When fall comes around, pumpkin gets all the press, thanks mainly to Starbucks and their sugar laden, calorie infested Spice latte drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin, just not from a coffee shop spiked with enough sugar to kill an elf pulling a double shift in that North Pole sweatshop.
There are other winter squashes that are just as delicious, and incredibly versatile to boot. One such pumpkin is butternut squash. Yes, it’s a pumpkin…in New Zealand, that is even its name. Moreover, it’s technically a fruit, so that proves my point. It’s a squash, it’s a pumpkin, it’s a fruit. It is a multi-tasker to end all multi-taskers, and it’s more than willing to be a savory soup or casserole, or a sweet dessert.
We can also go wild and make it a savory casserole with sweet notes, making it taste like a combo side dish that also kinda feels like a dessert, all the while getting major health benefits. The list of health positive qualities of this fruit/veggie/pumpkin/squash are too numerous to list. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
One cup has over 450% of your daily dose of Vitamin A, so you can see your relatives coming way in advance of holiday gatherings. It’s also full of Vitamin C, to protect you from whatever crud said relatives and their snot-nosed brats are bringing with them. It also has Vitamin E, which fights against Alzheimer’s Disease, so you can quote back at them all the dumb things those same relatives said at the last get together.
Butternut squash also brings manganese to the party. That handy mineral builds bone tissue, and not having brittle bones is a very good thing indeed. The fiber in this dish alone is a big deal, it really helps fill you up and keep you from overeating.
I am also aware that none of that matters if it doesn’t taste good. If you are the type of person that makes up their mind before you try it that butternut squash is “yucky” and turns your nose up before the first bite, there’s nothing I can do for you. Go back to your store-bought pecan pie and frozen whipped “cream” and good luck with keeping your feet.
For those of you that aren’t afraid of eating something deemed healthy, you are in luck. We are roasting the squash before the casserole process, using a bit of grass fed butter and cinnamon. These things are hard not to snack on right out of the oven. The Swerve brown sugar and pecan topping add some sweetness and crunch.
This dish is good for holidays or just on a big Sunday meal beside a roast chicken instead of the usual mashed potatoes. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. Tell the kids it’s pumpkin if the name butternut squash scares them.
Perception dictates reality, after all, so use it to your advantage.
Butternut Squash Casserole
2 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tbsp grass fed butter, melted
1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Swerve brown sugar
1/4 cup grass fed heavy cream
2 cups pecans
1/4 cup Swerve brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsp butter, melted
Peel, seed, and dice the squash. Place in a large mixing bowl:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the salt, pepper, and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Drizzle on the melted butter and stir again. Place the squash on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. You might need two pans for this step. Roast for 20 minutes, stir and rotate the pans, and roast for 20 more minutes:
After the squash is done roasting and you have snuck one or three, place them in a bowl and roughly smash them with a hand held potato masher. Add the heavy cream and stir in:
Add the mashed squash to a casserole dish. Roughly chop 1/4 cup of the pecans. Blitz the rest in a small food processor until the nuts are crumbly and small, then pulse again with the swerve and spices. Mix in the melted butter and sprinkle on top of the mashed squash:
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and serve:
See the list of all Jason Murphy’s recipes at www.mysaline.com/jason-murphy.
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