By Martha J Rardin, MSM, RDN, LD, FAND
Every season offers a variety of fruits and vegetables to brighten up your favorite dishes. The fall harvest brings delicious seasonal produce such as root vegetables, apples and leafy greens, but one of the most popular this time of year is butternut squash.
If you’re worried about trying new vegetables or getting your kids to like them, our recipe for fall veggie casserole is a perfect way to introduce this new ingredient while incorporating fresh herbs, too. And this dish can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table.
But first, a few facts: Squash is actually a fruit — it contains seeds and develops from flowers, which is unlike vegetables that grow from a plant’s root or stems. All types of squash are high in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. As a bonus, squash is considered low in calories, so adding all members of the squash family to your weekly repertoire of meals is a healthy, flavorful choice.
Note that butternut squash has a very tough outer skin, so you’ll want to use a vegetable peeler to remove it. It also has a sweet, nutty taste that resembles pumpkin — so make sure you’re pairing it with flavors that complement and balance it.
For this recipe, look for a small butternut squash when you’re shopping as you only need one cup. If you have any left over, you can refrigerate it for use later in the week. This recipe makes a large casserole, so consider cutting it in half if you’re cooking for two. And remember, the recipe is versatile — if you don’t have all the veggies listed, just substitute what you do have and it will probably taste great. Happy cooking!
Fall Veggie Casserole
1 cup peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into ½-inch slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices
1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole (or use 1 tsp. minced garlic)
2 tbsp. each chopped oregano, basil, dill
1 (14 oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 ½ tsp. olive oil
½ tsp each onion powder and garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Spray cooking oil
3 tbsp. Romano or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place all ingredients, except cheese, in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a spray coated 7” x 11” baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until veggies are tender, about 60-75 minutes; Remove foil cover for the last 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Romano or Parmesan cheese. Turn on broiler and broil the casserole for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
Serves 4-6, 1 cup serving
Nutritional Information: 120 calories, 3 g. fat, 20 g. carbohydrate, 5 g. protein, 4 g. fiber, 105 mg. sodium