Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Ever finish eating something and immediately want to eat it again?  That’s what happened with this roasted butternut squash with brown sugar and vanilla. I finished it, and wanted more! Sadly, it was the last of the squash and the last of the nuts.  However, squash is definitely on my shopping list for my next trip to the supermarket.

What made this recipe so good?  The vanilla and nuts almost made me feel as if I were eating a cookie or some sort of dessert rather than a vegetable.  It was sweet, without being cloying, as there’s very little sugar in it.  Topping it with a mixture of nuts and craisins (dried, sweetened cranberries) added a bit of crunch and a sweet/tart tang.

The original version of this recipe (which I found on the Neilsen-Massey web site), called for vanilla sugar. Since I didn’t have any and had no interest in going out and searching for some in the stores, I simply added a bit of vanilla to some brown sugar instead. As far as I’m concerned it worked perfectly, and I didn’t have to buy an extra ingredient. Win win!

The nuts I used were an unsalted mixture from Trader Joe’s with hazelnuts, cashews and pecans.  Use whatever mix you like, although I think I would skip something with peanuts. The craisins were an unintentional bonus.  I had a few leftover from making the turkey chipotle enchilada recipe from a couple of weeks ago, and had thrown them in the bag of nuts.  I forgot that when I mixed them into the topping, but it turned out to be a good “accident.”

So, while this may look like a vegetable, it’s definitely a dessert in a clever vegetable disguise! In fact, I’m half-tempted to put it in the dessert category instead of as a side dish. Serve it with a simple piece of roast chicken or a pork chop. I baked a chicken thigh with some olive oil, oregano, a bit of garlic, and salt and pepper.




Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t have mixed nuts?  Try just plain walnuts or pecans instead
  • Use maple syrup instead of brown sugar
  • Toast the nuts first
  • Buy some puff pastry and spoon the squash into it—voilà butternut squash tart!

More Butternut Squash Recipes

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Warm/spicy and sweet all at the same time. This soup is great for chilly days (or pantry cooking).

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Add sage and a touch of cream and you get a perfect pasta sauce. It’s rich, creamy and makes a nice change from the usual humdrum tomato sauce.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

A classic combination that’s great with a simple main dish, like roast chicken.

 

 




Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Nothing quite says fall like butternut squash. This butternut squash cream sauce recipe is great over pasta and makes a delicious change from the usual heavy cream or tomato sauces.  It’s got sweet butternut squash, savory/sweet roasted garlic, and creamy parmesan added just at the end.

First, roast the squash, and the garlic, then pop it in a saucepan with chopped onions and puree the whole thing.  A bit of cream and parmesan gives it a creamy, rich flavor.

I sometimes like to add a bit of bacon or pancetta crumbled on top for an extra bit of salty/savory deliciousness (and besides, bacon!).

I did try to make this as cleanup friendly as possible, but it’s a bit hopeless. There are a lot of pans involved! Luckily, since we’re only making enough for one person, they’re fairly small pans.

There are several pieces of kitchen equipment that are essential for this recipe. The first is good sharp sturdy knife.  It’s got to cut through that peel.  Next is a good peeler. Butternut squash can be hard to peel without one (although you can cheat if you want and get the pre-peeled, cut up cubes in a bag).  And, finally a stick blender (or a regular one, but the stick is easier) to puree the sauce.

I tend to cut off a chunk, peel it, and then cut that up into cubes. It’s easier that way.

I used my trusty small ceramic baking dish to cook the squash, but you can use the toaster oven tray if you like.




Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Try shallots instead of onions
  • Add some crumbled bacon or pancetta on top
  • Fry a few sage leaves in the butter and use them to garnish the sauce

More Butternut Squash Recipes

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

The perfect fall soup, flavored with squash, apple cider, and mild curry.  Mmmmmm good.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg this is a great autumn side dish. Serve with a simple piece of roast chicken.

