A healthy, hearty vegetable that can be prepared both savory and sweet, butternut squash is prime and ready for picking during the fall and early winter.
Native to North America, butternut squash grows on a vine and has the distinctive shape of an elongated bell. Unlike summer squash (zucchini and yellow crookneck), the skin of butternut and other winter squashes is hard and not great for eating, while the inside is firm and flavorful.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
Butternut squash has countless nutritional benefits. It’s bursting with beta-carotene (which is great for glowing skin) and flu-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants. Its health benefits go beyond the flesh (which is also full of vitamins A and C): The seeds of butternut squash also pack a nutritional punch via protein and heart-healthy fats.
Additionally, butternut squash has been shown to help regulate blood pressure (due to its high potassium content), aid in digestion, and lower cholesterol (thanks to its high amounts of dietary fiber). The amount of fiber found in butternut squash can also aid in weight loss by helping you to feel more satiated throughout the day.
From improving skin and eyesight, to helping prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases, this super squash will benefit your body from head to toe!
The Taste of Butternut Squash
The taste of butternut squash can be compared to a combination of carrot and turnip, with a little bit of nuttiness thrown in. Its naturally sweet flavor really emerges when roasted.
Butternut squash is great when baked or roasted, as a component in soups or stews, or blended into smoothies!
Where to Buy Butternut Squash
Fall is prime squash season, and during that time you can easily get fresh butternut squash at your local farmer’s market or at the grocery store.
Smoothie Recipes with Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a great addition to any smoothie. It’s a perfect thickening agent because of its creamy texture and delicate taste when blended. Throw butternut squash into any recipe to create a smoothie that drinks like a meal!
Spiced Butternut Squash
A rich, sweet drink that will get your skin glowing and your body revved up for a long day, this pumpkin pie in a glass is full of healthy fat from coconut and walnuts, and tons of vitamin C thanks to an orange and mango. Butternut squash is the perfect smoothie thickening agent (because of its light taste and creamy texture, not to mention its fiber and beta-carotene), and cinnamon helps with blood sugar spikes. No matter what’s on your calendar, this smoothie will help you achieve it all!
Spiced Persimmon Protein
Both persimmons and butternut squash are bursting with beta-carotene, which means this bright smoothie is amazing for your skin. And with a serving of vegan pea protein, anti-inflammatory spices, and 2 dates for natural sweetness, you have the perfect meal replacement for a busy morning.
Because it includes 20 amino acids (including nine essential amino acids our bodies don’t produce on their own), protein, healthy fat, fiber and magnesium, hemp protein is often considered a “perfect” food. Pear and squash amp up the fiber (which helps convert the natural sugar to energy), coconut cream amps up the healthy fat, and cinnamon adds a burst of anti-inflammatory power. With its low sugar / high fiber / and healthy carb count per serving, this nutritionally-balanced smoothie is perfect for a meal replacement any time of day.
Creamy Butternut Chai Matcha
If you’re looking for an energizing snack with all the flavors of the holiday season, this is it! Thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine, matcha tea (which is made from ground green tea leaves) is the perfect way to stay focused and calm. Butternut squash provides beta carotene and fiber, as well as a delicately sweet smoothie base, and the combination of a banana, almond milk, and chai spices creates the perfect chai latte effect. Top it off with a dash of vitamins A, C, E and K from spinach, and you have all the flavor of a delicious milkshake with a nice nutritional punch.
If you’re looking for a smoothie that drinks like a meal but is still low in calories and fat, we’ve got you covered. Both persimmons and butternut squash are full of skin-enriching beta-carotene and fiber, and their mild flavors keep this smoothie lightly sweet. Cashews add in a healthy dose of protein and good fat, and pumpkin pie spice adds a boost of anti-inflammatory power.
Butternut Ginger Snap
Low in fat but high in fiber, butternut squash is also full of potassium, B6 and folate. Lucuma is a natural sweetener that comes from South America, and has a good amount of fiber and iron per serving. Mix in some anti-inflammatory ginger, satiating almonds, and a sweet pear, and you have a pie-in-a-glass that will warm you up from the inside out.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan
Who doesn’t love pecan pie? This smoothie version has all the flavor, but none of the refined sugar. Pecans have the highest antioxidant capacity of any nut, and 90 percent of the fat in pecans is the healthy unsaturated kind. Butternut squash is full of fiber and beta-carotene (which your skin loves), cacao gives your mood a nice boost, and dates and banana provide a natural sweetness (as well as potassium and magnesium). Curb your sugar cravings one sip at a time!
With a soft taste that resembles caramel, lucuma powder comes from a fruit native to Peru. It’s been shown to help balance blood sugar as well as digestion, and has even been used topically to heal blemishes and wounds. Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins, including vitamin A, E, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and zinc. They’re also full of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, which helps combat high cholesterol. With a lush base of almond milk (iron and calcium), banana (potassium), and butternut squash (vitamin C, magnesium and fiber), you’ll hardly be able to believe this snack is good for you -- but it sure is!
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