Let’s learn how to cook butternut squash and what essential ingredients you need to make a delicious butternut squash recipe! If you’re a beginner or a pro, this cooking guide helps you a lot!
Well, if you’re already a pro, then you will look up this guide to check whether we have stated any recipe formulas, and you can check other essential information about butternut squash.
Butternut squash’s nutty and sweet flavor is delicious in both savory and sweet recipes. You can roast butternut, caramelize it in different flavors, or pressure cook it when you’re short of time.
What is Butternut Squash?
If you’ve heard about winter squashes, butternut squash is one of those novelty drinks! It also offers an ideal Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium supply. This fruit comes with a nutty flavor, which is almost similar to the taste of pumpkin, and that’s why sometimes it’s also mistaken as a pumpkin. And farmers usually cultivate butternut on a vine, another distinctive feature.
It has an orange fleshy pulp with tan-yellow skin and a division of seeds that bloom in the end. Moreover, you can store it for two to three months if prepared well. Since it’s a winter squash, it’s generally harvested in the fall season, yet it’s available all year round.
Moreover, the nutritional content of butternut squash is advantageous for blood pressure, digestion, and healthy hair and skin, among others. It can be roasted or cubed to serve as a side dish or can be added to a leafy green salad.
After making puree, it can also be used in soups, baked into bread, or to top or fill the pasta. While baking, you may also notice it over cakes, bread, or muffins.
Different Names of Butternut Squash
Yes, butternut squash is known by different names. Winter squash is one of its best recognition names. Then, you will find it with different names as per different regions. For instance, it is called butternut pumpkin or gramma in New Zealand and Australia.
Merits & Demerits Of Butternut Squash
Let’s first learn about the health benefits of butternut squash before learning how to cook butternut squash!
Health Benefits Of Butternut Squash
1 – Good source of hydration
One serving of butternut squash is roughly 87% water, which will keep you at an ideal dosage of hydration.
2 – Great for eyes
Butternut squash has zeaxanthin and lutein, often found in vegetables, yellow fruits, and eggs. Since they are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A content, it’s great to protect your eyes from UV rays too!
3 – Boosts immunity power
Like other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, butternut squash contains alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Your expert body mechanism transforms these pigments into Vitamin A, a necessary vitamin to strengthen your immunity.
Drawbacks Of Butternut Squash
A. Rich in potassium
Although butternut squash is a healthy pick, it contains high potassium content, too, which makes it a little infeasible when your potassium levels are imbalanced as it shouldn’t be too high in one’s body.
B. It may not be ideal for kidney patients
People with kidney problems should take care when consuming potassium in large quantities. Since it’s a potassium-packed fruit, your kidney may be unable to remove excess of it, especially when you’re already suffering from kidney disease.
Pumpkin Vs. Butternut Squash: Are They Similar?
Although it’s called butternut pumpkin, there is still a clear line of difference between a pumpkin and butternut squash.
Pumpkin helps strengthen the immune system and is rich in vitamins A, C, and potassium. It also helps your muscles function smoothly. Pumpkin is also rich in Vitamin B6, which is fantastic for forming neurotransmitters, nutrient metabolism, and magnesium and improves nerves and muscle function.
Butternut squash’s role?
Like pumpkin, butternut squash is rich in vitamins A and C and contains iron. It is also a good source of potassium, Vitamin E, and magnesium. And it has a high content of complex carbs and calories along with twice the amount of dietary fiber compared to pumpkin.
More fiber means good gut health and controlled blood sugar levels.
Differences in texture, flavor, and cost
Butternut squash has more flavorful properties than pumpkin while it’s being cooked. For instance, you will find it sweeter, better caramelized, and nicely roasted than a pumpkin.
On the contrary, pumpkin has an earthy taste that needs to be combined with rich flavors like bacon, truffle, or even chocolate. However, pumpkin is better mixed with beverages like lattes or smoothies than butternut squash.
Now, butternut squash is less stringy in terms of texture than a pumpkin. We’ve described it better in the section on how to cook butternut squash. In contrast, pumpkin is a more budget-friendly option than butternut squash, and its seeds are also delicious and edible when roasted in the oven.
How to Pick a Good Butternut Squash?
As we all know, butternut squash plays a significant role in crisp autumn to compliment your soups, sauces, and stews. And, you don’t want to ruin all this experience by picking up the wrong butternut squash that won’t meet the standards of perfection!
1 – Check the skin color
Examining the skin or peel color of butternut squash could be your primary analysis factor in determining whether it’s a good choice or not. So, the color should be dark beige, and deeper in hue. In contrast, a partially ripened butternut squash indicates green streaks or spots. However, buying one with pale spots is okay, as they are right!
