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The 5 Butternut Squash Recipes You've Always Dreamed Of

by 
author image Maggie Moon, MS, RD
Maggie Moon, MS, RD is the best-selling author of The MIND Diet (2016), the owner of MINDDietMeals.com, and a writer for Livestrong.com. Her nutrition work has taken her across the country and around the world: from NYC public schools to U.S. commodity boards, from supermarkets to multibillion-dollar global companies. Ms. Moon’s unique career has been profiled in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ book, Launching Your Dietetics Career (Eat Right Press, 2011, 2016). She completed her clinical training at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, and holds a master of science degree in Nutrition and Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, with a bachelor of arts degree in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley. Her culinary school training is from The New School of Cooking in Los Angeles, CA. She lives in LA with her husband and a giant shelf of cookbooks. Learn more about her at www.maggiemoon.com, www.minddietmeals.com, and connect with her @minddietmeals on Instagram.
The 5 Butternut Squash Recipes You've Always Dreamed Of
Do yourself a favor and incorporate butternut squash into your fall recipe routine. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

Now that there's a chill in the air, you might have noticed butternut squash popping up in the grocery store and at your farmer's market. If you haven't cooked with the thick-skinned gourd before, don't worry — it’s easier to prep and cook than you might think. After putting a little muscle into cutting the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, it’s smooth sailing and totally worth it considering butternut squash has been reported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

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Butternut squash is incredibly versatile in the kitchen, and it’s mild flavor pairs beautifully with stronger flavors such as figs, turmeric, ginger and more. Check out these drool-worthy recipes that are sure to become your all-time favorite fall staples.

1. Plant-Protein Powered Butternut Mac & "Cheese"

This plant-based butternut squash mac and "cheese" will trick you into thinking you're indulging in a dairy-based dish.
This plant-based butternut squash mac and "cheese" will trick you into thinking you're indulging in a dairy-based dish. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

Unlocking the powers of umami, the fifth taste that signals savory, is the secret to this plant-based mac and cheese. Roasted garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and turmeric all do their part in “tricking” the taste buds into making you think you're eating cheese, while the orange color from the butternut squash and turmeric help trick the eye, too.

There are no tricks about adding black pepper to boost the absorption of the potent antioxidant curcumin (the bioactive component of turmeric) by 2000 times. The Banza macaroni used here has double the protein and four times the fiber of regular pasta, thanks to the power of chickpeas. The almond topping adds a satisfying protein-filled crunch while the parsley lends a lovely herbaceous flavor to the dish.

Recipe and Nutritional Info: Plant-Protein Powered Butternut Mac and “Cheese”

2. Butternut Squash, Balsamic, Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza

Make pizza night special by swapping in butternut squash sauce topped with arugula, goat cheese and figs for the regular mozzarella and red sauce.
Make pizza night special by swapping in butternut squash sauce topped with arugula, goat cheese and figs for the regular mozzarella and red sauce. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

This dish turns pizza night into a healthy affair. What will make this non-traditional pie your new go-to is the combination of naturally sweet figs and balsamic plus the bright notes of creamy goat cheese and peppery arugula. An earthy butternut squash sauce anchors each delicious slice with a secret ingredient: butter beans, which provide a plant-based protein bonus.

For safe handling of butternut squash, we recommend drying your hands, cutting board and squash from time to time to prevent slips and knife accidents. Don’t worry about perfectly chopping the squash given that the majority of it gets blended in this recipe.

Recipe and Nutritional Info: Butternut squash, Balsamic, Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

3. Fancy Butternut Squash Toast

Let yourself enjoy this fancy butternut squash and cashew crema toast at any time of day.
Let yourself enjoy this fancy butternut squash and cashew crema toast at any time of day. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

Whether it's for breakfast, lunch or dinner, ideally you’ll use last night’s butternut squash to top this toast. But if you don't have any leftovers, the good news is roasted squash is only 20 minutes away. There’s some Korean influence in this recipe with gochujang-spiced chickpeas, but if you don’t have any of the fermented red chili paste, you can sauté your chickpeas in chili powder or whatever hot sauce you have on hand.

Peeling squash is a snap when you have the right tool. We recommend the humble but indispensable Y-peeler. They typically only run a few dollars, or you can splurge on a top of the line Y-peeler like this $20 one from Kuhn Rikon (it's our favorite).

Recipe and Nutritional Info: Fancy Butternut Squash Toast

4. Creamy Vegan Curry-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Make an extra batch of this creamy vegan curry-ginger butternut squash soup and freeze for when you are feeling under the weather.
Make an extra batch of this creamy vegan curry-ginger butternut squash soup and freeze for when you are feeling under the weather. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

This soup is everything you want on a chilly day. Whether you're feeling great and would like to keep it that way, or you're under the weather, this one-pot meal is always a good idea (and it freezes well so you can always have a stash on hand). A cup of butternut squash has four times the daily recommended amount of antioxidant vitamin A. It also provides 80 percent of your daily recommended amount of immune-boosting vitamin C.

The soup is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients including curry powder, fresh ginger and red chili flakes. A dose of plant-based protein comes from heart-healthy cashews and calcium-rich silken tofu that melts into the soup. (Pro tip: Use olive oil to coat the squash and garlic before roasting — it helps protect it from burning.)

Recipe and Nutritional Info: Creamy Vegan Curry-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

5. Bejeweled Stuffed Butternut Squash

Presentation isn't the only thing this bejeweled stuffed butternut squash recipe has going for it— it's also rich in protein and fiber-rich whole grains.
Presentation isn't the only thing this bejeweled stuffed butternut squash recipe has going for it— it's also rich in protein and fiber-rich whole grains. Photo Credit: Maggie Moon/www.minddietmeals.com

This stuffed butternut squash is as pretty as it is delicious. It celebrates all the beautiful flavors of fall and winter, including hearty whole grains, potassium-rich dried mission figs and juicy pomegranate seeds. Make the filling a day ahead for a more intense flavor.

This dish features chickpeas, a plant-based protein, and fiber-rich whole grains, to keep you fuller, longer. Heartier and firmer grains like sorghum, quinoa, barley and farro work best for this kind of warm grain salad because they keep their texture and hold up well against flavorful dressings. And if you decide to cook the grains in a broth, opt for an unsalted one so you can control the sodium and taste.

Recipe and Nutritional Info: Bejeweled Stuffed Butternut Squash

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