my herbs & merinade to the squash. I’ve placed it on a pan lined with foil.
For both of the squash pictured here I have made a deliscious & super flavorful Balsamic Rosemary marinade.This is not an exact science. In fact a majority of the time I don’t even go off of a recipes for measurements, I just wing it! So get creative & come up with your own.
BALSAMIC & ROSEMARY MARINADE
– This can be used for squash, veggies, even on your proteins like chicken/turkey/fish, etc.
1-2 T. Olive Oil
1-2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. Dried or Fresh Rosemary (Use a bit more if it’s fresh)
1 tsp. black pepper (Fresh cracked pepper is best)
Dash of sea salt (optional)
TIME TO COOK EM’ UP!!!
- PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES. ROAST CUBED BUTTERNUT SQUASH IN A BROILING PAN OR ON A BAKING SHEET LAYED OUT TO ONE LAYER. OR IF YOU’RE ROASTING IT WHOLE, PLACE ON A BAKING SHEET. THE WHOLE BUTTERNUT SQUASH WILL TAKE SLIGHTLY LONGER TO ROAST THAN THE CUBED.
ROASTING THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH HALVES: 400′ OVEN, 45-60 MIN. OR UNTIL SLIGHTLY BROWN & TENDER.
- ROASTING THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH CUBES: 350-375′ OVEN, 40-50 MIN. OR UNTIL SLIGHTLY BROWNED & TENDER.