How Do You Eat THAT Vegetable? Butternut Squash.

Squash up some butternut squashVegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.

Okay. We’re back on the vegetable trail.  Have you tried rutabaga yet? Artichoke? Kohlrabi? Jicama?  If not, you ARE missing out!  Today’s featured vegetable, butternut squash, should be one of your favorites.  Why?

1.  It’s long-lasting , edible interior décor AND does not require a face.  While pumpkins are great for edible, fall interior décor too, those with young kids know that all orange orbs require faces.  (Halloween is over.  That’s not a Jack-O’ Lantern.  That’s a Pilgrim now.  See the arms?)pumpkin

2.  Sweet potato . . . sweet potato . . . where are you?  Drat.  I’m out of sweet potatoes.  Where’s a pumpkin?  I’ll substitute with pumpkin.  Pump-kin . . . pump-kin . . . where are you?  Oh.  No pumpkin either, canned or otherwise.  Well, shoot.  What’s left to substitute?  I AM making this recipe today. . .

Aha!  Butternut squash.  Butternut squash can often be substituted for pumpkin and sweet potato in pies, casseroles, and soups.  Great for poor planners.  (No.  That’s self-deprecating.  Let’s practice re-phrasing and positivity to help reduce stress levels which lead to chronic disease.)  Great for busy moms who prefer to spend time with their kids–rather than shop with them.

3.  “National” pride:  Apples originated from Asia.  Potatoes from South America.  Brussels from Europe.  What about North America?  Don’t we have any yummy, native vegetables and fruits to call our own?  Yep!  Squash.  (I use that tid-bit factoid to get my kids to eat it, along with the miraculous story of how the Native Americans graciously taught the immigrant Europeans how to grow and prepare it.)

Do not be intimidated by squash.  Butternut, acorn, pumpkin, and delicata squashes are usually interchangeable.  Spaghetti squash is NOT interchangeable.  And yellow, summer squash is NOT interchangeable.  Let’s make sure we are on the same page here.   Here is a pile of butternut squash:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2


We eat a lot of hard squashes in our house, particularly butternut and pumpkin, but here is a no-frills recipe which is simple and gets the following remark:  “What is this?  Sweet potato?  Tastes like sweet potato casserole.”  The hardest part of working with hard, winter squashes is cutting them.

  • Get out your biggest butcher knife to cut that thing in half!
  • Then, lay a half on its flat surface and start cutting it into half-rings.
  • Cut the half-rings into wedges–like you would a pineapple!
  • Use a smaller knife to then slice off the peel left on one side of the wedge.


Butternut Squash Up

What you’ll need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil but olive oil or melted butter would be great, too)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
2.  Cut your squash if you haven’t already.
3.  Place the chunks into a casserole dish.  (You don’t want it to really fill the dish by more than half.)
4.  In a smallish to medium-sized bowl, whisk together maple syrup, melted oil, and spices.  Pour over squash and give a quick stir to coat squash.
5.  Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.  (Baking time will vary based on your oven and on sizes of the squash pieces.)  Squash is finished baking when it is fork tender.
6.  You are not done!  Use a large fork or a hand-masher gadget to squish up the squash.  Then, give it a few good stirs.
7.  Transfer to a pretty serving dish and serve warm.

Family “gustar” report: 6/7 eaters liked this.  (We have company staying with us.)  My youngest eater took her mandatory bite. She used to be my best eater, but she is going through a picky time.  I also served this at a large family get-together, and it was well-received by my mom, dad, and sisters, a fussy, honest crowd.

You can see below the casserole dish I chose, the “wedges” of squash I described, and squashing it up (and why I suggest putting it in another serving dish).

photo 1 photo 2

Do you eat squash?  Which is your favorite?  How do you fix it?


Photo credit:  Wikipedia, public domain photo.   Butternut squash, cultivar variety of Cucurbita moschata, ripe fruits. Ukraine.  Photographer, George Chernilevsky.


