Roasted Butternut Squash Puree with Maple Candied Walnuts

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This simple yet satisfying side is a real showstopper, and provides a nice alternative to regular old mashed potatoes, or candied yams at your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Better yet, butternut squash boasts a bevy of nutrients including potassium (important for bone health, and adrenal function), vitamin B6 (mood and energy enhancing, and immune boosting), and folate (great for heart health, cognitive function, and reproductive health). Butternut squash's bright orange hue signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against a number of ailments including heart disease. More specifically, the gourd contains high levels of beta-carotene (converted in the body to vitamin A), a deterrent against many forms of cancer, as well as age-related macular degeneration. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich, and immune boosting vitamin C - something we could all do with a little more of at this time of year.

For some added seasonal spice, toss in a pinch of anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar balancing, and immune-boosting cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, or even a small spoonful of paprika and hint of cayenne for something a bit more zingy!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Puree with Maple Candied Walnuts

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes about 4-6 servings

 

For the candied walnuts…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts (whole or crumbled)
  • 1 tblsp butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free)
  • 2 tblsp maple syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter (or coconut oil) in a frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup, bring to a slow and slight bubble, and add the walnuts, making sure to stir them until they’re completely covered in the butter and syrup mixture.
  3. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and let the walnuts caramelize for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the stove, remove from the heat, and let sit and cool completely.
  5. Break up the candied nuts with a spatula or by hand, and set aside.

 

For the butternut squash puree…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, skinned, seeded, and cubed
  • 2-3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free), softened
  • 1 – 2 tblsp maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium to large mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes with olive oil and spread evenly on the baking sheet.
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the squash cubes are fully cooked and soft.
  4. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the butter and maple syrup.
  5. With an immersion blender, puree until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with the candied walnuts, and serve!