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September 15, 2014

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

We've had some beautiful Fall like weather here in Southern Indiana the last several days, and I've been outside enjoying it every chance I get. Autumn is my favorite time of year, cooler weather, the changing colors of the leaves, bonfires, apples and pumpkins showing up at farmers markets and in recipes, snuggling up in a blanket at night, and getting to do more baking are just a few of the things about Fall that I love.

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Which brings me to the recipe I'm sharing today, Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash. Since going almost totally vegan, (I still like to enjoy some beef or turkey once in awhile) I have really broadened my palette and tried a lot of different vegetables that I used to turn my nose up at. One being butternut squash. No real reason particularly, I had just never tried it before, and was unsure of how to cook it.

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So when I found some on a recent trip to the farmers market, I decided to finally try it. I went with roasting it like I do sweet potatoes occasionally, since it had a similar texture to them. Let me tell you though, it sure isn't as easy to peel as sweet potatoes! It takes a sharp knife and a little muscle to peel one of those suckers!

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After cutting it up and proceeding to roast it, I found a tip online about microwaving the squash for a couple of minutes to soften it up, which makes for easier peeling supposedly. I'll definitely be trying that next time, and will update you on how it goes.

Once you have the squash peeled though, the rest of the recipe is easy. Put everything in a large bowl, toss to coat, spread out on a pan and roast. You then have a side dish that is not only slightly sweet and delicious, but also fills your house with the comforting smells of Fall.

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Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

Makes 3 - 4 servings

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups, cubed)
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease lightly.
Place squash cubes into a large bowl, along with the olive oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Toss together until the squash is well coated.
Pour the squash out onto the baking sheet and spread into one layer. Don't crowd them or the pieces won't brown.
Roast squash for 25 to 30 minutes, turning the squash over and rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until the edges are browned and centers are tender.

Notes: *Some ovens run hotter then others, so make sure to keep an eye on the squash, and check it occasionally for desired doneness.

*If you'd like to caramelize your squash a bit more, once the squash is tender turn your broiler on and broil for a minute or so. Watch it carefully though, as it will burn quickly if you're not careful. Doing this may cause your squash to stick to the foil a bit, but should come off with the help of a sharp knife.

Tips: *To make peeling the butternut squash easier, microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, then flip over and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and it will be much easier to peel.

*The leftovers make a delicious salad topper the next day for lunch!

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