Butternut squash is one of the most nutrient-dense, delicious vegetables in existence. It’s grown in the summer and harvested in the fall, much like any other gourd. It’s packed with vitamin A, potassium, and fiber making it beneficial for digestion and healthy skin and hair.
Butternut squash has a bit of a sweeter flavor to spice up your dishes or meals. I’d compare it to a sweet potato, but less calorically dense. One cup of butternut squash yields 82 calories, 2g protein, 20g of carbohydrates, 7g of fiber, and negligible fat. It’s an ideal carb source swap for sweet potatoes and it’s meal prep-friendly! In addition, it has a long shelf life, so no need to worry about it rotting before you get a chance to eat it.
Yes, it has a hard shell that needs to be peeled. Yes, you do have to work to actually eat the vegetable, but believe me when I say it is so worth it.
There are 3 methods that you can use to cook your butternut squash—in the frying pan, in the oven, or in the airfryer. Either method you will have to follow step 1 first.
Step 1: Peel the squash. You can use a potato peeler or knife. I usually start by cutting off both ends of the squash and cutting it into 2 pieces, right where the bulb starts. This is the most time-consuming part. After it’s peeled, deseed the bulbed part with a spoon. Cut the flesh up into cubes. You can and should cut the whole thing up regardless if you’re going to cook it all immediately. It will stay fresh in a refrigerated container for up to a week.
Spices that go well with butternut squash: minced onion, minced garlic, garlic powder and salt, onion powder and salt, parsley, chives, everything but the bagel seasoning, vegeta, hemp hearts, black pepper, pink hymalayan salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
Method 1: In a Frying Pan
In a non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat, add chopped butternut squash. Coat with zero-calorie olive oil cooking spray. Let brown for 4-5 minutes before adding ½ cup of water to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium. Let simmer for 5 more minutes until soft. Drain the excess water. Add spices of your choice.
Method 2: In the Oven
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with zero-calorie olive oil cooking spray and add butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil or cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired spices. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until squash is lightly browned and tender.
Method 3: In an Airfryer
Line an air fryer basket with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with zero-calorie olive oil cooking spray. Add butternut squash to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil or cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired spices. Mix well. Add mixture to the airfryer and cook on 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crispy and cooked all the way through.
Keep in mind that cooking times will vary on the size of the squash pieces you cut and how fresh the squash is.
Use the squash as a side to your chicken breast or a topping on your bowl of fresh greens. The opportunities are endless.