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Baked Butternut Squash With Apples And Cranberries

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Dec 30, 2021

If you like recipes that meet your checklist of hearty, healthy, and delicious, this is it.  Featuring seasonal superstar foods, your senses of sight, smell, and taste are in for a pleasing palate sensation.

There’s something special about seasonable fall/winter flavors.  For me, it’s similar to the feeling of a cozy, warm blanket wrapped around you on a chilly evening. Inviting, fragrant, and flavorful, this good-for-you comfort food side dish is ideal for family get-togethers.

Comfort food and “nutrient-rich” usually don’t go together. But in this recipe, each ingredient tastefully coexists while providing various nutrients to boot.

Basics about butternut squash

The headliner of this recipe is butternut squash. This winter squash, shaped like an elongated pear, is a member of the cucurbitaceae family. Squash goes back a long ways (10,000 years ago) to its origin in Mexico and Central America. In fact, the word “squash” comes from the Native American word askutasquash, which means uncooked or eaten raw.

Unsure of what butternut squash tastes like? If you like the taste of sweet potatoes or carrots, you’ll like butternut squash too.

Health wise, butternut squash is a winner. One cup is packed with more than 100% of your daily needs of vitamin A and nearly 40% of vitamin C. It’s also good for hydration as one cup is approximately 87% water.

The star nutrients in butternut squash are vitamin A (a fat-soluble vitamin) and beta-carotene, a pigment found in plants. Beta carotene is also an antioxidant protecting your body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Over time, damage from free radicals can lead to numerous chronic illnesses. Research has found foods packed with antioxidants help boost immune functioning and may lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

The vitamin A in butternut squash is well-known for promoting good eye health such as protecting eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays. Vitamin A also protects eyes from night blindness and age-related eye decline. Besides eye health, vitamin A also supports bone health and a healthy immune system and may lower risk of certain cancers and risk of acne.

On to the recipe

Now that you know the healthy benefits of butternut squash, let’s talk about how to go about putting this delectable recipe together.

If you prefer to use a substitute for butternut squash, I would recommend acorn squash or buttercup squash. ButterCUP squash you may ask? Yes there is such a thing. The main difference between butternut and buttercup squash is that buttercup squash tends to be a bit drier whereas butternut squash is moister.  Both have a natural sweet and nutty flavor. However, butternut squash is a little bit sweeter in taste than buttercup squash.

If dried cranberries are not a favorite, consider using raisins or dried cherries or leave out altogether.

Use apples meant for baking such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonathans, Winesap, Braeburn, or Rome Beauty.

And there you have it. Side dishes don’t get anymore simple and sublime than this one. Whatever else you got going on your dinner plate will pair nicely with this recipe. Now that’s what you call looking on the bright side!

Baked Butternut Squash With Apples And Cranberries


Baked Butternut Squash With Apples And Cranberries

A seasonal favorite, this delicious dish provides a whole lot of nutrition and fiber
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 1/2 cup serving size
Calories 175 kcal


  • 2 cups Butternut Squash peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 cups Apples peeled and cored, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Salt


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Peel and cube both the squash and apples into bite sized cubes.
  • Combine squash and apples cubes, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Toss ingredients to coat squash and apples until well mixed.
  • Spread mixture evenly onto a metal baking pan sprayed with cooking oil.
  • Bake in oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until squash is soft.


Notes: Store leftovers in refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days. Reheat in microwave or serve cold.
Nutrition per serving: Calories – 175; Total Fat – 4 grams; Saturated Fat – 2 grams; Cholesterol – 0 milligrams; Carbohydrates – 30 grams; Fiber – 5 grams; Protein – 2 grams; Sodium – 285 milligrams
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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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