Versatile Winter Squash
Maple Roasted Butternut squash is a delicious, but simple way to cook this versatile veggie, (although it is really a fruit). It can be grilled, pureed into soup, mashed, stuffed, used in breads and muffins or chilli or curries. But roasting is one of the easiest ways to prepare these beautiful orange squash.
So Many Squash!
Butternut squash is just one of many varieties of winter squash. I found this great pictorial of many of the commonest varieties, plus a couple of pretty weird ones. (My fave is the Peanut Pumpkin!) Check it out and make a goal to try a few of them: The Modern Farmer Guide To Winter Squash Varieties. And winter squash are wonder foods. They are inexpensive, versatile, and incredibly healthy for us. Most of them are high in in beta carotene and vitamins A and C, and minerals such as calcium and potassium, as well as fibre and folate.
Maple roasted butternut squash is a perfect side dish for a holiday meal, or just as great an everyday one. For our Canadian Thanksgiving, what could be more appropriate than a dash of maple syrup to roast them in? The maple syrup gives a lovely caramelized crust to chunks of butternut squash, and balsamic vinegar and rosemary balance the sweetness. I like to have these at Thanksgiving dinner as a change from sweet potatoes or yams. They aren't quite as heavy and rich, and they still add a festive pop of orange to your plate.
Thanksgiving and Christmas for us are so close together. So for each feast, I try to make things a little bit different. The traditional Turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and stuffing for one. And even if the star of the show is still turkey, I like to at least change the sides for the other.
This roasted squash is super easy and is ready in 20 minutes. The most time consuming part is peeling, seeding, and cutting up the squash, and you can do that part ahead of time. Whole squash can be stored in the pantry or on the counter top, but once you've prepped it, it should go into the fridge until you're ready to cook it.
For another yummy side dish idea, try Creamy Pureed Parsnips
How to Make Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash is a simple but delicious (and healthy) side dish.
- 1 large or 2 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400°
Toss squash cubes with olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and nutmeg. Spread in one layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through, until fork tender and squash has a golden crust. .
Butternut squash can come in a variety of sizes, from small to huge. Plan on about 1/2 lb of squash per serving.