’Tis the season for the abundance of butternut squash—which is truly something to be thankful for! During this time of year, we are reminded of the ever-popular mashed yams or sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows. Roasting butternut squash is the perfect healthy alternative. Butternut squash is sweet enough on its own—no need to add the super-processed and chemical-filled marshmallows found in most grocery stores. This simple swap offers the body more potassium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than the traditional favorite. While this recipe highlights butternut squash, you can use any squash variety: acorn, delicata, kabocha, or pumpkin, to name just a few.
The beauty of this dish is the simplicity. Roasting butternut squash is easy enough for anyone to master and, with just a little extra effort, the addition of aromatic herbs and sea salt, the simple goodness of this roasted vegetable is elevated to something truly special. And there’s nothing like honoring the season and celebrating the outdoors with a hike in the woods or just a walk in a park followed by a seasonal meal. This recipe will warm you and fill you with the nutritional goodness your body craves during the cold months ahead.
Cilantro-Lime Butternut Squash
1 medium to large butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Approximately 1 handful lightly chopped fresh cilantro (more or less based on preference)
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Remove the skin and seeds from the squash, and dice into 1-inch cubes. Try to keep the pieces relatively even in size so that they cook evenly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, minced garlic, and black pepper.
- Add the diced squash to the bowl and toss everything together. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. If the tray is crowded, use two, which will allow for even cooking. Sprinkle sea salt over the squash.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check after 35—a toothpick or fork should easily go through the squash when it is ready.
- Remove from oven. Add lime juice and toss. Taste for salt, and add more if needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
- Garlic-Basil Roasted Butternut Squash. Not everyone likes cilantro—replacing it with fresh basil is a great alternative. Butternut squash and basil go very well together.
- Cilantro-Lime Butternut Squash Puree. After step 6, transfer everything into a food processor and blend, adding a little bit of water if needed to get things going. Serve with crackers or crostini.
- Maple-Rosemary Butternut Squash. Chop a few sprigs of fresh rosemary (or substitute about 1 tablespoon dry). Add to the bowl at step 3, along with 3 tablespoons of real maple syrup.
Dice the butternut squash into uniform pieces as best you can so that they cook evenly. (They don’t have to look perfect, but try for uniform thickness).
Herbs are often overlooked and overshadowed by fruits and vegetables when discussing the best sources of nutrition. In fact, they are essential to a healthy diet due to their abundance of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells and, over time, this damage can cause several chronic illnesses. Herbs high in antioxidants, like cilantro, are therefore critical to your overall long-term health and wellness.
Cilantro, specifically, contain the antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. In addition to fighting free radicals, these antioxidants fight against sight-related maladies. Beta-carotene, as a precursor to vitamin A, promotes low-light visibility, and lutein and zeaxanthin fight against macular degeneration and cataracts.
For more health information check out the Yoffie Life Food Encyclopedia page on butternut squash.
Butternut squash is incredibly versatile. It can be made spicy with a dash of cayenne and chili powder, autumnal with cinnamon and nutmeg, and even have an Asian flair if added to a stir-fry with tamari.