We’re presenting the beloved butternut squash this week for plant-based Monday! Hands up if this is one of your favorite winter squashes? It’s so versatile, simple to make, and not to mention, totally delicious.
Butternut squash is full of important phytonutrients that fall within the carotenoid family. Carotenoids are red/orange fruits and veggies (think carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, oranges, etc.) that are a fantastic source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and other antioxidants to keep you healthy throughout that flu season. Carotenoids have anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions. Butternut squash is also a good source of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, manganese.
Butternut squash belongs to the winter squash family. Winter squash is a group of hearty vegetables that keep well through the cold months. They include pumpkins, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, kabocha squash, and many other varieties. Butternut squash is usually a beige colored gourd with a similar taste to sweet potato or pumpkin. It brings a natural sweetness to dishes without added sugars or sweeteners. It has a unique bell-shape, making it easily identifiable.
When shopping for this colorful gourd, find one without cuts or bruises to the skin. Whole butternut squash can be kept for weeks or even months if stored in a cool, dry place. To prep these guys, cut off the ends and separate into chunks to make it easier to handle. Once cut, remove the guts with a spoon, but make sure to keep those seeds to roast up and toss into oatmeals and salads!
Way back in the 17th century, Traditional Chinese Medicine used butternut squash and other winter squash for medicinal purposes. It was thought to be a warming agent that aided digestion, improved energy in the pancreas, and alleviated pain. Today, butternut squash can support our health in combination with a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and proteins.We love cooking butternut squash, storing in the fridge, and using for smoothies throughout the week!
Our fave butternut squash recipes are:
- Butternut Squash Immune Boosting Smoothie
- Lentil Meatballs w/ Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce
- Butternut Squash Arugula Pita Pizza
- Thyme Butternut Squash Soup
We want to know your favorite uses for butternut squash! What creative recipes do you have? Let us know below!