Manic Monday: What’s Up Butternut?

Recipe: Renata’s Butternut Bowl

  • Cut tip of butternut squash off
  • Using a big, sharp knife, carefully commit to slicing that sucker right down the middle lengthwise without chopping your hand off. I believe in you!
  • I balance the squash on the flat surface that I cut, and slice one side at a time, pull apart, and hope for a clean break. No biggie if it’s not razor smooth.
  • Using a regular old spoon, scoop out seeds.
  • Spray with a little olive oil or similar and a sprinkle of salt if you wish.
  • Roast-it-with-Renata at 375F face up on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper or silicone sleeve for about 45 minutes or until it’s soft when pierced with knife. Go ahead and overcook it, it will ooze with gorgeous caramel colors! Let your nose be your guide. When it smells so good you want to roll around in it and eat your way out, it’s ready.
  • Load it with a black bean & green veg stir fry and heap into the cavity before serving for a complete plant-based centerpiece that is low in calories, high in fiber and protein.
Roast-it-with-Renata Butternut Squash filled with stir fried greens, black beans & shallots.


This Polar Vortex Winter in Chicago has got me freaking out! I need my daily time outside or I go absolutely stir crazy. I have never walked so much in rain, snow, and ice. The weekend’s wind reminded me of Dorothy and Toto.

To top things off, my pants are getting tighter, so I am determined to find new things to bake and roast that will add color to my cheeks without packing on the pounds during this atrocious Windy City weather.

Rescue came in the form of an innocent butternut squash! Whenever I see butternut squash in the store, we have a major standoff in the vegetable aisle. “Oh heck no!” I say to the squash. “I’m not gonna throw my back out cutting you up!” But I am so restless this winter, that I figure cutting this baby up could build my biceps. It is also healing to see something heartwarmingly orange instead of dismal grey.

So I sauntered right past that cubed squash in it’s plastic container and gave myself a no-plastic praise pause. Heaven knows how many times I have bought those plastic boxed cubes and hoped it was the type that could be recycled. One good choice down, 8 zillion to go!

This little butternut is filled with goodness, least of which is the color you can gaze at and aroma that fills the house. This is one way to use the oven that will result in a sweet treat, but with very few calories, almost no fat, and will boost your fiber intake while it colors your cheeks. If your body is a “paint-by-numbers” work of art, then this little butternut will brighten your cheeks!

Heroic Properties of Butternut Squash

  • 63 calories/cup
  • 2.8 g fiber/cup
  • 1.4 g protein/cup
  • 3.1 g sugar
  • Almost no fat
  • Rich in Vitamin A
  • Natural antioxidant important for immune function
  • Rich in Vitamin B-complex group
  • High in Vitamin C

This gorgeous squash will light up your visual senses with the color orange that is associated with  joy, warmth, sunshine, enthusiasm, creativity, and fascination!

After pulling this beautiful butternut squash out of the oven, I cut about 3 inches off the straight end of the squash and cubed it up. I stir fried some chopped shallots, shredded kale and black beans in a spray of oil for a few minutes and piled it into the cavity.

My son is a pretty big meat eater, but he sat down and demolished this loaded sunshiney squash so fast that the spoon settled into the empty cavity with the steam still rising from the shell!

I asked my son if he would ever make this on his own and he said he was “pretty intimidated by squash”, but he may just consider this in the future. That is exactly how I felt when I saw this little butternut in the vegetable aisle a few days ago!

Manic Monday just turned motivational.

My carnivore son gobbled this up so fast the steam was still rising from the shell when the spoon hit the plate.


Did you ever notice the color of Mary Poppins’ petticoats? They were kind of orange and apricot and red. I think she had a secret life going on there.

-Julie Andrews



  1. Juanita Tribo

    You give me the courage to try to cut the butternut squash that’s been sitting at my windowsill for two weeks now. I hope t make it.

    • Hurray!! Total Global Vegetable Empowerment is my dream come true!!! I don’t think you are alone in your squash intimidation. Just get a good grip on it, put it on a cutting board, snip off end so you have a flat surface. Place butternut squash cut end on board so and pierce top and slice vertically down. Same on other side. Crack open. Please let me know how it goes!! Would love to see your pics. The nice thing about these “bowls” is that you can cut the “neck” off after it’ s done roasting, and cube those portions and place them back in whatever you choose to fill the hole with, which makes a really cute Table for Two!!! I had such a nice lunch with my sunny son who admitted later he didn’t think he would like it, and he wolfed it down and loved.


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