2 – Check the weight
Consider picking up the butternut squash in your hand to analyze its weight. A fully ripened butternut squash should be heavy and hard in its weight. To get an idea of average weight, you can also pick up other butternut squashes lying there.
The butternut squash is not ripened enough if it’s too lightweight. You can also check it with a knocking test; if it sounds hollow, it’s best to go with it!
3 – Inspect the stem
You can say that the stem is another major contributor to knowing about the overall health of your butternut squash. It’s ideal to go with a firm and intact stem as it will help keep your butternut squash longer than the butternut squashes with either missing stems or lightweight stems.
4 – Stay away from blemishes
You need to avoid butternut squashes with soft spots or severe cuts. These are the signs that your butternut squash will get rotten or mold. However, the squash is probably delicate if there are light surface scratches or blemishes over its outer shell.
5 – Check the skin texture too!
Perfect butternut squash should not be waxy or shiny as if it comes straight from a salon. Besides, you should always go for a natural look, a matte finish in a color that surfaced evenly across the squash.
You can also check the thickness of the outer peel by pricking its surface a little using your fingernail. It should be a hard exterior, and your fingernail must not pass easily.
So, that’s all you need to know about picking butternut squash before knowing how to cook butternut squash. Let’s now transition to some more essential info on how to cut butternut squash, as they could be your go-to guides while knowing how to prepare butternut squash.
How do Cut or Peel Butternut Squash?
Below are the serial steps to seed, peel, and chop butternut squash.
Step 1: Sever the stem and bottom ends of the butternut squash. Just make it look flat on both ends!
Step 2: Preferably, you can use a vegetable peeler simply to know how to peel butternut squash.
Note that peeling a butternut squash could be hard sometimes! One way you can peel is to cut your squash into smaller segments. And another way you can do this is to peel the entire butternut squash before you cut it in half, either vertically or horizontally.
Step 3: Take a metal spoon and scoop all the seeds out after you remove all the skin from the squash. Well, it’s up to you to discard the seeds or keep them up for roasting.
Step 4: Now, chop the squash into wedges, slices, or cubes.
So, these steps can help you better understand how to cut butternut squash and peel butternut squash.
How to Prepare Butternut Squash?
Now, it’s time to finally know how to cook butternut squash and check out different ways on how well we can prepare it! Note that some butternut squash cooking methods don’t even require peeling beforehand.
How To Cook Butternut Squash With Roasting Method?
Roasting is one of the usual methods of cooking butternut squash. Cooking can be done in an oven, where time varies from 25 minutes to 1 hour. Take it with or without the skin to cook in an oven. You can roast it by cutting it in half vertically or having its 1-inch small cubes chopped.
Flavor it with salt and black pepper, then slather it with olive oil. Adding extra veggies like onions, sprouts, or potatoes is optional. Moreover, you can sprinkle brown sugar, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, or drizzle maple syrup over it.
How To Cook Butternut Squash With Steaming?
Other famous methods to cook butternut squash are sauteing and steaming. Both methods work great, especially when you seed, cube, and peel butternut squash.
Best Three Butternut Squash Recipes
1 – Stuffed Butternut Squash
- One vegetable stock cube
- 150g pearl barley
- 25g flaked almonds
- 25g pine nuts
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil with a drizzle
- One large butternut squash
- One finely chopped red onion
- 200g crumbled feta cheese
- One finely chopped leek
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- Few rosemary springs
- Small bunch of sage
- One zested lemon
- 50g dried apricots or cranberries
Ingredients for the tahini sauce
- 1 juiced lemon
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp honey
- Small bunch of chopped parsley
1: Take pearl barley and cook it following the instructions written in the pack. For extra flavor, boil the crumbled stock cubes, drain and set aside to let them cool down.
2: Meanwhile, toast the almonds and pine nuts in a dry pan until nutty brown. You can use the same dry pan to toast the coriander and fennel seeds until they spread a sweet aroma. Then, grind all these spices in a mixer.
3: Cut the squash halfway and scoop out its seeds. You may need to use a scraper to create a center between the squash for stuffing. Firstly, you need to score the flesh with a knife just in case it’s firm.
Then, use the criss-cross pattern to score the flesh out of the two cut squashes. Try not to pierce the skin; rub it, and season well with 1 tbsp oil.
4: Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Now, take a pan and heat 2 tbsp oil to cook onion, leek, and chopped squash for at least 8-10 minutes until soft. Stir with garlic and cook for another minute.
