What keeps most of us from cooking a butternut squash is the thought of peeling it. Its odd shape, a sharp knife and slippery hands = a trip to the ER. But peeling one is easier than you think. All you need is vegetable peeler, making this task much safer and faster. When I cook butternut squash, I always roast it. By cutting the squash in half-moon shaped pieces (rather than cubes), it increases the cooking surface area, resulting in a deeper caramelization.
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 large (2 ½-3 pound) butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- 1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning (pictured below).
- Peeling: Keep the butternut squash whole and use a vegetable peeler, starting at one end then switch to the other end. When peeling the skin, be sure to remove the white layer and greenish fibers just under the skin. This layer is very tough and no amount of cooking will soften it. You’ll want to peel the skin until you reach the bright orange squash layer.
- Slicing: Cut the peeled squash in half, lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place squash, cut-side down, on a cutting board and slice each into half-moon slices (about ½ inch thick).
- Roasting: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with melted butter, olive oil, salt and pepper (and the chili lime seasoning if you are using it). Arrange on a baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray). Roast squash until bottom side of squash pieces are well browned, about 25 minutes. Flip each piece and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until tender.
Nutrition Note: I think the beautifully deep, rich, orange flesh of butternut squash says it all. You are looking at beta-carotene at it’s finest. Beta-carotene (considered a provitamin because our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A) is a powerful antioxidant and is vital in maintaining healthy skin, eyes and cardiovascular health. Now is the season to ramp up your beta-carotene intake with butternut, acorn, pumpkin and spaghetti squash flooding the markets.
Here’s a joke for your second grader. What do you get when you throw a pumpkin into the air? Answer: Squash.
Note: Mix roasted butternut squash with roasted Brussels sprouts for an incredibly healthy and tasty side-dish for Thanksgiving.