Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts & Cranberries Recipe

There are SO many possibilities with a butternut squash and below is a great option for a Thanksgiving side dish. The average American gains between 4 and 9 pounds from Halloween to New Years Day and the big celebration on our day of thanks is clearly a contributor to that gain. This is a very colorful and flavorful dish that gives you a feeling of fullness without packing in lots of Calories from fat or sugar.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts & Cranberries (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients (see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):

  • 1/2 Med-Large Butternut squash, cubed (about 5 Cups)
  • 1/2 Stalk Brussel sprouts / about 30 pieces, halved or quartered (about 5 Cups)
  • 1 1/2 Cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% Pure maple syrup*
  • Ground Salt & Pepper to taste

*Purchasing tips: it may look funny but buying an actual stalk of brussel sprouts means lower cost, and possibly higher nutrient content since you won’t slice and dice the veggie until very close to consumption. Same goes for buying a whole squash versus pre-cubed.

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  • Take your butternut squash and carefully cut in half lengthwise.
  • Dig out the seeds & pulp (pictured below)
  • Peel the skin off of one half, being careful not to take off too much of the meat of the squash**
  • Cut the squash into small 1/2-1 inch cubes
  • Remove Brussel sprouts from stalk & rinse, halve or even quarter them lengthwise
  • Slice cranberries in half (you don’t have to but they will cook better)
  • Add squash, brussel sprouts & cranberries in a large bowl
  • Drizzle with the oil and maple syrup and toss well so that everything is lightly coated
  • Place mixture into a large baking dish (I used two to keep cooking time down – if you use 1 you may have to cook for longer) and place in the oven
  • Bake for a total of 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven, stirring every 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven once the squash is soft, place into a bowl and serve!

**You can cube & freeze the other half of the butternut squash to use at a later time, or double the recipe if you’ll have lots of Thanksgiving guests

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Eat a 1 Cup serving of Butternut Squash and you’ve hit 4x your Vitamin A needs for the day as well as half of your needs for vitamin C! You’ll even get Vitamins E and some B vitamins from this nutrient powerhouse as good amounts of magnesium and potassium. The carotenoids & bioflavonoids in butternut squash are known to boost immunity and work as antioxidants that support the hearth, eyes and even work to prevent some cancers.

Brussel Sprouts contain many antioxidant phytochemicals including sulfurophane which is found in research to aid the livers detoxifying actions and fight cancer cells in the body, especially linking to colon cancer. Another phytochemical group in brussel sprouts (isothiocyanates) has been linked to fighting bladder cancer. The vegetable is also a good source of Vitamins C, K and folate and even provides you with some omega-3!
Cranberries are a fruit that is very low in sugar. People may associate it as a sugary food because its often consumed as juice, dried & sweetened, or used as cranberry sauce (which means the addition of lots of sugar). A full cup of fresh cranberries contains more fiber than sugar (5g vs 4g)! The berries are bitter though so adding them to other dishes is a good way to balance flavors. Cranberries are rich in vitamins C, E, K, and the mineral manganese. These berries really pack in the phytochemicals though and contain flavonoids, flavonols, phenolic acids and proanthocyanidins. Some new research shows cranberries can protect from certain bacteria, inflammation, cardiovascular disease (1) and act against cancerous tumors (2).
Maple Syrup is a source of added sugar but can have some benefits if it is 100% pure and is used in moderation. it actually provides small amounts of calcium, iron, mangnesium & zinc. One study in 2010 found Canadian Maple Syrup to contain over 26 antioxidant compounds (3)!
Canola Oil is my go to when I am cooking. While olive oil has great flavor and a good fat profile, canola oil actually has much more omega-3 than olive oil and a lower content of saturated fat. I don’t eat animal products on a daily basis, and my fish consumption is low, using canola oil in cooking helps me meet my daily needs. It’s also way cheaper than olive oil (even when buying organic).

Nutrition Information

Servings: 10
Calories: 95
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Saturated Fat: less than 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: less than 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 19 g
Sugar: 6 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 3.5 g
Sodium: 200 mg 14%(as long as you rinsed those beans!)
Potassium: 550 mg 11 %

Vitamin A: 80 % Thiamin: 13 % Riboflavin: 10 %
Niacin: 10 % Pant Acid: 16 % Vitamin B6: 25 %
Vitamin C: 75 % Vitamin E: 13%
Calcium: 7 % Iron: 8 % Zinc: 6%
Magnesium: 14 % Copper: 40 % Selenium: 3 %
Manganese: 50 % Phosphorus: 10 % Omega 3: 12% (0.2 g)

**vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more
than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concerns

References:

1. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2009 Oct; 49(9):741-81. Phytochemicals of cranberries and cranberry products: characterization, potential health effects, and processing stability. Pappas E, Schaich KM.
2. Am Society for Nutr 2007. Cranberry and Its Phytochemicals: A review of In Vitro Anticancer Studies. Neto CC.
3. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708-16. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Li L, Seeram NP.