Coconut Oil is for Eating. Butternut Squash, too.

That’s a declarative statement, recently transformed from a question.

Solid state

Solid state

I found it hard to believe when I started reading  about the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil. It was difficult to comprehend. Firstly, because I still have memories of slathering coconut oil on my body while suntanning in high school (speaking of difficult things to comprehend – did I really do that?), and secondly, isn’t it a  highly processed/hydrogenated fat? Well, turns out I was wrong on both account. I doubt it was real coconut oil I was using back in the day – likely something scented with coconut oil – and coconut oil is really, really good for you. There are people who claim it does everything from reducing inflammation to reversing food allergies. I am not about to make any of those claims here, but I was excited to cook with it because it supposedly tastes great. Incidentally, if you do want to read more on the health benefits, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola’s thoughts on coconut oil’s health benefits from the Huffington Post and fellow food blogger Coconut Mama’s post.

I had read that coconut oil adds secondary flavors of sweetness and nuttiness when used in cooking. That’s what really intrigued me (more so than the health benefits), and it didn’t disappoint. I prepared a simple dish of roasted butternut squash and was super excited to crack open my jar of Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil. I was a little alarmed at first to see the coconut oil in a solid state, looking more like marshmallow fluff than a fat to roast my veggies with. But it scooped out easily and started softening within seconds, without any supplemental heating. And, oh, the scent. My kitchen and entire apartment smell heavenly – even luscious – while we await the snowstorm of the season. Here’s my simple recipe testing out the new wonder ingredient – coconut oil.

Butternut Squash Roasted in Coconut Oil, with Roasted Red Onion

Butternut Squash Roasted in Coconut Oil, with Roasted Red Onion

Butternut Squash Roasted in Coconut Oil

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Ready for the oven. Dab of coconut oil, salt and a sprinkle of cheyenne pepper

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed into 1″ cubes (save the seeds for roasting, too)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 red onion, peeled, quartered, and cut into large chunks (optional)
large dash of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash and onion, if using, with coconut oil in 9X11 baking dish. Sprinkle salt and toss again. Place in oven and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, shaking pan every 10 minutes or so. Check for doneness – the squash should be tender and you should be able to easily spear it with a fork.

I used the onion because I actually had 1/2 an onion hanging around in my fridge. It is not essential, but added some nice color. Enjoy the tastes and aromas!

Healthy, homemade snack

Healthy, homemade snack

6 thoughts on “Coconut Oil is for Eating. Butternut Squash, too.

  1. My Pilates instructor swears by it for her skin. She puts it on after a shower. Her only complaint is that it isn’t easy to slather on like most lotions are, nevertheless she loves it. Guess I need to go to TJ’s and buy some and try it myself!

  2. Thanks so much for this Debra. I have been seeing more and more health and ‘clean’ eating articles/TV shows saying to use coconut oil for good health (Dr. Oz, Dr. Alejandro Junger, etc.). Dr. Mark Hyman puts it in his shake each morning. I had never even seen it in its solid state before. It looks like Crisco! I had always thought we should avoid all palm oils. Just this past week I looked at it at Trader Joe’s and thought “I’m going to try this!” Now I have this great recipe to use.

    • Hi Leslie,
      Same here – we were told for YEARS to avoid all palm oils, but it’s only the hydrogenated oils that we should avoid. This recipe is super simple, and be careful. You really only need 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. I overdid it and had to pour some off. The solid state is deceiving. Let me know how it works out!

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