Last week, I had a fun cooking date with fellow dietitian Sarah! Sarah and I have been friends for years, and she does similar work/also works for herself, so I reached out to her a couple months ago about doing some cooking/recipe testing together. I thought it might be a fun way to mix things up and to get my creative juices flowing, because I always feel more inspired when I have someone to collaborate with (#extrovert)! Luckily she was into the idea! We debated how to organize our cooking sessions, and decided for now we would start with a seasonal ingredient and try out some different recipes using it. Our first pick was butternut squash! If you aren’t sure what to do with butternut squash, or if you just find yourself making similar recipes all the time and want to mix it up, here are some ideas for how to use butternut squash. Let me know which ones you try!
1) Butternut squash biscotti! Do you guys remember a few years ago when I was on a biscotti kick and came up with recipes for Pumpkin Goji Biscotti and Wild Blueberry Biscotti? Well, we came up with a butternut squash variation!
(Sidenote – that’s Sarah’s gorgeous pottery pictured above, which is available for purchase!)
We made the biscotti a bit too thick (we were testing out two loaves and had them on the same pan, but should have given them their own pans to spread them out vertically), but it was still delicious. To try it yourself, use my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Goji Biscotti recipe, but make the following changes:
- Swap 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour out for almond flour (or you can use all WW pastry flour – either way works!)
- Use butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin
- Use 2 eggs instead of the egg + whites combo noted
- Instead of goji berries, add 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Getting a butternut squash puree for the recipe requires roasting + pureeing the butternut squash flesh – Google can help you out with how to do that, or you can always just use canned if you just want to try this recipe and not the others. We left the skin on the roasted squash, even when blending it up, and it worked out just fine! Extra fiber. 🙂
We also made another biscotti variation for you chocolate fans… here’s the recipe on Sarah’s blog: almond chip butternut biscotti!
2) Butternut squash + chicken sage meatballs. The trick here is you use grated butternut squash in place of breadcrumbs! I was excited to freeze a bunch of these to have on hand for when I need something fast and easy for Riese (or us) to eat.
We used this recipe for butternut squash + beef meatballs as our base, but tweaked the following:
- Used ground chicken instead of beef (either would work, though – and so would ground turkey)
- Used 1/2 tsp fresh chopped sage instead of the noted herbs (so no rosemary, thyme, oregano, or basil)
- Baked the meatballs straight for 35 minutes (without adding any sauce)
We also didn’t bother removing the skin of the butternut squash before grating it. We wanted to see if this would work (because, lazy), and, good news – it did! So you can skin the squash or not – up to you.
The meatballs came out so delicious! The butternut squash made them really moist. I bet it would work pretty well with pureed butternut squash, too…
Sarah threw together a sauce for the meatballs (rather than using marinara per the recipe) and it was really good – I could have eaten it with a spoon! If you want to try it, here’s the throw together recipe – just blend it all together, then heat until warmed through:
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 & 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Mmmm. Matt loved them, too – we ate some atop noodles and with wilted spinach for dinner that night.
Here’s a fun behind the scenes shot of our photo shoot set up. 🙂
3) Roasted butternut squash seeds. After using the butternut squash flesh, we didn’t just want to toss the seeds! Roasted seeds are such a yummy snack to have on hand, and so easy to make! We drizzled them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted at 300 degrees F for about 20 minutes (keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn). You may want to stir them halfway through!
Hot tip: to separate the seeds from any remaining flesh, put both in a bowl of water and gently stir/massage it a bit. The seeds will float, the flesh will sink!
So there you have it! Three ways to use butternut squash. I figured it would be fun to round these up together vs. doing a standalone fancy recipe blog post, especially since we did riffs on recipes that already exist. Let me know if you try any of these ideas!
What’s your favorite way to use butternut squash?
What food would you like to see us highlight/feature in our next cooking session? We are meeting next week and doing walnuts, but after that are open to ideas!