Butternut Squash -- A Versatile Veggie

October 13, 2016

By Kay MacInnis, Regsitered Dietitian

Butternut squash is a pretty versatile veggie.

First, it is a starchy vegetable, which means it is a carbohydrate. It is a rich source of beta-carotene, which is converted in the body to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A helps with the immune function and offers anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits. It protects against inflammation and helps with vision and eyesight.

You can do lots of different things with this squash. It can be savory or sweet. One of the things I have really liked is being able to buy it diced in frozen or fresh cubes at the grocery store. I can roast it and throw it together with other vegetables for a great side.

At one of our recent Providence Cooks! classes, the chef had a wonderful salad topped with roasted butternut squash and corn. The dressing was red apple-infused balsamic vinegar with Tuscan-flavored olive oil.

Try including butternut squash in many different recipes. It provides lots of color, which translates to lots of nutrition!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup tart green apple, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 quarts reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Pumpkin seeds, roasted


  • Pierce squash with sharp knife and place in microwave for about 6 minutes.
  • Remove from microwave and, when cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise.
  • Remove seeds and place squash halves with cut side facing foil-lined baking sheet, lightly coated with cooking spray.
  • Roast in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until squash is render. Remove.
  • When cool, scrape out squash from shell into bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in large pot and sauté onion, celery and 1 cup diced apple until soft and golden.
  • Add broth, squash pulp, and brown sugar and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add thyme and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove soup from heat and purée soup in blender in small batches or with an immersion blender.
  • Add milk, pepper and salt. Keep warm.
  • In small pan, sauté remaining 1/2 cup apples in olive oil until golden brown. Add apples to the soup.
  • Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Information: 220 Calories, 2.4 grams fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 36 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams protein, 404 mg. sodium.


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.