Looking for a delicious butternut squash side dish? One of the best vegetarian squash recipes out there, this baked side comes with a naturally sweet pomegranate vinaigrette.
This easy butternut squash side dish recipe is also stellar as an appetizer. It’s just the right amount of sweet and tangy.
And you’ll reap the benefits of butternut squash nutrition! Plus, you get an antioxidant punch from the pomegranate vinaigrette dressing recipe.
Why Butternut Squash is Good for You
You’ve probably had a bowl of butternut squash soup sprinkled with black pepper many times. But have you had it as a side dish? Butternut squash is a good source of fiber and pretty filling (plus it’s so tasty), so I love to come up with new ways to enjoy it.
I had some pomegranate juice on hand, so I decided to combine it with lemon juice and vanilla extract to create a no-sugar-added pomegranate vinaigrette for this roasted butternut squash side. You could also top the side dish with pomegranate seeds, if you’d like.
It’s super important to eat your fruits and vegetables on the regular, and you get many health benefits from the butternut squash. It provides beta carotene, which is helpful for eye health.
A serving of butternut squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C, providing more than 20% of the recommended daily value to help with immunity. Plus, eating veggies on the regular can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Additionally, the squash provides dietary fiber, which may help cholesterol levels.
We don’t traditionally think of getting protein from veggies. But this side dish with pomegranate dressing provides 2 grams of protein (4% of the daily value) per serving.
Plus, it’s a good source of fiber, offering 4 grams (16% of the daily value) per serving. How to roast butternut squash? I’m here to help, and I hope you enjoy!
The Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables
I make it a goal to add fruits or vegetables to each of my meals and most of my snacks. Vegetables and fruits provide so many health benefits, and including them in your diet can help lower diabetes risk, cancer risk, and more.
These fruits and veggies boast fiber—and a study in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases shows a potential connection between fiber intake and some pretty cool health benefits.
Increased body weight and inflammation have been linked with knee osteoarthritis, and a higher fiber intake has been connected with decreased body weight. The study authors looked to expand upon this: They looked at the self-reported fiber intake of thousands of overweight older adults with and without osteoarthritis.
The findings are super interesting and may be an incentive to get in the daily recommended amount of fiber. They show that eating fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and cereal may be associated with a reduced risk of osteoarthritis and may ease the symptoms in people who are already suffering.
Subjects who ate the most fiber (about 21 grams daily in one study population and about 26 grams in another study sample) experienced the greatest benefit.
The people eating the most fiber were also likely to take in more vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as less saturated fat. This isn’t so surprising, given that fiber-rich foods like fortified cereals, fruits, and vegetables are also full of vitamins and minerals.
- Women, ages 19 to 30: 28 grams
- Men, ages 19 to 30: 33.6 grams
- Women, ages 31 to 50: 25.2 grams
- Men, ages 31 to 50: 30.8 grams
- Women, ages 51 plus: 22.4 grams
- Men, ages 51 plus: 28 grams
Ready to Try This Recipe?
I have to admit that it was around lunchtime when I was getting busy in the kitchen, so I served myself a big scoop of this butternut squash with my lunch.
If it’s not mealtime, the squash also makes a fabulous appetizer. Simply skewer it, place it on a platter, and you have probably the healthiest appetizer that came to the party!
Wondering how best to cut a butternut squash? To easily cut the squash, it helps to poke a few holes in it with a fork, then microwave for a few minutes to soften it before you place it on a baking sheet.
You don’t even need any salt and pepper to make this veggie dish with a simple pomegranate vinaigrette! Plus, the vinaigrette doubles as a salad dressing.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
This blog post was updated in October 2020. A version of this content originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
- Correction: Dietary Intake of Fibre and Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis in Two US Prospective Cohorts, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Butternut Squash Side Dish with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
- Place squash cubes on a nonstick cooking tray. Toss with olive oil, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Toss halfway through.
- Drizzle pomegranate vinaigrette over squash.
- Combine juices and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When mixture begins to reduce, stir frequently until it begins to thicken, about 5-6 minutes.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you make this butternut squash with pomegranate vinaigrette. What’s your favorite way to enjoy butternut squash?
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