Roasted Butternut Squash from the AICR Test Kitchen


As one of the world's foremost cancer research institutes, the American Institute for Cancer Research leads the way in making evidence-based recommendations that promote lifestyle choices among the public that can prevent the development of some cancers. To this end, every other week their test kitchen delivers a new and delicious recipe.

This week: Roasted Butternut Squash with Shiitake Mushroom and Fresh Sage

Butternut squash is coming into season now. Roasted and then sautéed with shiitake mushrooms and fresh sage, this unexpected butternut combination has pleasing aromas, flavors, textures and nutritional benefits.

Roasting chopped butternut squash brings out its deliciously sweet, nutty taste and creates bites that are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. To buy a whole butternut squash, select one that is heavy. To prepare, just peel the skin with a vegetable peeler, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Butternut squash is among AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer because of its carotenoids that act as antioxidants protecting against cancer.

When butternut squash is paired with shiitake mushrooms, the result is magical. Shiitake mushrooms have a slightly chewy texture and smoky, umami flavor. If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not available, then use dried; the flavor is even more intense when reconstituted with water. Shiitake mushrooms should be firm, not moist or wrinkled. Refrigerate them in a paper bag for up to a week. Right before preparing, use a damp cloth or pastry brush to wipe them clean. Shiitake mushrooms supply selenium that is important for the immune system. Studies suggest that various phytochemicals such as beta-glucans in shiitake mushrooms are beneficial for human health.

Fresh sage cinches the sweet butternut and savory shiitake flavors in this dish. Prized for its health-promoting qualities, this aromatic herb with its oils, flavonoids and phenolic acids, such as rosmarinic acid, has a slight woody taste. Select fresh sage that is grayish green and store wrapped in the refrigerator. Be wise and add sage toward the end of cooking to retain its aromatic essence.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Shiitake Mushroom and Fresh Sage

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash, 1/2-inch (1 lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 oz. package fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In medium size bowl, toss squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Arrange butternut squash on baking pan. Roast until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside.

In large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and pinch of salt and sauté 4 minutes. Add sage leaves and continue sautéing 2 minutes. Mix in squash. Continue to sauté another minute. Season to taste with pepper and serve warm garnished with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 121 calories, 7 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 14 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g protein, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 25 mg sodium.


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