With the arrival of October comes pumpkin-spiced everything. From pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pancakes to pumpkin pie, the flavor of pumpkin is everywhere. While I do love pumpkin in either savory or sweet dishes, but it can get a tad tired after a while.
Thankfully, autumn abounds in delicious squash to choose from. Butternut squash is a great alternative to pumpkin and may become your new favorite! Butternut squash is nutty and sweet, starchy, and with bright orange yellow flesh slightly lighter in color than pumpkin. Any recipe that calls for pumpkin can easily be substituted with butternut squash. It is an excellent addition to soups, but surprisingly enough is also great in baked goods (even pie) and ice cream.
Butternut squash can be a little tricky to work with because of its shape, however. The squash are long with a bulbous end, which is where the seeds are. The easiest way to work with them is separate the bottom from the top. The top is great for dicing and roasting, while the bottom part with the seeds can be roasted as is. The seeds can be roasted as well and eaten like pumpkin seeds. Usually I cut the bottom part in half, remove the seeds, and roast the cut side facing up with some butter. If using for baking, make sure it's completely soft! It should mash just like a potato.
Now that you have your roasted butternut squash, you can use it for all sorts of applications instead of pumpkin! My favorite are these gluten-free butternut squash muffins that are great as a healthy treat for fall.
Paleo Butternut Squash Muffins
1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup butternut squash, cooked cooled and mashed
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
Mix "wet" ingredients (eggs, syrup, oil, squash) until just combined, and add to dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves) until everything comes together. Scoop into greased muffin tins, top with the nuts, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean.
The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young demonstrates how to make another gluten-free butternut squash muffin in this video.
Want even more ideas for working with butternut squash? Don't miss our hands-on cooking class The Great Pumpkin coming up this month on:
You'll learn dishes that feature acorn squash, delicata squash, butternut squash and pumpkin in a vegetarian-friendly menu.