 

Buttternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla butternut squash brown sugar vanilla

Sure, it looks like a side dish. I mean, squash is a vegetable, right? Nope. It’s dessert (it’s wearing a clever disguise…shhhh).

 

 




Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

There’s nothing better and more comforting than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends when squash are plentiful. I had quite a bit of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up.   I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, with a few tweaks.

First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings.  Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!).  I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe. This gives it more flavor than just plain apple juice.

One more note, I recommend that you use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the flavor of the squash and the apples). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly. If you can’t get the curry, try a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar.




Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Cuisinart  Immersion Hand Blender

cuisinart hand blenderThe original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot.

Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean.  The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too.  You just pop off the end and wash it.

 

Chief West Indian Curry Powder

Flavorful, but not too hot, this curry blend comes straight from Trinidad.  It works well with butternut squash, a quick chicken curry, or over some cauliflower or roasted potatoes.

Oxo Swivel Peeler

Butternut squash is notoriously hard to peel, but this gadget makes the job a snap. Using this peeler, peeling a squash is no harder than peeling a carrot.

The little hole in the pointed end is great for removing the eyes from potatoes, or taking out bruised spots from veggies.  Oxo was originally designed for people with arthritis, so the handle is soft, round, and easy to grip.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanilla

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

This is definitely a vegetable. Just look at it. It’s got squash right? Well, make it yourself, and close your eyes. You’ll swear it’s a dessert.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Use up the remaining squash from your soup and make this creamy, rich sauce. It’s both sweet and savory, and absolutely wonderful over pasta.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Warm cinnamon and sweet squash are a wonderful side dish for fall. Great with a a roast turkey or chicken.

 

 

 




Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Fall has finally arrived, and the temperature is dropping. It’s time to start thinking about butternut squash, apple crisp, and soups.  I found this recipe for roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash tucked into a cookbook. I’ve no idea where I got it from, but the combination of cinnamon, apple cider, nutmeg, butter, and squash is classic.

Cinnamon and nutmeg add both a bit of spice and sweetness, and the apple cider is both tart and sweet. It’s also apple cider season, so all the ingredients are at their peak now.

Butternut squash are notoriously hard to peel, unless you have an Oxo peeler, which makes this chore much easier.  Or, you can buy the pre-peeled squash.

The rest is just cutting up the squash (use a big, sharp knife), adding the spices, butter, and cider, and baking it in the toaster oven.




Substitutions and Variations for Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

  • Add some chopped pecans or walnuts after 15 minutes of baking
  • Make it savory: replace the butter with chicken stock, skip the cinnamon and nutmeg, and use curry instead.
  • Bump up the sweetness with honey or maple syrup

Tools and Ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash

Oxo Swivel Peeler

This peeler cuts through butternut squash skin with virtually no effort. It’s no harder than peeling a cucumber. I’ve had mine for years and it still works flawlessly. There’s even a little scoop at the end for de-eyeing potatoes or removing bruised spots. The handle is comfy and easy to hold. It works on apples, squash, cucumber, carrots, and hasn’t needed any extra care or sharpening. I did add a dab of red nail polish at the end to make it easier to find in my utensil holder.

HIC Small Porcelain Baking Dish

Most baking dishes are far too large for one person or small batch cooking. This is perfect. I use it for the squash, to bake brownies or coffee cake, and reheat leftovers. It”s safe in the oven or microwave, looks great as a serving dish, and can go in the dishwasher if you have one.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanillaRoasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

It’s a veggie dessert! If you didn’t know it was a nice, healthy vegetable (packed with Vitamin A and C), you’d think you were having a dessert. Because that’s what it tastes like. But, it really is a vegetable!

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Roasted garlic, some cream, and parmesan balance against the sweet squash for a rich, creamy sauce. Punch it up with crumbled bacon or pancetta.

 

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Mild sweet curry is a perfect foil for apples and squash. Filling, comforting, and perfect for a cool fall or winter day.