I’ve taken my daughter to farmer’s markets since she was a baby. She’s helped me pick out fresh vegetables and fruit since she learned to point. During one fall farmer’s market trip, she picked out a butternut squash. She loved the shape and feel of the it. She got oddly excited about having it for dinner. When we got home she danced around and sang, “Yeah, we’re having butternut squash.” She called her Daddy and told him to hurry home because we were having butternut squash.
I put the squash in the oven while she was napping and the whole house smelled aromatic when she woke up. That got her even more excited about the squash. Finally the buzzer went off and I took the squash out of the oven. She took one look at it and said, “Oh, that’s squash…. yuck, I don’t like squash.”
One of the rules at our house is that you have to try one bite of everything on your plate. So every time I made squash, she had to eat at least one bite. And one bite at a time, she now loves squash.
I invented “One Bite Squash” because I wanted some winter vegetarian options that are both hearty and comforting. The three main ingredients form a health trifecta. The butternut squash is rich in anticancer carotenoids and vitamin C, the black beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, and the spinach adds calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron.
“One Bite Squash” is colorful on the plate and works as a side dish or main course. Try it also as a vegetarian taco filling… just add salsa and sour cream. The last time I made it, I paired it with sautéed polenta. However served, it is an elegant and affordable feast.
There is no more squash dancing, but we do have squash eating.
“One Bite Squash”
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large butternut squash pared, cleaned and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cups black beans
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed
- ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed, raw squash on roasting sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until squash is tender.
2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add beans and spinach, stir until heated through. Add teriyaki sauce and soy sauce. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add roasted squash. Let simmer on low for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
1. Vary the amount of squash, beans or spinach to suit your preference.
2. Butternut squash are difficult to peel and cut. To make it easier, piece the squash with a fork and microwave for a minute before cutting. You can also peel with a carrot peeler.
3. For an easy and quick preparation, buy the squash precut.
4. In a pinch you can substitute 2 (16 ounce) cans of beans, but soaked black beans are more flavorful and dramatically cheaper.
5. Soak more beans than you need and freeze the rest for another recipe.