Chef Ed: Peeling & Prepping Butternut Squash
There are few vegetables out there that intimidate me. Artichokes are on that list as I seem to be completely inept at selecting the right ones and they come out tasting rotten. Romanesco is another one for me only because my imagination always places them on the end of a mid-evil weapon used to bludgeon heretics and witches. There may be a few others out there that have escaped my conscious at this moment, but the list is short and those that I do avoid can be easily replaced with other vegetables that induce much less fear and anxiety.
However, my comfort level with obscure or intimidating vegetables hasn’t always been high and there were many foods that I completely dismissed or avoided in my food routine. Previously I would have been happy just letting these foods fall between the dietary cracks, but my relatively recent enthusiasm for nutrition and career change motivated me to overcome a few of my food fears so that I could really enhance my health and wellbeing. One of those foods, butternut squash, has now become a staple in my household and I enjoy it on an almost weekly basis. This is especially true in the colder, darker months lasting from late fall to early spring when I roast a ton of veg and prepare some hearty soups and stews.
Butternut squash, as intimidating as it may be, contains a ton of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, which promote eye health, reduce inflammation, and improve bowel function, respectively. The starches in butternut squash also add a mildly sweet flavor that can really enhance the taste profile of almost any dish. The trick is properly handling such an awkward fruit (That’s right. Butternut squash is a fruit.) and getting all the gloriously orange meat out of the inedible peal.
That being said, I thought it would be fun to show you how quickly peal and prepare a butternut squash for whatever food adventure you embark upon next. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this quick tutorial on how to properly peel and prep a butternut squash.
Oh! As I mention in the video above, one of my favorite ways to incorporate the sweet and somewhat meaty taste of butternut squash is to throw it on a roasting pan with some Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and onions. This super simple dish makes a great accompaniment to a nice piece of lamb or pork, but can also be used as an entrée in your plant-based or veg heavy routine. If you’re interested in trying this dish sans meat, I would highly recommend throwing a little bit of healthy fat and protein on top to balance out the starches found in the butternut. Keeping it as simple as possible, a nice avocado and black bean spread would fit the bill quite nicely. Have fun and let your imagination run wild with this incredibly versatile dish.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1-2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts, outer leaves trimmed, stems removed, and halved
- ½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until vegetables are well coated.
- Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until desired doneness, stirring vegetables halfway through cooking time.
Here is a nice little image of my Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels. I typically like my Brussels a little bit more charred than in this image, but that preference has been a long time in the making so maybe be safe and pull the veggies from the oven before this happens as shown below.