The wonderfully versatile and delicious Butternut Squash is in season from September until early December – so let’s embrace it!
Butternut squash is a brilliant source of Vitamin A and E, as well as being a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. But the truly wonderful thing about this veg is that it’s amongst the longest keeping vegetables, so it doesn’t matter if its the last thing in your kitchen to be used. And what I love about it, is that it’s pretty self-sufficient in that it doesn’t need a great deal with it to perk it up.
It took me a while to find out how best to cook squash, but I think I’ve found three great, simple and tasty ways to enjoy it! But first…
…How to Prepare a Butternut Squash
For the majority of recipes, you’ll need to peel the beige skin off, this is a fairly easy job with a speed peeler. Once this is done, slice off the stem and bottom ends of the squash, and slice in half lengthways. Then, using a spoon, scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds, and discard (we pop ours in the food recycling bin).
Three Ways to Cook a Squash
1. In Stews / Curries
One of my favourite ways of enjoying butternut squash is in this lentil dahl recipe by BBC Good Food. The sweetness of the squash balances perfectly with the spicy dahl and compliments the texture of the lentils. This method, as in most cases when used in curries or stews, sees the butternut squash being added raw and cooks until tender, with a good amount of stock and chopped tomatoes.
I like to add a butternut squash into a stew or curry to make it heartier without having to use potatoes. Squash also seems to freeze better than potatoes, holding its texture well.
2.Roasted with Herbs and Spices
For me, this is the easiest way to eat squash. I like to chop the veg into bite-sized squares (after peeling and discarding the seeds) and will then add to a roasting tray with a drizzle of olive oil. Squash can be a bit plain if roasted just with olive oil, so I like to add a bit of heat by sprinkling over a helping or two of paprika (I like to use smoked), ground cumin and a pinch of cayenne pepper. For added flavour, throw in a handful of dried herbs (thyme, oregano and rosemary), season with salt and pepper, and then roast for 40 to 45 minutes at 180 degrees C for fan assisted ovens.
Once cooked, the bite-sized chunks can be served with either cooked chicken or mackerel, a side of lentils and a rocket salad. This type of dish makes for a great slow-carb meal.
3. As a Soup
Of course, you can’t get more autumnal than a butternut squash soup. That’s why my third suggestion is this wonderful soup by Jamie Oliver. This recipe is super easy and incredibly delicious. What I love most about it is that it’s not too fancy and uses key herbs to add to the flavour of the squash. This ultimately helps to exaggerate the sweetness and nutty flavour of the squash. Even better though, you don’t need to spend time peeling your squash, bonus (just be sure to deseed)!
So hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas on how to enjoy a truly brilliant veg! I’d love to know which butternut squash recipes you enjoy – feel free to pop them in the comment boxes below!!