Looking to get creative with your holiday leftovers? There’s a variety of dishes you can transform into unique yet tasty creations. Let’s start with mashed butternut squash: this creamy side dish is served alongside baked ham or roast beef, but once cooled down, it can also be enjoyed in your morning smoothie. Although a butternut squash smoothie may sound strange, the vegetable contains nutrients that help support a healthy immune system (a benefit that’s especially important now that flu season is in full swing). The vegetable also adds a vibrant orange color and naturally sweet flavor to your drink. Read on to discover exactly how to turn your leftover butternut squash into a delicious smoothie.
Butternut Squash’s Immune-Boosting Benefits
Butternut squash is a rich source of beta-caterone (a carotenoid) as well as vitamins A and C. As a pigment, beta-caterone gives the vegetable its orange color. This carotenoid’s antioxidant properties have been shown to protect against illness-causing free radicals that may otherwise weaken immune function. In the body, beta-caterone also converts into vitamin A — which increases the activity of immune system cells. Vitamin C is another antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and aid immune cell function. Ultimately, there’s no better way to get these key nutrients all at once than in a smoothie that’s packed with butternut squash.
How To Make a Butternut Squash Smoothie
This Butternut Squash Smoothie recipe from 30Seconds.com uses one cup of the mashed vegetable. (It’s best that the puréed butternut squash is plain, so that you don’t taste salt or pepper in the drink.) For a spiced, creamy twist, this smoothie includes additional ingredients such as cinnamon and almond milk. It’s perfect if you’re feeling full from a heavy meal and need something light to consume.
- 1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash
- ¾ cup almond milk
- ¾ cup orange juice or pineapple juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons nut butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Servings: 1 to 2
- Put all ingredients into blender except honey or maple syrup. Pulse until smooth.
- Add honey or maple syrup to taste, if desired.
- Pour into glass, sprinkle with dash of cinnamon (if desired), and serve.
My Taste Test
Butternut squash isn’t the first ingredient I’d think to add to my smoothie — but this drink turned out to be really good. The smoothie had a prominent sweet, nutty flavor thanks to the peanut butter I used, and this nuttiness complemented the warming spice taste of the ground cinnamon and ginger nicely. The butternut squash added a subtle earthiness, plus it made the beverage very creamy. Next time, I’ll probably use one tablespoon of nut butter for a less intense flavor and add ¼ teaspoon more ginger for an extra spicy note.
A butternut squash smoothie may not sound appetizing at first blush — but as the old saying goes, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” Plus, getting your fill of this vegetable can help give your immune system a nice boost!
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.