21 thoughts on “How Do You Eat THAT Vegetable? Butternut Squash.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks, Pam! We’ve tried the breakfast “hot cereal.” I loved it. (I didn’t make it back to comment thus. Bad. Sorry. It has an updated comment now. 🙂 ) I have printed the soup to try also. We have a glut of butternut squash from my garden to use up this year. I have company, and I think they will love this soup. Happy November to you! ~~Terri

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    Sweet potatoes and squash are my key carb sources. (I don’t usually break foods down into nutrient types, but while nursing, I need carbs with every meal. So, carb source!) I try to vary up which squash I have every week. Usually I bake them and then later heat individual servings in some kind of fat, with salt. Simple but so tasty!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good Afternoon, Deborah! I’m nursing too. I was a bit worried about eating “this new way” and nursing. When I had nursed my other three, I lived and breathed processed carbs. But it has gone delightfully well, and I’m feeling great! That’s a good idea to bake up a squash and keep on hand. Which squash is your favorite? I really like acorn squash, although I think they’re all nice. Thanks for commenting!–Terri

  2. IrishMum

    We use a lot of butternut squash here, but usually I’m too lazy to cut it up, so I just cut it in half and roast it, sometimes I stuff it first. I love butternut squash soup, too.
    Love the Pilgrim!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’ll let the Pilgrim artist know you appreciate her work. I’d have to say that butternut squash soup is probably one of my favorites. But I managed to make it too often and my husband got tired of it. I’m very sad about that. Bummer, eh? Glad you dropped in. Hope you and your family are well! ~~Terri

  3. galacticexplorer

    Acorn squash is my favorite, but I enjoy butternut as well. I cube it, toss it in melted butter, nutmeg, and a little sugar, and then sprinkle some sugar on top to get a little crunchy. I then bake it on high heat to try to get it to where it starts browning a little. I bet your idea of the coconut oil would be delicious too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Ha! I think butter would be much better (than coconut oil)! Love butter! But we’re working past some dairy intolerances here. We’ll get butter back in, I’m thinking and hoping. 🙂 Thank you also for sharing!

      1. galacticexplorer

        If you want, you could try ghee. I don’t know if it has a similar buttery flavor or not, but it’s basically butter with all of the milk solids separated out so it’s lactose free. Just a thought if you’re craving some butter and want to try. Good luck!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Crazy–but some of us in our family still react to ghee too! It is supposed to be free of casein and milk proteins (in addition to the lactose) but a couple of us still get our “dairy” reactions. So some in my family can eat it and some can’t. Hey, that’s okay–I tell myself–olive oil and coconut oil are pretty tasty too! 🙂
        Happy Friday!

  4. Shannon

    I cut my Bnut squash a bit differently. I find it akward to try and cut it in half first so I lay it on its side and then cut the neck off right where the bulbous part starts. Bnut squash isn’t overly hard to cut that way. Then I stand it on its cut edge and start slicing the rind off from top to bottom…you could use a potato peeler also. Then I do the same with the bulb.

    Also though, you can actually eat the rind. Cut your bnut into chunks with the rind still on (preferably washed first), toss it in olive oil and with red onion chunks and roast it at 475 until soft. To ramp up the unbelievable goodness, follow the rest of this recipe:

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, man! That looks GREAT! Already picked up the ingredients to try it! I have family visiting, and I think this will be a hit! Thanks! Nice cutting tip, too. I look forward to trying that too! But I guess not with the recipe I’m set to try tomorrow, eh? I will leave a comment when I can after we try it. Thanks!

  5. primalparkgirl

    I always have plenty of squash of all kinds at this time of year as my mum grows them but my dad doesn’t like them, so I am given lots! 🙂

    One of my favourite ways to eat them is…raw. I chop them up into thin slices and then added to salad, they taste like a cross between a carrot and a peach and add some always needed (in my opinion) crunch.


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