Home Beauty recipe Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries – Osage County Online

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries – Osage County Online

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If you love recipes that fit your hearty, healthy, and delicious checklist, this is it. Featuring seasonal food superstars including butternut squash, apples and cranberries, your senses of sight, smell and taste will be pleasing to the palate.

There’s something about the seasonal flavors of fall and winter. To me, it’s similar to the feeling of a cozy, warm blanket wrapped around you on a chilly evening. Inviting, fragrant and savory, this healthy, comforting side dish is ideal for family gatherings.

Comfort foods and “nutrient dense” foods don’t usually go together. But in this recipe, each ingredient coexists with taste while providing various nutrients as a bonus.

Butternut Squash Basics

The headliner of this recipe is butternut squash. This winter squash has the shape of an elongated pear, is part of the Cucurbitaceae family. Squash dates back 10,000 years to its origins in Mexico and Central America. In fact, the word “squash” comes from the Native American word askutasquash, which means uncooked or eaten raw.

Not sure what butternut squash looks like? If you like the taste of sweet potatoes or carrots, you’ll also like butternut squash.

Health-wise, butternut squash is a winner. One cup contains over 100% of your daily vitamin A requirement and nearly 40% vitamin C. It’s also good for hydration, as one cup is about 87% water.

The star nutrients in butternut squash are vitamin A (a fat-soluble vitamin) and beta-carotene, a pigment found in plants. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant that protects your body from harmful molecules called free radicals. Over time, free radical damage can lead to many chronic diseases. Research has shown that eating antioxidant-rich foods helps boost immune function and may reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin A is well known for supporting good eye health, such as protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays. Vitamin A also protects the eyes from night blindness and age-related eye decline. Besides eye health, vitamin A also promotes healthy bones and a healthy immune system, and may reduce the risk of certain cancers and the risk of acne.

Let’s go to the recipe

Now that you know the health benefits of butternut squash, let’s talk about how to make this recipe.

If you prefer to use a substitute for butternut squash, I would recommend acorn squash or butternut squash. Buttercup squash, you may ask? Yes, there is such a thing. The main difference between butternut squash and butternut squash is that buttercup tends to be a bit drier and butternut squash is wetter. Both have a natural sweet and nutty flavor. However, butternut tastes a bit sweeter than buttercup.

If dried cranberries aren’t your favorite, consider using raisins or dried cherries or forget about them altogether.

Use apples intended for baking such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonathans, Winesap, Braeburn or Rome Beauty.

Baked Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries
For 4 people ; serving 1/2 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 cups apples, peeled and cored, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Peel and cut the squash and apples into bite-sized cubes.
  • Mix the squash and apple cubes, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and salt in a large bowl.
  • Mix ingredients to coat squash and apples until well blended.
  • Spread the mixture evenly on a metal baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Notes: Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or serve cold.

Nutrition per serving: Calories, 164; total fat, 4 grams; saturated fat, 2 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; carbohydrates, 30 grams; fiber, 5 grams; protein, 2 grams; sodium, 285 milligrams.


Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for local clinics, an assistant professor at a local community college where she teaches basic nutrition, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook. Visit his website at www.eatwelltobewellrd.com.