It’s a fruit! It’s a vegetable! It’s a gourd! No, it’s butternut squash! The ingredient combination of this dish might surprise you, but rest assured this dish is a total WINNER! This plant based powerhouse fits a Vegan, Anti-Candida, Paleo and Gluten-Diet. Choked full of nutrients, this will be your new favorite “go-to” dish!
Underneath its tough, creamy pale exterior, butternut squash opens up to firm, vibrant orangey flesh with a small hollow space filled with seeds and stringy looking stuff. (That’s very scientific-sounding, I know). Think pumpkin-meets-cantaloupe. What’s interesting, is that butternut squash, along with pumpkins and cantaloupes, are members of the same family: Cucurbitaceae. Don’t worry. I tried to pronounce it too and then just gave up. Other members in this very edible family include watermelon, acorn squash, and zucchini. And if we’re gonna get real technical, butternut squash is also a fruit, due to its seeds.
Ripening during the fall and early winter, this orange marvel can be used in a variety of ways. Bake it, purée it, make it into soup, let your creativity soar. Providing us with a ton of vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, and more cancer-preventing nutrients, you can’t go wrong with this squash. It’s also very high in fiber and low in calories, making this a signature component to any dieter looking to cut back on high-calorie, high-fat foods.
Let’s take a closer look at one group of nutrients found in butternut squash: carotenoids. This group includes beta-carotene, also found in carrots, and alpha-carotene, also found in tomatoes. These powerful antioxidants have been linked to preventing cancer and arthritis, they absorb some negative and dangerous light frequencies (giving your eyesight a nice boost) and help protect skin from sun damage. Carotenoids also absorb into the body more efficiently when accompanied by a source of fat. In this recipe, olive oil swoops in to save the day, and provides a healthy fat to digest butternut squash in the most meaningful way to your body. Aww….they’re so perfect for each other they should get a room.
Don’t know how to cut a butternut squash? We’ve got your covered:
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- 1 medium to large butternut squash about 4 cups when chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt divided
- 1/2 cup red onion small dice
- 2 scallions (green and white parts) minced
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup pitted black olives sliced (optional)
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro minced
- 1 Tablespoon rice or apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch black pepper
- 4 cups organic arugula*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and cube the butternut squash into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.** Try to make the pieces around the same size for even cooking. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and use your hands to combine with squash. Pour onto a baking sheet and spread the butternut squash around to avoid crowding the pieces together. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until piercable with a fork. Stir the squash on the baking sheet half way through cooking.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add red onion and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and sauté for a few minutes. As onion begins to turn translucent, add minced scallions and cook for 30 more seconds. Pour sautéed onions and scallions into large mixing bowl along with slivered almonds, black olives, sun dried tomatoes, and cilantro. When the butternut squash has finished cooking, add to the large mixing bowl as well.
Finally, add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, and black pepper to the mixing bowl and gently stir.
Serve warm over a bed of arugula.
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