Butternut squash is a vividly coloured, orange-fleshed winter vegetable packed with a dense nutrient profile that confers a plethora of health benefits. It is highly valued for its unique sweet and nutty flavour and is used in cuisines across the world. Though commonly believed as a vegetable, butternut squash is botanically a fruit. As all types of squash have seeds and originate from the flowering parts of the plants.

Butternut squash serves as a great addition to many delicacies including sweet and savoury recipes. This winter squash is not only tasty, but also boasts an extremely impressive source of nutrients. Contrary to the name, winter squash is cultivated in the summer and harvested in the fall. Butternut squash goes with the botanical name Cucurbita which belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is indigenous to Australia and New Zealand but is now widely grown across the globe for domestic and commercial purposes.

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Butternut squash

Butternut Squash Nutrition

Butternut squash is endowed with a wealth of crucial dietary components like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fibers, essential trace nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, and E, minerals, and a host of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Though it is a high-carb vegetable, it has a low glycaemic index thus making it a healthy addition to most diet patterns.

One serving of 250 grams (1 cup) of cooked butternut squash offers:

Calories: 82

Carbs: 22 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Fiber: 7 grams

Vitamin A: 457% RDI

Vitamin C: 52% of the RDI

Vitamin E: 13% of the RDI

Thiamine (B1): 10% of the RDI

Niacin (B3): 10% of the RDI

Pyridoxine (B6): 13% of the RDI

Folate (B9): 10% of the RDI

Magnesium: 15% of the RDI

Potassium: 17% of the RDI

Manganese: 18% of the RDI

*Source USDA

Also Read: Pumpkin Seeds: 5 Health Reasons On Why Should Add This Nutrient Dense Seed To The Diet-Infographic
Benefits of butternut squash

Incredible Health Benefits of Butternut squash

Packed With Nutrition

Butternut squash is an impressive source of nourishing micronutrients that delivers the system with a host of medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene, plant pigments that offer butternut squash its vivid colour. These components convert carotenoids into retinal and retinoic acid the active forms of vitamin A, which is vital for cell growth, good vision, strengthens bones, and bolsters the immune response. High in vitamin C, this winter squash support immune function and promotes collagen synthesis, wound healing, and tissue repair. While the butternut squash is a great source of vitamin E that shields the body against free radical damage and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s. Asides from these, butternut squash holds a significant role in improving fetal growth and development, as it is packed with Vitamin B9 and B6. Furthermore, butter squash is loaded with magnesium, potassium, and manganese all of which play a remarkable role in fortifying bone mass and avert the risk of fractures.

Also Read: Vitamin A – Functions, Food Sources, Deficiencies and Toxicity

Prevents Cancer

Butternut squash imbued with a treasure trove of antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin C can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Studies reveal that a high intake of vitamin A and C-rich foods may reduce lung cancer risk significantly. By combatting free radical damage caused to healthy cells and averts the growth of tumour cells in the body. Adding this winter squash vegetable to the meal plan on a regular basis has lowered the risk of mortality, including death from cancer.

Promotes Bone Health

Butternut squash comprises a wealth of minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorus, which is very essential for strengthening bones and averting the risk of bone-related disorders like osteoporosis. Calcium is the key element of bone, that helps in the growth and repair of bone tissues. Also, evidence has revealed that people who take butternut squash daily have stronger bone and reduced risk of osteoporosis and age-related bone disorders.

Bolsters Immune System

Thanks to the goodness of vitamin C in butternut squash, which is very valuable in triggering immunity. Vitamin C aids in the production of which blood cells in the body, which is the body’s first line of defence mechanism. It helps to shield the body from pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Besides these, the potent antioxidant nature of vitamin C combats free radical damage and keep infections at bay.

Healthy Vision

Butternut squash is loaded with carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which are very valuable for eye health and vision. Vitamin A aids to avert the dryness of the eyes. While antioxidant traits combat free radicals and avert oxidative damage to healthy eye cells. Additionally, several studies have proven that a diet rich in carotenoids optimize vision and avert the risk of several types of eye disorders like cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Gut Health

Butternut squash being intrinsically rich in dietary fibre is highly beneficial for improving gut health and averts the risk of digestive woes like constipation, gas, and diarrhoea. Ample amount of fibre aids to regularise bowel movement and promotes smooth passage of food via the digestive tract. Further, it also promotes the secretion of digestive juice and enzymes, thus easing the digestion process.

Reduces Inflammation

Bestowed with tremendous anti-inflammatory actions, butternut squash is helpful to ease pain, swelling and inflammation. Loaded with copper, which is credited to have the anti-inflammatory trait, research has discovered that regular consumption of butternut squash can lower the risk of several types of inflammatory disorders. Besides these, it is also packed with iron which promotes the circulation of blood and nutrients to all the vital organs, thus repairing worn-out tissues.

Accelerates Weight Loss

Butternut squash, being high in dietary fibre and essential nutrients, can be taken regularly by those people who are following a diet regimen to shed those stubborn fats, especially in the case of those with diabetes. Dietary fibres are processed smoothly in the stomach, keeping one feel satiated for longer, reducing unwanted cravings and assisting in burning fat at a quicker pace.

Boosts Skin And Hair Health

Butternut squash has a significant vitamin C content, offering 34 % of the daily requirement in just 1 serving. Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, the skin protein that improves skin elasticity, and hydration, and slows down signs of ageing. While antioxidant activity shields against UV-induced photodamage.

The goodness of hair nourishing nutrients like vitamins A, and C in butternut squash keeps the hair moisturised, promotes hair growth and makes the mane shiner.

