Butternut Squash: A Tutorial

It’s December! That means it’s time for pumpkin, squash, potatoes, and root veggies to fill your plate. I always used to be so intimidated by squash- it seems like it takes so much work and time to turn a raw squash into a meal, but it’s actually not that difficult.

Start with the raw squash. First thing you need to do is crack that baby open. Cut it vertically down the middle so you have two open halves that are close to the same size.

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Now we clear out the seeds. Using a smaller knife, cut along the circular section of squash inerds and seeds to loosen them. Then, simply scoop it all out with a spoon.

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Crush two large cloves of garlic and put one in each of the cavities in the squash. Pour about 1 tbsp of olive oil (or grapeseed oil if you prefer) along the length of the squash and dump the rest in with the garlic. This is where the seasoning starts. If you’re anything like me, you have an arsenal of seasonings that you put on and in everything and squash is no exception. Pile it on!

My suggestions:
Himalayan salt, freshly cracked black pepper, kelp seasoning (BRAGG is the best), cumin, herb mixes from Trader Joes are also great for this kind of stuff- my favorites are the 21 Seasoning Salute and the South African Smoke pepper blend.

After you’ve rubbed your seasoning and oil into the squash, it’s time to cook it.

Place both halves, cut side up, on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. After the thirty minutes are up, flip each half so the cut side is facing down and put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. When the squash is tender, (pierce it with a fork to test) remove it from the oven and let it cool.

Once it has cooled for about 15 minutes, it should be safe to peel the skin off. Then you will cut the squash into medium-sized chunks.

From here, you have a few options. Your squash is now cooked, delicious and ready to enjoy in a number of ways. You can serve the chunks over a bed of quinoa with veggies, sprinkle vinaigrette dressing over it and call it a day. You can also turn this squash into soup with a few more steps.

The recipe I followed for this soup was from
Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook, but a good broth recipe can come from anywhere. Try asking your mom/aunt/uncle/grandma if they have a good veggie broth recipe and use that. It’s always better when made from scratch.

Here is what you need to recreate the soup I made:
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
1 large red apple, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried sage

Here’s what you do:
In a large pot, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat. Add the onion, stirring until softened. (about 5 minutes)

Add the vegetable stock and water, then the butternut squash, apple, and baked garlic cloves from before.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes- apples should be very tender.

Remove from heat and pour half of the soup into a blender, while letting the other half sit in the pot. Let them both cool for 10-15 minutes. (NOTE- This step is really important, so don’t skip it! Blending hot liquid never ends well for anyone.)

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Once your soup has cooled- puree it. Add the remaining soup to it and blend it all together until creamy. This step can be the most complicated one if you have a small blender like I do. I normally will use three containers to make sure it has all blended. The pot, the blender, and a large mixing bowl so I can transfer the unblended soup to the blender more efficiently. You’ll eventually get a rhythm of your own going, so use whatever method makes most sense to you.

Once all the soup has been pureed, transfer it back to the pot and add the ginger, agave, cinnamon, nutmeg and sage. Salt and pepper to taste.

And that’s it! Now you’re an expert on all things butternut squash. Easy and delicious.

Happy Holidays guys! Go get your soup on.

-A

One comment

  1. Rachel in Veganland · · Reply

    What a great butternut squash tutorial! I love the stuff but its preparation can be a bit daunting at times. Yours looks lovely!

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