The butternut is more than just a squash. It is a long-lasting, flu-fighting, time-saving winter veggie. Dice up this golden beauty and you have a super simple side dish just when you thought you were out of veggies.
I’m talking about that day when you have used up all your greens, all your potatoes, and all your produce. You look over at your pantry and think, “there’s gotta be some canned artichokes in here or somethin!” Nope. Just when you’re about to give up and skip the veggies, you see something out the corner of your eye. It’s been decorating your kitchen with this fall harvest ornamental flair, and you think to yourself, “YES! BUTTERNUT! I am so glad you’re here!” I absolutely love butternut squash, but don’t even tell me for a second you can’t relate. Sometimes I forget it is in my kitchen, and then boom! Two weeks later that baby is still standing tall and ready to be put to use (right when I need it the most). If this hasn’t happened to you then you need to just buy one, and set it aside, and wait. It’ll happen.
We shouldn’t leave winter squash on the sidelines, however, because these starchy, hearty vegetables have some powerful immune-boosting properties that we should take advantage of.
Sweet winter squash doesn’t need much attention from the cook. But, considering it’s much less sugary than its tuberous friend the sweet potato, it makes sense to spruce it up with some sweet and spicy flavors. I only used a few ingredients here, but many of them may be new to you.
First, I will mention the spices. Have you heard of Five-Spice Chinese Powder? I first purchased a bottle of this spice blend years ago when making one of Eric’s favorite foods from his homeland in Hawaii. Shoyu chicken. It is a dynamite dish of stewed chicken thighs in a sweet and salty umami bath. (If you’re feeling adventurous or have longed for a good shoyu chicken recipe, I recommend this one from Reggies Kau Kau Time blog . I am definitely going to make a longevity version of this dish for the blog one day. It’s on the list!) Chinese Five-Spice is typically a blend of Cinnamon, Clove, Peppercorn, Fennel, and Star Anise. I recently bought a version containing ginger, but traditionally it is made without. A little goes a long way, and you’d be surprised how useful it is in the winter! I seasoned the squash here with five-spice powder, and some warming ground cumin. If you’re not familiar with cumin, I’d have to disagree with you (huh?). It’s the name “cumin” that people are unfamiliar with, not the taste. Cumin is the most important flavor in every taco seasoning packet ever!..so I’m sure you will recognize the flavor quite well. I LOVE IT.
Lastly, I’d like to introduce you to Coconut Aminos. It is a sweeter alternative to soy sauce that is prized in the paleo world, and new to the culinary scene. It’s basically salty coconut sap, but without the coconut flavor you might expect. One bottle will last you a while (unless you go coconut aminos crazy like some of us do at first) so I suggest you go for it! Tossing the butternut squash in this sauce really helps bring all the flavors together. Are you nervous about trying all of these new flavors??? I sure hope not. If you like Thai Food, or Indian Food, Moroccan Food, or trying new things, then you’ll love this dish!
PS I admit I ate it cold several times right out of the fridge. mmmm.
- 1 small Butternut Squash, under 2 lbs
- 2 Tbsp Ghee, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, or Lard, melted
- 2 tsp Coconut Aminos (or 1 tsp fish sauce + 1 tsp coconut sugar)
- 2 tsp Coconut sugar
- ½ tsp Cumin
- ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- 2 fresh Basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400
- Cut off both ends of the squash by root and stem, and peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler.
- Cut the squash in half crosswise. Then, cut both halves lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the melted fat with the coconut aminos, coconut sugar, and the rest of the spices except for the basil.
- Add the squash to the mixing bowl, and toss well to coat
- Roast for 25 minutes, turning the pieces after 15 minutes.
- Thinly slice the basil by stacking the two leaves, rolling tightly like a cigar, and slicing across to create ribbons. Carefully mix the basil ribbons into the hot squash.
- Enjoy this sqush on the side of a juicy steak or any tender braised meats.
- The spices compliment many asian and latin flavors.
- Try it with my Lime Marinated Grass-fed Skirt Steak.
- We also ate the leftovers for breakfast in a one-pan scramble of eggs, kale, and the six-spice squash.
- Tag me in your squash photos! @mylongevitykitchen #mylongevitykitchen
Oh my gosh, I mean NON-irradiated version. Yikes. Maybe the Hawaiian sun is getting to my head, haha! Thanks Dana, I love your spirit. Have a great time in the kitchen and let’s stay in touch.
Lol. So funny. Well, good to know that was a typo and you’re really not specifically seeking out irradiated spices, 😉 lol. (I thought, “oh my goodness, I need to gently let this gal know why that’s not a good idea”, lol). And thank you … I will for sure stay in touch. Aloha! 🙂
Hi Marisa ~ Just found you through Dr. Mercola (he shared your Ciambotta Italian Vegetable Stew Recipe in one of his emails). Glad to have found you as I’m always looking for healthy new recipes. 🙂 Can’t wait to make the Six-Spice Butternut Squash, but have never used the five-spice seasoning before, beleive it or not (heard of it, but never used it). While looking at a couple different ones (Frontier and Simply Organic, both contain white pepper rather than ginger). Not sure which five-spice to go for. Curious to know which brand you prefer. 🙂
Well, never mind. I settled on Simply Organic. Seems there isn’t any five-spice out there with ginger … most have pepper. I’m sure it will be fine. Thanks for the recipe nonetheless. Making it this tomorrow. 🙂
.. making *this* tomorrow. Eesh.
Dana! I just realized my five-spice has ginger in it, but it traditionally does not. Let me know how yours turns out! I hope you like it. It will be great with any version of the five-spice powder. I’ll be sure to update the info in my post. Thanks!
Hello! Thank you for visiting. I have been away visiting family in Hawaii for weeks, so I apologize for the delay. This squash recipe is so yum, complex but easy to enjoy day after day. Hot or cold. I use a five-spice maybe by McCormick’s gourmet line, but that stuff isn’t even great quality. I need to just admit that it’s a few years old and it’s time for a new bottle of this stuff. I will probably order it online and look for an irradiated version. I don’t think it traditionally contains ginger.
Hi Marisa ~ Hawaii? Sounds absolutely wonderful and I’m sure it was. 🙂 … Yah, I looked at so many five-spice blends (even from Mountain Rose Herbs) and all contain pepper rather than ginger. But I’m sure, as you said, it will be yummy no matter what. I also love your suggestion of using the leftovers in a breakfast scramble (that’s right up my alley). Thanks so much … 🙂 P.s. Since you specifically mentioned looking for an “irradiated” version, I thought I’d share this with you. Also, make sure to read the comments (there are only 10 as of today).
This dish is awesome!! The Chinese 5-spice is a nice departure from the salt/pepper/cinnamon combo I usually use and the basil rounds it out really nicely.
I’m so happy you tried this slightly ambitious combo!
I made this tonight and it was fantastic! My flatmates are going to stop making food if i keep making such good dinners! I think those stuffed mushrooms have our name all over them next…