A few years ago, when I was still eating meat, I used to go to Nando's Peri Peri, which specializes in Portguese roast chicken. They also have a number of sides, including a roasted butternut squash dish I enjoyed so much that I learned to replicate it myself. While I no longer eat chicken, I still love this squash combo. I now make it regularly for Thanksgiving and fall family meals, as well as for my office's annual Thanksgiving Potluck, which will take place this Tuesday.
The health benefits of butternut squash are numerous. It's a great source of fiber, Vitamin A, B-complex vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc. Now that it's fall, you'll likely see whole butternut squash everywhere. If you do decide to go with whole squash, make sure you have a very, very good knife, as I once wrecked an entire set of cheap knives trying to deconstruct one. Here's a handy tutorial on how to peel and chop the butternut.
I, however, opt to use fresh-cut squash chunks, which saves me a lot of prep time (and sanity). The chunks are still fairly large, so I do chop them in smaller pieces. For a large crowd like my 20+ person office potluck, I used two packages.
|Corn zipper in action.|
I then finely chopped a medium red onion and added it in, along with a generous handful or two of dried sweetened cranberries and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Make sure to use the fresh herbs here - dried won't work.
I then combine everything in a large mixing bowl and stir in a generous amount of olive oil, and season it with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put it in glass baking dishes on a single layer (making enough for 20 meant two dishes) and let it roast for 30 minutes at 400, stirring occasionally.