Leaves are not the only things that change in fall. As temperatures drop, we tend to crave heartier fare that will stick to our ribs and warm us up from the inside out. Hearty, however, does not always equal heavy, fat-laden food. Butternut squash is one of those beautiful fruits of fall that tastes rich and decadent without the guilt.

Considered a super food, the butternut squash’s orange flesh is packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin B6. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, potassium and folate, a vitamin shown to help prevent some birth defects.
To take advantage of these benefits, try baking the whole squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Once it is removed from the oven and cooled, it’s a cinch to peel.

Baked Butternut Squash with Apples

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a saucepan, stir butter, maple syrup and apple juice together over low heat until butter melts. Simmer until mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cinnamon, spices and salt.

In prepared baking dish, alternate squash and apple slices, overlapping and stacking. Pour reduced syrup over everything; cover with foil. Bake until squash is almost tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until tender, basting occasionally with syrup, about 15 more minutes. Yields 4-6 servings.

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1 c. apple juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 butternut squash (2 1/2-3 lbs., halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 4 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and cut into slices)
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