Controls Blood Pressure

Butternut squash supply potassium, a key mineral that maintains fluid balance in the system, acts as a vasodilator that reduces the strain from the blood vessels and promotes smooth passage of blood via the arteries. By easing tension in the heart vessels, arteries, vein and capillaries, butternut squash corrects uncontrolled blood pressure and regulate hypertension.

Also Read: Hypertension Nutrition: Common FAQ’s Answered About DASH Diet

Difference Between Squash and Pumpkin

Both butternut squash and pumpkin belong to the melon family, Cucurbitaceae. The leaves of young butternut squash and pumpkin are sweet and lack bitterness, thus it is best to steam them or stir fry, them rather than consume as a salad. Pumpkin leaves are hazy and have a fibrous thread on their surface, while butternut squash leaves are heart-shaped, intense green and large. Pumpkins are available only in fall or start of winter, while butternut squash is available all through the season. Butternut squash is high in fibre, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Though butternut squash is high in calories, it is heaped with natural dietary fibre, which aids the carbs to be slowly digested and keep you satiated for a longer time.
Difference between squash and pumpkin

Ways To Cook Butternut Squash

Adding this nutritious food to the diet is an incredible way of enhancing overall health and well-being. It’s a distinct ingredient that mends well with a spectrum of flavours. Here are some easy ideas for incorporating winter squash in both sweet and savoury delicacies.

  • Butternut squash can be roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a tasty accompaniment
  • Substitute potatoes with butternut squash for making nutritious fries
  • Top salads with roasted or baked butternut squash for a boast of nutrition
  • Bake bread and muffins with pureed butternut squash for added flavour and taste
  • Make creamy soups, curries, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Add cooked butternut squash to pasta or mash them with salt, milk and spices for a creamy side dish
  • Blend cooked butternut squash with your favourite mixture of grains, veggies, and cheese for a wholesome meal
  • Use pureed butternut squash for making pies or tarts
  • Add caramelized butternut squash to pastries
  • Innovate new delicacies using butternut squash replacing pumpkin, potato or sweet potato

Butternut Squash Recipes
Butternut squash recipe

Butternut squash is a perfect ingredient for cooking up a creamy and hearty soup that confers warmth for the cold weather. This nourishing soup is flavoured with spices, and herbs and mellowed by adding coconut milk.


3 cups cubed butternut squash

1 chopped carrot

1 chopped onion

½ cup chopped, coriander leaves and stalks

3 cups vegetable stock

2 cups coconut milk

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp red chili flakes

2 tsp finely chopped, garlic & ginger

Salt to taste

2 tsp unsalted butter or oil

1 tsp lemon juice


Heat butter or oil in a large pan, add garlic, ginger, and onion, and saute till the onion turn soft.

Add cubed butternut squash, carrot, water or vegetable stock, red chili flakes, and salt.

Cover and roast until the vegetables are meshy about 20 minutes.

Remove from the stove and puree the soup using a hand blender until smooth.

Then add thick coconut milk, red chili powder, lime juice, and coriander leaves and stir well for 2 to 3 minutes on low flame.

Serve creamy butternut squash soup hot and top with roasted pumpkin seeds and chili flakes.


The goodness of vital nutrients and low glycaemic index, butternut squash helps to control sugar levels and promotes weight loss and heart health. The coconut milk added to the soup triggers immunity, and boost stamina and muscle power. Apart from these spices added in the soup stimulates digestion, and metabolism and soothe the throat.

Also Read: Pumpkin For Wellness: Relish These Delicious And Healthy Desi Recipes With Winter Squash

Butternut Squash Risotto
Butternut squash risotto

Risotto is a creamy, rich Italian rice recipe made using short-grain rice. Vegetable broth or wine is added to build up the dish. Parmesan cheese is a must to add to a perfect risotto. For all those who relish the sweet flavour of butternut squash, you would then love to have the creamy and flavourful butternut squash risotto.


2 cups roasted butternut squash

2- 3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp butter

1 finely, chopped onion

1 stick finely chopped, celery

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1.5 cup risotto rice (arborio rice)

10ml white wine

500ml vegetable stock

20g freshly grated Parmesan

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley


How To Roast Butternut Squash?

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Add cubed butternut squash to a roasting tray, drizzle olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Place it in the oven for about 40 minutes until nicely roasted.


Heat a pan add olive oil and butter, onion, celery, garlic and fresh thyme until soft.

Now add the risotto rice and stir well for a few minutes to coat.

Add wine and cook for 5 minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.

Gradually add the stock and cook the rice for 15 minutes.

Then add the roasted butternut squash, parmesan cheese, parsley, and spices to taste and stir well for 2 to 3 minutes until everything blends well.

Serve the risotto with stir-fried green vegetables.


Made from arborio rice risotto supplies calories, and carbohydrates for instant energy and olive oil is a storehouse of healthy fats for augmenting cardiac wellness. Butternut squash laden with antioxidants and vitamins B6, B9 E, A and C improves, brain power, and memory and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. Cheese contains ample amount of vitamin A for promoting vision, as well as proteins for strong muscles and bones.

Side Effects

Butternut squash is a healthful vegetable that can be added to diet plan for most healthy people. But being high in potassium content people with heart ailments and kidney problems should be cautious while consuming large amounts of butternut squash.


Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable that comes with a treasure trove of nutrients and delivers indispensable wellness incentives. This distinct ingredient blend well with a wide spectrum of flavours- sweet and savoury. Adding winter squash to your diet plan is an amazing way to optimise overall health and well-being.