Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is one of my very favorite Fall veggies. It’s called a “winter squash” not because it grows in the winter, but because it stores so well over winter. When butternut squash is picked, it’s left to cure for several days (even weeks) to help store over the winter months. If cured and stored properly at room temperature, it can store for several months. One of the many reasons I love it! I stock up when they are first in season and they last me all winter long.

Nutritional benefits: Butternut squash is an incredibly nutrient dense food (one of the most nutrient dense of all fall/winter veggies) earning the well-deserved title of “superfood”. It’s incredibly high in Vitamin A and beta carotene, Vitamin C, fiber and contains more potassium than bananas! It’s packed with antioxidants which helps boost your immune system and makes it a cancer fighting food. It’s full of all the vitamins and minerals your body needs as you head into cold and flu season. Bonus- the seeds are good for you too! Save the seeds and toast them up with some EVOO and salt as they are packed with healthy omega fatty acids and protein!

Another reason I love butternut squash is that it is more nutrient dense than pumpkin. In fact, I use it in place of pumpkin in most recipes I make during the fall/winter. My husband is not a huge fan of any kind of squash so I find myself sneaking it into pancakes, soups, breads and muffins and more! It’s like a challenge- how much can I sneak in before my hubby knows it πŸ™‚

Side note: I am a huge proponent of buying things organically, but butternut squash is a veggie I will buy conventional if organic isn’t an option. It’s not on the dirty dozen list, very thick skinned and the peel isn’t something you eat. So if you can’t find it organic (although try!), don’t sweat it!

German Butternut Squash Soup

The recipe! This is one of my very favorite recipes that is adapted from my husband’s cousin in Germany. It’s so good for you and incredibly filling. If you use veggie stock and leave out the cream, it’s easy to make it vegan and it’s naturally gluten free! Start by pre-heating your oven to 350ΒΊF.

Peeling the butternut squash can be a bit of a work-out and a great way to get out any pent up stress πŸ™‚ Once you have it peeled, cube it up. The seeds are stored in the bottom round of the squash. I just cut around them so I don’t have to bother scooping them out at all. If you wish to save the seeds and toast them, this is an easy way to separate them for when you’re ready to cook them.

Cube up the rest of your veggies and fruit to approximately the same size. I tend to leave the skin on the apple and the potato and carrots, too, if they are thin-skinned. I use organic yukon golds and the skin is so thin there is no sense in taking the time to peel them AND waste all the nutrition in the skins. I put them on a bar pan sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper, sprinkle with dried parsley and toss to coat.

Roast your veggies until they are caramelized and fork tender (approximately 35-45 minutes). Remove veggies from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Place roasted veggies inside a blender (pouring all oil left on the baking pan inside the blender as well). Puree roasted veggies in the blender and add stock until you reach your desired consistency. The soup can be thick or thin- it’s just your preference. At this point you can add cream, but you’ll be surprised by how creamy it is even without adding cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds for some good crunch and texture, with greek yogurt for a little zing and cream, and with some fried Brussels sprout leaves (or entire halves) for an extra flavor boost that just puts it over the top! This is a very filling soup and just warms you up on a cold, crisp fall day. I hope you enjoy!

Click on recipe to download