I absolutely adore colorful food. Having an interesting plate can really make a meal. If you’ve ever made food for kids, you know this! If it looks cool, they will be much more likely to eat it. Well, not just kids–husbands, too!
Butternut squash is one of those vegetables that instantly adds a beautiful detail to any meal because of its vibrant color. This winter squash is chock full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, so you can feel great about serving it to your family. With a nutty flavor similar to pumpkin, you can dress it up and play with the seasonings to get it just to your liking.
My favorite way to prepare butternut squash it this: roast it in the oven, and then mash it. The texture is great, presentation is perfect, and the taste is phenomenal!
I love to serve it with these Garlic Parmesan Pork Medallions for a meal that is easy enough for a weeknight and elegant enough to serve for company.
To roast the squash in the oven, you’ll need to cut them in half, long-ways (hot dog style–thanks, elementary teachers). Then, use a spoon to scoop out the “guts,” the seeds and stringy bits. If you’re so inclined and have time to pick them out, you can even save the seeds and toast them for a nutritious, flavorful snack or topping.
Aren’t they gorgeous?!? That beautiful orange color gets my mouth watering.
Once you’ve scooped out the seeds, spray the flesh of the squash with olive oil cooking spray and season. I use salt and pepper and fresh chopped parsley for a nice simple flavor profile.
Now, turn them upside down on a cooking sheet and pop those babies in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your squash–they can vary a lot! You’ll want the outside to be easily pierced with a fork. They’ll look something like this:
Once they’ve cooled for a few minutes, flip them over (carefully!) and behold their beautiful orange glory.
The flesh should be easy to scoop out of the skin with a spoon. If it’s not tender enough, don’t fret: flip them back over and bake them a bit longer.
Put the squash into a bowl once you remove it from the skin, and then mash. I prefer to use a small hand mixer to do this, but if you want those awesome forearm gains feel free to use a fork. 😉
If you want a richer flavor, feel free to add butter. Taste and add additional seasonings if needed, too!
And there you have it, simple as can be. This is an excellent low-calorie, nutritious side dish that you’ll be proud to put on your table.
- 1-2 butternut squash
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped, to taste (about 1/8 cup)
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut squash in half (long-ways) and use spoon to remove seeds and stringy pulp.
- Spray generously with cooking spray and season with salt, pepper, and parsley.
- Place flesh-side down on a cooking sheet and bake 45 minutes to an hour until outside of squash is easily pierced with a fork.
- Let rest until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
- Use a hand mixer (or fork) to mash squash. If desired, add butter and additional seasonings.
- Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs and serve.
Let me know if you try this out! It’s my favorite way to prepare this squash, and I think you’ll love it too.