Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans, and Gruyere

Butternut squash

I’ve been desperately clinging to the notion that summer isn’t over, unwilling to let go of the long, warm evenings, 5 A.M. sunrises, and lazy days spent near the water. This week it came to my attention that it was time to finally address my state of denial/ignorant bliss. I’ve turned my heat on consecutively for days now, and the autumnal equinox has passed. Today I suppose I passed the final threshold: dismantling my daughter’s tent for the season and beginning the task of breaking down my gardens to put them to bed for the winter. Besides, we are less than a week away from October as I write this.

Though found year-round, winter squash, like butternuts, are synonymous with the change of season as they reach their peak during the fall months. Though they all have a similar nutrient profile, taste, and texture, for many people butternut squash is definitely a favorite. The flavor is very pleasant, though not overly sweet, and it has a smooth, creamy texture when cooked. Butternut squash also holds moisture well, whereas some other winter squash can have a dry, somewhat mealy texture. Low in caloric count but high in vitamins and minerals, this vegetable packs a powerful punch. A 5 oz. serving contains almost 300 percent of our daily recommended vitamin A (in beta-carotene form) and 50 percent of our recommended vitamin C. It also boasts a significant amount of potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.

I love contrasting foods that seem to be made for each other (bacon and syrup is a personal favorite). For the filling, I combine the bite of tart, fresh cranberries with two salty cheeses. Paired with the sweet, delicately flavored squash, the ingredients meld in perfect harmony. This is a great recipe to use up those last few bits of cheese from a dinner party, so don’t be shy about mixing things up a little. A smoked cheese would be especially spectacular. The squash could be served as a side dish, or it could make an ideal lunch or light vegetarian main course.

Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans, and Gruyere

For this dish, you may roast the squash and prepare the filling in advance. Cool and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to finish.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish

Ingredients
2 small butternut squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons cubed Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash in a baking dish, cut side down. Cover with parchment paper, then cover with foil. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients to make the filling. Heap mixture inside butternut squash cavities, then place back in the baking dish. (At this point, you may cool and refrigerate the squash to finish cooking at a later time.)
  3. Otherwise, place the dish back in the oven and bake until the squash is lightly golden and the filling is hot and melted.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:

  • chemical- and hormone-free meat
  • wild-caught fish
  • pasture-raised, organic eggs
  • whole, unrefined grains
  • virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
  • whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
  • pure, clean, spring water
  • sea salt
  • raw and/or cultured milk and cream products

Photo by Briana Nervig

Briana Goodall, CPC

Briana Goodall is Chef and Owner of Green Cuisine Personal Chef Service. Visit her website at www.mygreencuisine.com.

One thought on “Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans, and Gruyere

  1. Sam says:

    Yum! Thanks for the great recipe. I love squash, and I’m always looking for new ways to cook it up. Awesome fall dish!

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