The next step is to add nuts, pearl barley, spices, feta, dried fruit, herbs, and lemon zest. Season well and cook for more than 2 minutes at least. Pour this filling into cavities of 2 half squashes. Tie these two half squashes with a kitchen string tightly. Make sure to rub the outer portion of the squash a little and wrap it well in foil afterward.
5: Place it in a roasting tin lined with parchment or oil and cook for about 1 hour. To check if the squash is cooked properly, insert the knife or little stick within, and it should come out clean. After it’s cooked, mix the lemon juice, tahini, honey, and a drizzle of water to make a dressing over it.
Cut the squash into slices and serve hot with tahini sauce spread well with parsley.
2 – Pineapple Curry & Thai Squash
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- 4 tsp red Thai curry paste
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 14 fl oz reduced-fat coconut milk
- Medium butternut squash
- 237g pineapple chunks in drained natural juice
- 140g frozen green beans
- Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
Step 1: Take a pan and heat oil to fry onions until soft. Then, add red curry paste, and stir it. Now, add the squash, vegetable stock, and coconut milk. Simmer them for about 15 minutes until the squash gets soft. And tip in the green beans after 10 mins of cooking.
Step 2: Stir in the coriander seeds and pineapple to cook for a few minutes. Serve this curry hot in bowls with rice or noodles and garnish with coriander leaves on the top.
3 – Spinach Lasagne & Caramelized Squash
- 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A handful of sage leaves
- 12-15 lasagne sheets
- 600g fresh spinach
- 40g pine nuts
- 125g ball of mozzarella
Ingredients for the white sauce
- 70g flour
- 70g butter
- 800ml milk
- Granting with nutmegs
- 250g mascarpone
- 50g parmesan, grated
1: Heat the oven to about 180C. Then, tip the garlic and squash into a dish or roasting tin, take 4-5 sage leaves, season well, and drizzle with the oil. Move the squash around almost twice while roasting for about 40-50 minutes, and let it be until it is caramelized and soft. Mash the peeled garlic and squash together while leaving some texture with chunky bits.
2: Prepare the white sauce meanwhile. Take a saucepan, melt a large cube of butter, and add the flour to stir till a sandy paste. Stir continuously to avoid lumps and splash little milk as well in between. Keep adding milk in little quantities while the paste gives you a smooth, creamy texture.
Simmer for one more minute. Stir in half the parmesan and mascarpone. Grate some nutmeg for garnishing and season well.
3: Grind the spinach into a mixture. Make sure to do this grinding in small batches while adding water throughout. After it’s done, squeeze it to remove the water and chop it well for seasoning.
4: Take half the crushed garlic and squash from the roasting tin onto a plate. And spread the remaining batter over the base of the roasting tin to serve in the lasagne.
Ladle over around a quarter of the sauce, and create a single layer of lasagne sheets while snapping them to fill excess gaps. Then, layer up beautifully with pasta, spinach, a quarter spoonful of sauce, more pasta, and finally, the remaining white sauce.
5: Scatter the remaining mozzarella, parmesan, and pine nuts. Heat the oven to 180C if it’s already off, and cook the lasagne for about 30 minutes. Take 4-5 sage leaves, rub them with extra oil, and let them sit on top of the lasagne.
Return to the oven to cook for another 15-20 minutes until it spreads bubbles and shows golden. And it’s ready to serve afterward!
So, that’s a wrap on how to cook butternut squash while giving you its basic information right from the health benefits of butternut squash, how to pick up the right one, to knowing the best three butternut squash recipes. For more info, it’s ideal to explore the FAQs section below too!
Q. Before cooking butternut squash, is it necessary to peel it?
Ans. Yes, it’s good that you peel butternut squash before having it in the oven. Explore the concerned section above to know how to peel butternut squash.
Q. What is the best cooking method for squash?
Ans. Most commonly, there are two cooking methods for squash. So, you can cook it either via roasting or steaming.
Q. What do you eat butternut squash with?
Ans. It goes well with various spices and herbs, as mentioned in the recipes above. Also, it’s good to savor with bacon, chicken, maple syrup, ham, turkey, pasta, nuts, eggs, rice, and sausage.
Q. Is butternut good for weight loss?
Ans. Butternut squash is loaded with fiber and low in calories, making it a healthier choice for your weight loss diet plan.
Q. Does butternut squash make you gassy?
Ans. Well, it depends upon how much you consume butternut squash. Increasing the consumption of dietary fiber with foods like winter squash can cause digestive issues like diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal cramps.