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.




Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 32 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Category: side dish

Cuisine: American

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

Butternut squash with vanilla and brown sugar is practically a dessert, but it's cleverly disguised as a side dish. It's the perfect autumn treat when the squash are fresh.

Ingredients

    Squash
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened slightly
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. brown sugar
  • tiny pinch salt
    Topping
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 C mixed nuts with dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1 tsp butter, softened slightly

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the squash in a medium size bowl. Toss it all together to mix it thoroughly. Pour the squash mixture into a small baking pan.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Once the squash is cooked, take the same bowl you used to mix the squash and add the topping ingredients. Mix that all together.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven, and add the topping mixture.
  6. Turn the oven up to broil and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Watch the nuts and make sure they don't burn.

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 Apples

Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person




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 for One

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

one serving

Butternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One

A perfect fall dish, with sweet squash, savory garlic and onions, and rich cream.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 C butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 whole clove garlic (not peeled, leave the papery skin on)
  • generous pinch dried sage
  • 1 T diced onion
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1 T grated parmesan
  • 1 T cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. First, preheat the toaster oven to 425F.
  2. Take a small baking pan (or use the toaster oven tray) and add the squash, olive oil, and garlic.
  3. Toss it all together.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and cook for thirty minutes until the squash is soft.
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the sage. Let it cook for a few seconds.
  6. Add the diced onion and cook on medium-low for five minutes.
  7. Remove the roasted squash from the oven. Take out the garlic clove, remove the skin, and add the garlic and squash to the melted butter mixture.
  8. Add the stock and bring the sauce to a boil.
  9. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Puree the sauce with a stick blender.
  11. Add the cream and the parmesan cheese and heat through.
  12. Serve over pasta (if you are going to eat the pasta right away with the sauce, start the water boiling while the squash is baking, about half way through).

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 Apples

Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Pistachio Pesto Pasta




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.




Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Category: soup

Cuisine: American

three to four servings

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

An easy soup that's perfect for chilly fall or winter days.

Ingredients

  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 C yellow onion (about one medium-large), finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons mild curry powder (preferably West Indian)
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 C apple cider
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a three quart dutch oven or soup pot.
  2. Add the chopped onions and the curry powder. Cover the pot and let the onions cook, on low heat, about 20 minutes.
  3. Peel the squash and cut it into chunks. You don't have to be too neat about this as you're going to puree the soup. The easiest way is to take a large, sharp knife and cut the squash in half (width-wise) and then into smaller hunks. Make sure you scrape out the seeds and discard them. I find a grapefruit spoon works nicely.
  4. When the onions are soft, add the stock, the chunks of squash, and the apple to the pot.
  5. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook (with the cover partially off the pot), until the apples and squash are soft. This should take about half an hour.
  6. Turn off the flame and remove the pot from the heat.
  7. Now, take a stick blender and puree the soup until it's smooth.
  8. Add the apple cider and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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 at the 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 Small Batch Soup Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe




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.




Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: side dish

Cuisine: American

one serving

Roasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

A classic squash recipe flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. It's great as a side dish with a simple piece of roast chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 C butternut squash
  • 1 tsp canola or neutral oil
  • 2T apple cider
  • 1T butter
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the squash, remove any seeds, and cut it into cubes.
  3. Grease a small baking pan with the oil (or use butter, if you prefer)
  4. Add the squash, cider, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to taste.
  5. Toss it all together in the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.

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 Side Dish Recipes

No Mayo Healthy Cole Slaw Recipe for One

Roasted Paprika Potatoes

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person