Our maple balsamic roasted butternut squash is a flavorful and filling side dish that looks as good as it tastes! The recipe blends the tastes of sweet, savory, salty and tart to create a delicious and healthy side dish that’s packed with nutrients — and flavor.
The squash is a tasty superfood that people have enjoyed since ancient times. Archaeologists have found various types of gourds in Egyptian tombs, intended to provide sustenance to the departed in the afterworld. In addition, the native people of the Americas relied on squash as a chief source of nutrition, along with corn and beans — aka “the three sisters.”
Just as back then, this easy-to-grow and extremely prolific fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit!) provides beta carotene, omega-3s and potassium. It is also hardy, when kept in a cool place, can last for long periods. It’s a great nutritional bargain, too: Just one medium squash can feed an average-sized family.
The butternut squash is a relative newcomer to the squash world. According to Farmer’s Weekly, Charles Legget of Stow, Massachusetts, cross-pollinated a gooseneck squash with other squash varieties to produce the butternut squash around the year 1944.
Slightly sweet and meaty, the butternut has a thinner skin and fewer seeds than other types, which means less waste. He chose the name because the interior is “smooth as butter and sweet as a nut.”
You can use butternut squash in any recipe that calls for squash or pumpkin. Slice and fry this versatile staple in a pan, cook it in a risotto, make it into soup, bake it into pies and breads, or cube and add it to casseroles.
When selecting a squash, look for one that’s firm with a smooth, tan skin and a thick neck. As with most fruits and vegetables, roasting the squash deepens and develops its flavors.