|If you're cooking Valentine's Day dinner at home, here's a delicious side dish suggestion.|
Which is better, a romantic Valentine's Day Dinner at home, or dinner out in a nice restaurant? I'd love to hear in the comments what people think about that, but for those cooking Valentine's Day Dinner at home, might I recommend this Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash with Smoked Sweet Paprika that's sure to wow any sweetheart who likes butternut squash. I got the recipe from my friend Margarethe, a good cook who says ever since she discovered the recipe she's made it at least once a week. Margarethe also shared the recipe for the Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Aioli Sauce that I loved when she brought it to a party at my house last summer.
If butternut squash is not your thing or your Valentine won't eat it, there are a lot of other suggestions for Valentine's Day Recipes in the South Beach Diet Friendly Recipes for Holidays.
Cut up one large butternut squash into cubes about 1 inch square. (Here's How to Peel and Cut Up a Butternut Squash if you need help.) You can also use 2 pounds of prepared squash cubes, which is what Margarethe says she usually does.
Put the smoked sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion salt, fresh ground black pepper and balsamic vinegar into a bowl and stir to combine, then whisk in 2 T olive oil. Margarethe reduced the amount of oil from the original recipe that she found on Food.com, and I agree that 2 T of oil was plenty. (Don't make this with regular paprika; it's the smoked paprika that makes it so delicious and unusual. Most grocery stores carry smoked paprika now, or you can buy it at TheSpiceHouse.com.)
Roast the squash for 25 minutes in a 375F/190C oven, then remove from the oven and turn all the squash pieces.
Here's how the squash looked after another 15 minutes roasting time. I turned them again and put back in for a few minutes more.
This is my finished squash, after a total of 50 minutes roasting time. Of course I was taking photos every time I took them out of the oven, so I'd guess yours might be done after 40-45 minutes. Season with a little more salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired, and serve hot or at room temperature.
(Makes 4-6 servings, depending on how much you like butternut squash; recipe adapted slightly from Food.com.)
1 very large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 lbs. of 1 inch cubes ( 2 lbs. = 8 cups cut squash cubes.)
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more to brush or spray the roasting pan
salt and more fresh ground black pepper for seasoning cooked squash if desired (I didn't add a lot more salt and pepper but I used a little)
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1 inch cubes, or you can use pre-cut squash cubes if you prefer. (If you haven't worked with butternut squash, there is a post on the blog about How to Peel and Cut Up a Butternut Squash.)
Put the smoked sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. (You can also mix this in the same bowl you're going to toss the squash in if you want to save washing a bowl!)
Put the cut squash cubes into a medium-sized plastic or glass bowl and toss with the paprika/oil mixture until the squash is well-coated. Spray a flat baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, then arrange squash cubes in a single layer on the sheet. (I made sure each piece had a flat side facing down on the sheet, because that's where the most browning occurs.)
Roast squash 25 minutes, then remove pan from the oven and turn the squash pieces. (I used a flat metal turner to turn all the squash, then use a fork to turn a few that didn't get turned. This is pretty important so one side doesn't get too brown.) Put squash back in for 15 minutes, then take out of oven and turn again. Put back into the oven and continue to roast until squash is very tender and nicely browned, about 5-15 minutes more. I would watch it pretty closely during this final cooking time. Total cooking time will be about 40-50 minutes, depending on how big the squash pieces are and what pan you are using.
Season cooked squash with more fresh ground black pepper and some salt if desired. (I didn't think it needed much more seasoning, but I added a little.) Serve hot or at room temperature.
South Beach Suggestions:
I can still remember how excited I was when I discovered that butternut squash was approved for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. The book recommends 3/4 cup serving size if you're actively trying to lose weight.)
More Fun Ways to Cook Butternut Squash:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted Butternut Squash Crumble from White on Rice Couple
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin from Pinch My Salt
Butternut Squash Soup That Actually Tastes Like Butternut Squash from A Veggie Venture
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)