It was two months ago that I saw butternut squash for the first time. I was at my farm share pick-up location and saw these beautifully bulbous gourds that screamed “make me into creamy orangey yellow soup!” and “roast me for salads!”
So I swapped some forgotten green for an extra squash and went home happy.
Until I became intimidated by the thick rind and the inevitable need to use a sharp object to cut it open (me and sharp objects do not go well together. See scars on left wrist and left shin). I have this tendency to find things that are pretty and versatile, but then freeze at the realization of just how versatile it is, and end up just looking at how pretty it is until it rots and has to be thrown away(Case in point: Halloween candy… although that’s not really versatile, but they are pretty colorful).
Just in time for Thanksgiving day meal plans, this dish turned out just about perfect. The squash was soft, yet firm, the spinach gave it nice flavor, the cranberries texture, and the garlic and herbs lent a wonderful savory feeling. If you are using two hefty-sized squashes, though, I would recommend adding more spinach and cranberries, as the squash cubes may overwhelm the other ingredients. However you like it, though. And the great thing is that this recipe is very easily tailored to your own tastes. Throw in some goat cheese or feta if you’d like. Perhaps some pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, roasted or not!
I ate a good four to six portions of this. I’m inspired. Versatile recipes will do that to even the greenest amateur cook. And I have two more butternut squashes with which to apply that inspiration. Join me!
What are your favorite uses and recipes for butternut squash?
Recipe: BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SPINACH AND CRANBERRIES
1 medium-sized butternut squash, cubed
1/2 lb. fresh spinach (frozen works, too)
as many dried cranberries as you’d like
EVOO, aka extra virgin olive oil
a handful of rosemary and thyme (optional)
1. Use a peeler to remove skin from the squash. (optional, but recommended).
2. Cut in quarters, then chunks.
3. Place on roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
4. Take out and toss into pot/wok with some chopped garlic on stovetop and saute for a few minutes, until it begins to soften. Add washed spinach and dried cranberries.
5. Continue to saute for another minute or two, until spinach has wilted/cooked.
6. Plate and serve.