As we move into autumn, squash moves into the forefront of seasonal cooking. A variety will grow quite well in Mid-Atlantic gardens. But the next thing, after they’re grown, is what to do with them.
Most recipe sites offer soup, casseroles, or ravioli but I wanted something different.
So, coming home, I looked in the fridge at the butternut squash that Mom steamed the other day. Yep, kinda uninspired looking.
Nuts. What if I did a take-off of twice baked potatoes and make a twiced (yes, I know it’s not a real word) squash? With nuts? Considering what was on hand, I gathered:
- 1 medium butternut squash, steamed until tender
- ¼ cup sunflower nut butter (I used Once Again’s unsalted and unsweetened version)
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1 t coconut oil
- 2 T hazelnut flavored soy creamer
- 2 t powdered cardamom
- 1 t 3-pepper blend (ground white, pink, black peppercorns)
- 1 T egg substitute (I used The Neat Egg®, a blend of garbanzo bean and chia seed)
- 2 T water
- Pinch of salt (I used Himalayan Red)
Everything went into the blender which cooperated enough to puree everything.
I followed with a good stir with a spatula in a bowl to ensure all ingredients were well incorporated.
I decided more nuts were in order so, since I’d used the hazelnut creamer, I snagged a bottle of hazelnut extract from the shelf and added – some. (I’m really bad at measuring!)
The squash skin was lightly coated with coconut oil. I spooned the mix in and the shell promptly came apart at two points.
Held together with cheesecloth it went into the oven in a small baking pan, 350◦ for 20 minutes.
I chopped a handful of raw hazelnuts, mixed in a bit of birch xylitol, pepper, and coconut oil. This was sprinkled over the squash mix as it baked.
The result is good, I like the spice angle and the nuts give a good texture contrast to the smoothness of the squash. When I do this again I would:
- aim for something denser, more like a vegetarian loaf
- consider other vegetables for flavor and texture
- add less fluid; the squash is soft and made its own water
- leave a ½ inch of flesh in the skin so it doesn’t come apart
- increase the amount of spices for more bite
And Mom liked it, too.
Butternut squash is a good source for vitamin C, potassium, and fiber which makes it a food that fills you up, counters bad cholesterol, and makes your heart happy. Vitamin C helps your body make better use of iron, ending constipation woes so common to anemics.
Sunflower seeds are full of two essential vitamins – B1 (thiamine) and E which power the body and fight ‘rust’ (antioxidant). It also contains copper, a mineral important for healthy hair and skin.
Hazelnut is also rich in copper. Other nutrients, folate (vitamin B12), fiber, manganese, and proanthocyanidins – make this nut a smart choice for heart and bone health.
- Butternut squash nutrition.com
- Health benefits of sunflower seeds. NaturalNews. July 2013.
About the author
Roxanne Corbin has lived most of her life in the mid-Atlantic. She is a latent artist and wistful-thinking gardener. An information hunter by trade, Roxanne is currently working to transition from the corporate world to managing a research and writing business of her own.