No one can resist the combination of caramelized butter and sugar roasting with butternut squash. This butternut squash recipe is a delicious kid friendly side dish, a fall classic.
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Butternut squash recipes…. Over the years, I have tried many.
In my home, butternut squash remains a cautionary yellow light food, meaning my kids proceed with caution. They are still leery of this bright orange veggie which shows up in fall. I love the comforting flavor of squash, and present it in new ways to get my family on board.
Today, I have a new strategy, and it involves butter and sugar. You might be thinking butter and sugar have no place around veggies, it defeats the purpose. I thought that once as well.
Let me tell you a story. It is about a salad bar…
Imagine your old grade school cafeteria… the terrazzo flooring, the rows of tables and metal chairs. The mint green lunch trays… That’s where I was headed. To be the
lunch lady Foodservice Director, working to spice up the hot lunch program at my children’s school.
My first task was optimizing veggies – with a salad bar. Out went the Tupperware container of iceberg lettuce next to the tiny container of carrots. Appetizing, it was not.
On the first day of school, the shiny new salad bar was ready for the children, I was thrilled watching children excited about veggies!
But I have a confession. I stretched the rules in that cafeteria. What did I do? I served full fat ranch dressing & I allowed children to come back to the salad bar for seconds.
When the kids were finished with their meal and were still hungry, they could back for veggies (hunger is a great tool in getting healthy foods into children!). I believe this taught kids to choose veggies more often. I found that if kids could dip veggies in a flavorful dip they liked, they ate their veggies. It was as simple as that.
I didn’t start serving full fat ranch right away. I served the fat free variety and watched. On fat free ranch days, the news spread like wildfire and not so many veggies were eaten. On full fat ranch days, the veggie consumption increased multiple times over.
I learned a lot from watching those children over the course of 3 years. I have applied these lessons to my own home, maybe you’ll consider doing the same.
So, I added the butter and sugar. And it was delicious. And my kids thought so too.
Caramelized Butternut Squash
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 3 tbsp. butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel squash using vegetable peeler.
Cut in half, remove seeds.
Cut squash into similar sized cubes. Place onto baking sheet.
Blend brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper into melted butter. Pour over squash, and mix.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping squash with spatula halfway through.
Crockpot Method: Prepare squash as listed above. Cut into large cubes. Place into crockpot, pour butter mixture on top, stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-4 hours. Serve as is, or mash for a Mashed Caramelized Butternut Squash side dish. Serve topped with a bit more butter and sprinkled with brown sugar.
Interested in more squash recipes? These might be of interest:
How do you feel about adding fat and sugar to veggies? I’d love to hear about it below!
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