Put the marshmallows down. This is anything but your typical Thanksgiving casserole…
I hate the word casserole. To me, especially when paired with any winter root vegetable or squash, the word conjures images of mallow-topped, saccharine sweet dishes, holdovers from the ’50s that seem to show up on nearly every Thanksgiving table at least once. I don’t know whose idea it was to put marshmallows on top of perfectly good sweet potatoes and squash, but it’s an idea that I’d like to see forgotten. To me, these winter vegetables stand on their own. Earthy, naturally sweet, warming and hearty, winter squash varieties are the perfect starch alternative to serve in place of mashed potatoes for a healthy dose of beta-carotene and omega-3’s which, among other things, bolster the immune system and protect against seasonal colds and flu. Butternut squash is simply one of many favorites, an economical choice when serving a big Thanksgiving table, but really any winter squash or root vegetable can be used in the incredibly simple Thanksgiving recipe below.
Roasting the squash before running it through the food processor gives it a depth of flavor that would otherwise be lost if you were to boil it, negating the need to use too many spices. I recommend following the recipe below before adding any embellishments as it’s quite sweet on its own; however, the addition of a bit of maple syrup and/or nutmeg could be a satisfying variation.
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded & diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle each of salt & pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil or organic grassfed butter
Pecan halves, cranberries & fresh rosemary to top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the peeled, seeded and diced squash in a large baking dish and top with garlic powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper and toss with a spoon to coat. Dot the top with coconut oil or butter and place in the oven. After 10 minutes, toss the squash to move around the oil and continue baking for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
Once baked through, remove squash from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Use a spatula or a fork to scrape up every little bit from the baking dish and place the baked squash in a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a heat-safe serving dish and top with pecans, cranberries and rosemary.
Check out more healthy Thanksgiving recipes from BLDG 25!