There are so many possibilities with a butternut squash and below is a great option for a healthy Thanksgiving side dish. We’ve been enjoying it on Thanksgiving (and before, and after) for many years now. When we’re not with my mom’s family for the holiday, they’re always asking for me to resend the recipe (but you can pin it!). Read on and grab the recipe for this maple roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts and cranberry dish – it’s simple and you’ll enjoy it all winter long.
Maple, Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries – Nourishment
We don’t only get satisfied from the nutrients in food and how the fill our stomach, but also from the taste and enjoyment they bring. This dish helps promote satiety with it’s color, flavor, texture, and fiber! It’s important to enjoy all the foods you love on Thanksgiving, even if that means an overly full belly at the end of the day. But, including nutrient dense filling foods alongside your special indulgences may help you feel a bit better the next day.
Maple Syrup is a source of added sugar but can have some benefits versus refined sugar. It provides small amounts of calcium, iron, mangnesium & zinc. One study in 2010 found Canadian Maple Syrup to contain over 26 antioxidant compounds (3).
Eat a 1/2 Cup cooked of Butternut Squash and you’ve hit 2x your Vitamin A needs for the day as well as 1/4 of your needs for vitamin C! You’ll even get Vitamin E and some B vitamins from this nutrient powerhouse as well as good amounts of magnesium and potassium. The carotenoids & bioflavonoids in butternut squash are known to boost immunity and work as antioxidants.
Brussel Sprouts contain many antioxidant phytochemicals including sulfurophane which is found in research to aid the liver’s detoxifying actions and fight cancer cells in the body, especially linking to colon cancer. Other immune and antioxidant benefits may come from the prebiotics. The vegetable is also a good source of Vitamins C, K and folate.
Cranberries are very low in sugar, hence why sugar is added to dried cranberries and I included maple in this recipe! Fresh cranberries contain more fiber than sugar, so this helps to blunt sugar rises when sugar is added to the fruit. They’re rich in vitamins C, E, K, and the mineral manganese. They pack in phytochemicals like flavonoids, flavonols, phenolic acids and proanthocyanidins. Some new research shows cranberries can protect from certain bacteria, inflammation, cardiovascular disease (1) and act against cancerous tumors (2).
Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers
The possibilities are seriously endless with the maple roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts and cranberries. In addition to standing alone as a side dish, this recipe is perfect in the following ways:
- Over a green salad with your preferred source of protein.
- Chopped added to eggs for a festive omelet.
- Added to a wrap with hummus and your favorite protein.
- Mixed with farro and edamame as a stir fry.
- As the star of a fall harvest power bowl.
My Favorite Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Need more healthy, but delicious Thanksgiving recipes to balance out your holiday spread? In addition to the maple roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts and cranberries, here are a few of my favorites:
- Easy Refined-Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce
- Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
- Black Rice and Squash Bowl
- Garlicky Sauteed Baby Kale
- Lentil Walnut Stuffing
Vegan Main Dish
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
- ½ medium butternut squash (roughly 3 lbs)
- ½ stalk Brussels sprouts (~30 pieces)
- 1 ¼ cups fresh cranberries
- 1-2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Halve the butternut squash, peel, and cut into into 1/2 inch pieces and Halve or quarter the brussels sprouts, lengthwise.
- Mix Brussels Sprouts, Squash, and Cranberries in a large bowl before drizzling oil and maple syrup over top, and stirring well.
- Place mixture into two large baking dishes and place in the oven. If you layer the vegetables in one pan, cooking time will increase and texture may be compromised. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.
- Bake a total 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
1. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2009 Oct; 49(9):741-81. Phytochemicals of cranberries and cranberry products: characterization, potential health effects, and processing stability. Pappas E, Schaich KM.
2. Am Society for Nutr 2007. Cranberry and Its Phytochemicals: A review of In Vitro Anticancer Studies. Neto CC.
3. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708-16. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Li L, Seeram NP.