If you want to truly feel that fall has arrived, one simple way to do it is to cook with butternut squash! It's not very complicated. You can add it to soups, pasta, sweet or savory pies or you can just roast it!
Butternut squash grows during the summer, but it’s harvested in the fall. Thanks to its thick skin and firm flesh, you can store it for several months. This means you can cook all kinds of dishes using butternut squash during the cold season: from autumn to winter.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked, cubed butternut squash, or around 205 grams, contains: 82 calories, 1.8 grams (g) of protein, 0.18 g of fat, 21.50 g of carbohydrate, including 4 g of sugar and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber. It is a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
If you haven’t cooked with butternut squash yet, then you should know that it has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin's. It’s one of the most versatile vegetables (though it's technically a fruit, it’s used as a vegetable in the kitchen) because there are so many delicious ways to use it in different dishes. We suggest you cook with butternut squash by experimenting with all the cooking techniques.
Butternut squash can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, puréed for soups such as squash soup, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies.
5 ways to cook with butternut squash
1. Roast it
One of the most common ways to cook butternut squash is roasting it. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove its seeds (which also can be roasted into a nice salty snack), lightly brush its flesh with vegetable oil, and place the halves on a baking sheet and then into the oven. Some people roast the butternut squash cut-side down, others cut-side up, and some of them like to cut the squash into half-moon slices or cubes. Once roasted, it can be eaten in a variety of ways, from salads to sweet snacks, if you season it with honey and cinnamon.
If you're using it in salads, you can eat it in both cold and warm combinations. You can pair roasted butternut squash with broccoli, baby spinach, cooked wild rice, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, red onions, roasted bell peppers, feta cheese, stemmed and finely chopped kale, nuts and seeds.
2. In soups
Peel the squash, cut it into cubes, then boil its flesh for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Then, use it to make flavored soups. Check different recipes on the Internet, but keep in mind that most of them ask you to add vegetable or chicken stock, vegetables like onion and carrots, or even apples, butter, and heavy cream. Season them and serve with crumbled cheese, croutons or roasted butternut squash seeds. You can also try our roasted butternut squash soup.
3. Risotto or couscous
Do the same with the butternut squash as you do for soups if you want to use it in risottos and couscous dishes. After you boil it, you can either mash it and then add it to your dish, or use cubes of it. Combine it with peas, mushrooms, beans, cooked chicken, onion, or sweet corn. Of course, the combos and recipes are endless.
4. With pasta
Spaghetti, farfalle, penne, tagliatelle, or even lasagna sheets go great with butternut squash. Add to your classic spaghetti carbonara, or in any pasta recipe. Try it with parmesan, fried bacon, or in mac and cheese and you won’t regret it. For lasagna, one of the basic recipes needs butternut squash puree, ricotta, low moisture mozzarella, spinach, onion, and lasagna sheets.
5. Pies and tarts
Although you can use butternut squash in savory dishes (by pairing it with spinach and cheese, for example), we usually think of sweet dishes when it comes to pies and tarts. Follow your recipe. It usually asks you to blend together cooked and pureed butternut squash with sugar, eggs, half and half and spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and maybe vanilla extract. This mixture is used in tart shells or in pies.