Sweet potatoes are a traditional part of many holiday meals, but there’s a way to serve a casserole that tastes just as good but yields only a fraction of the calories and carbs—and it’s all about butternut squash. It’s from the same veggie family and boasts an array of health benefits that, coupled with the reduction in calories and carbs, make it worth the swap.
While butternut squash is creamy and rich in fiber, it’s low in fat, making it an excellent choice for cardiovascular health. It’s loaded with potassium, vitamin B and folate, with lots of dietary fiber to fill us up and promote healthy digestion. Just like its cousin, the sweet potato, butternut squash is packed with beta-carotene, a carotenoid that helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and combats free radical damage. With its high levels of antioxidants, butternut squash also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Our weight loss physician recommends making healthier swaps whenever you can, so try this one to make your holiday meal healthier and less fattening overall.
1 large butternut squash
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put each half on a foil-lined baking sheet, with the cut side facing downward. Bake for an hour and a half. The squash will be soft and golden.
Remove the squash from the oven. Scoop the flesh of the squash and put into a bowl. Add in the coconut milk and mash together. Once mashed, add the vanilla extract, brown sugar and cinnamon. Season with Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Put into a blender or food processor and puttee until smooth.
Reduce the oven heat to 350° and lightly grease a baking dish with extra virgin olive oil. Add the puree to the dish and then cover with mini marshmallows. Bake for about 10 to 15 more minutes.
Makes six servings.
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