Submitted by Dana Curley, Immaculata University Nutrition Student
This time of year I almost always have a butternut squash patiently waiting in my refrigerator. I buy them knowing I can turn it into a meal within a few minutes. It is my favorite vegetable for so many reasons: that bright, orange color of its flesh; the sweet taste that compliments so many autumn recipes; and it will last in my refrigerator for quite a while until I am ready for it. Did I mention the fact that it is loaded with vitamins? One cup of butternut squash has 457% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A! It is also a good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium.
The easiest way to use butternut is to cook it in its own skin – no peeling! (I am the first to admit that I do not enjoy peeling butternut.) Slice it in half long-ways and scoop out the seeds. If you prefer to roast it, cut in half short-ways, then maybe brush sides with a little olive oil or maple syrup, sprinkle with salt and pepper then pop it in a 400° oven for 45 minutes. All of this can also be done in the crock pot, just let it cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 4. Once cooked, you can serve the squash in the skin, but it easily separates from the peel and can be mashed for use in other recipes. If you are pressed for time, peel it first, then cube and boil for 15 – 20 minutes.
Cooked squash can be layered into lasagna, stirred into oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar, even hidden in the cheese sauce of macaroni and cheese. Try adding raw, cubed butternut to chili and soups!
For a delicious Mexican entree, give these Butternut Black Bean Enchiladas a try - your family will love them!
Butternut Black Bean Enchiladas
Serves 6. Leftovers freeze well.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano, dried
2 cups cooked butternut squash
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas
4 oz shredded cheese, Mexican blend, divided
Optional toppings: green onions, cilantro, jalapenos
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook onion and garlic in oil for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine butternut squash, black beans, ¼ cup enchilada sauce and half of the cheese in a bowl. Cover the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish with a cup of enchilada sauce. Heat the tortillas in a microwave or on the stove in a hot pan in order to make them pliable.
Scoop two spoonfuls of butternut/ bean mixture into center of tortillas. Gently roll and place seam-side down in baking dish. Continue with remaining tortillas and filling, lining them closely next to each other in the dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover and bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.