Sunday, March 13, 2011

Butternut Squash

Some people may have never tried a fall harvest squash before, besides pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It can be a little intimidating to see the squash at the grocery store and wonder what to do with it, and even how to open it up. Step by step instructions, can be found HERE.
Well, fall squash, like butternut are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients (click HERE for more info). The color of the butternut squash is beautiful and bright and full of nutrients: fiber, potassium, vitamin b6, folate, and most importantly it contains carotenoids (shown to protect against heart disease). In particular, beta-carotene, which our body converts into Vitamin A. One cup of this delicious squash contains about half the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C. Butternut squash, because of its high antioxidant count may also help with inflammation. Because it contains seeds, it is technically a fruit.
Here are my three favorite things to DO with butternut squash:

1. Make Fries

(picture from

click for simple recipe instructions from "hungry girl" HERE!

(these are awesome)

2. Make a yummy "cheezy" pasta dish to fool your kids.
I found the recipe here.

(My kids never knew what made the sauce yellow)


2 C. chopped butternut squash, cooked

8 oz. whole wheat short pasta (brown rice pasta would also be awesome)

2 bay leaves

2 C. vegetable stock

3 1/2 T. nutritional yeast

(don't know what this is? click Here to find out about this amazing food. this actually gives the cheesy flavor).

1 T. sesame seeds

2 t. Dijon mustard

1/2 t. onion powder

1/4 t. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4-1/2 C. whole wheat bread crumbs (make your own by wadding up a piece of whole wheat bread and drop it in the blender. pulse for a few seconds.)

1-2 T. earth balance spread, or butter and Parmesan cheese to top


1. Cook your squash: I like to cook my squash, by cutting it in half, scraping out the seeds and placing both halves, skin side up on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 until you can make an indent with your thumb. Let it cool and then scrape out the inside.
You can also put your squash in a crock pot (the whole thing) in the morning with some water for steam and cook it on high. In a few hours, it will be done and you can cut it and scrape out the seeds.

2. Preheat oven to 400. Bring pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta.

3. Warm vegetable stock in another pot with bay leaves and leave on heat for 5 minutes. When done, remove bay leaves and add all ingredients, except pasta to a food processor or high speed blender. Process for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour pasta in a baking dish and pour sauce over the top (I had a little too much sauce, that I just ate with a spoon). Add breadcrumbs and dabs of butter. I also topped mine with some Parmesan cheese for my kids.

5. Bake for 20 minutes until breadcrumbs are browned and crisp. Serve hot! Stored great and heated up well the next day!

3. Make Soup:
1 got this recipe from my trainer, Cody (

It is great and stores well in the fridge for a few days.

1 1/2 C. butternut squash, cooked and cooled

2 stalks celery, diced

1 T. red or sweet onion, chopped

1/2 yellow squash, diced (don't have to cook if you have a high-speed blender)

1 T. olive oil

1 t. sea salt

1/2 t. turmeric

1 t. apple cider vinegar

4 C. pure water
garnish with fresh parsley or sunflower seeds

In your high speed blender, blend all until smooth. In my Vita-Mix, I can leave the soup in there for a few minutes and it will get hot, so I don't need to heat it on the stove. If your blender does not do this, then blend it really well, and then put in your pot until warm.

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