Pumpkins may take center stage as soon as fall hits, but for culinary purposes, winter squash is far more versatile. With bigger taste, better texture, and a spectrum of fun varieties, squash is an easy recipe upgrade, and there are few fall foods that don’t benefit from it jumping onto the plate to join in on the flavorful fun.
Plus, in addition to its hearty yum-factor, you’ll also reap the rewards of its brain-protective high beta-carotene content, digestion-friendly fiber, essential minerals like magnesium and potassium, and much more! Enjoy it in stir-fries, baked savory dishes, pastas, or even a la carte. We recommend trying out our balanced squash-boosted penne recipe below as a healthy part of your mid-week dinner rotation.
Penne with Butternut Squash & Kale
The essence of cool weather flavors, this pasta comes together quickly. Well balanced in protein, fiber, good fats, and even leafy greens, it can easily be served as a meal.
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (3 cups)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (divided)
Sea salt and ground black pepper
8 ounces whole wheat or brown rice penne
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoons minced fresh sage
4 cups (packed) baby kale
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Smoked salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450° F. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Transfer onto a baking sheet, spreading out the squash as much as possible. Roast until tender, about 20-25 minutes, flipping the squash in the pan about halfway through cooking. Remove the cooked squash from the pan soon after cooking to prevent burning.
While the squash is cooking, bring a large heavy-bottomed pot filled with salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according manufacturer’s directions. Drain and keep the pasta on standby. In the same pot, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and sage, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the shallot has softened. Reduce heat to low, and add the cooked pasta, cooked butternut squash, kale, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds, and toss gently while cooking for about 2 minutes longer or until ingredients are equally warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, using smoked salt for extra flavor if available. Serve warm.