The snow already capping the Sierra peaks I can see across Lake Tahoe from our house turns my thoughts to crackling evening fires and comfort foods. With the chill in the air and Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided now would be a good time to search out some new and different twists on the savory flavors of fall.

One of my favorite autumn and winter vegetables is butternut squash. I love it as a thick soup; I love it as a savory puree with roast pork tenderloin; I love it as a substitute for yams in holiday casseroles; and I’m always on the lookout for tasty new ways to prepare it.

On a recent trip, I came across just such a recipe, while thumbing through the in-flight magazine after take off, waiting to reach cruising altitude to be told I could turn my approved electronic device to the ‘on position’, so that I could get out my iPod and silently work on learning all the music for my Santa Barbara Choral Society’s upcoming holiday concert.

We’re doing the Bach Magnificat (so lots of syllables and notes), the first movement of the Rutter Magnificat, the Poulenc Hodie Christus Natus Est, and a wide variety of holiday carols from around the world, including a couple in Russian. So lots to learn; thus my eagerness to turn my iPod to the ‘on position’.

The ‘on position’.

I loathe airline-speak. Whoever it is that writes the stuff the flight attendants have to read or memorize ought to take a course in communication. (Of course, the flight attendants, themselves, could often use a course in enunciation, so maybe it’s just as well that what they’re sing-songing to us is idiotic drivel.) But I have to wonder where they came up with ‘on position’ and ‘off position’ and ‘fully upright and locked position’ . What was wrong with the old standard ‘turn on’ as in ‘You may now turn on whatever it is you’ve brought on board to amuse yourself with during the flight, as long as it doesn’t transmit or receive a signal.’

Clearly, we fly too much. And I digress…back to squash.

The recipe that I ran across (with my magazine in the open position) combined roasted butternut squash, rosemary, and shallots.

As Rachael Ray would say: Yum-O!

It wasn’t too much of a carb challenge as written, although there was some sugar involved, but I decided that apart from ditching the sucrose, there were a few other minor modifications I could make that would drop the carb load even more and be delicious and nutritious to boot.

So when we got home, I set about to do just that. My version is savory and slightly sweet with just a little heat and spice in the background. Here’s the result:

Roasted Butternut Squash with Celeriac, Chiles, and Shallots

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 cup celeriac (celery root), peeled and diced
1 fresh poblano or pasilla pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
3 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packet Splenda or Stevia
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Place the diced squash, pepper, and shallots on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the cinnamon, sweetener, salt, and pepper and toss to coat.
2. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Stir, and continue roasting for another 10 minutes until tender.
3. Meanwhile, place the diced celeriac into a sauce pan, cover with water, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
4. When squash and shallots are tender, add the celery root to the roasting pan and roast for another 5 or 6 minutes.
5. Check seasonings and serve.



  1. I love butternut squash, too, and your recipe sounds delicious. I’ll have to give it a try. Any idea how many carbs it is per serving?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: It’s pretty low, probably around 5 per half cup, maybe less. Unfortunately, I’m hamstrung right now in accessing my Food Processor software, which is on my limping old PC and not on my shiny new iMac. So I don’t have the ability to analyze it right at my fingertips, yet. I will in time, but not yet.

  2. I love butternut squash! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve never tried celeriac…is that fresh or dried?

    Does it freeze well?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: It’s fresh. I’ve never tried to freeze it before cooking it, but the prepared puree (mashed celeriac) such as I would serve in place of mashed potatoes does freeze pretty well, particularly in those little vacuum sealers that get the bulk of the air out.

  3. Funny story, I actually discovered butternut squash when I was looking for another kind of squash (can’t remember if it was banana or some other kind). When they didn’t have it, the produce person suggested butternut and I’ve loved it ever since! So thanks for the recipe!

    I think it’s important to note that I think recipes like this are extremely important in a low-carb diet. When people are faced with eating more meat and vegetables than they normally would, it’s very hard to come up with ways to make both “exciting.” Many times, people just eat vegetables as they are or meat with some sort of sauce, but both get boring pretty fast. If more people had ways to brighten their vegetables (and breadth thereof) my guess is more people would be successful at staying on a low-carb lifestyle.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Our feeling, precisely, and why we developed our tv show for PBS.

  4. Sounds delicious!

    Can you recommend a “good & proper” oil to make blender mayonnaise with? I’ve been using expeller-pressed safflower, but seems to me that I heard safflower doesn’t have the right combination of omegas. EVOO turns harsh and bitter in the blender.

    The only other cooking fats I use are butter, coconut oil, or lard. Can’t make mayo from any of them, unfortunately. I suspect that the coconut oil I’ve got is probably not good either because it doesn’t smell like coconut (which is a good thing), so it’s probably been deodorized (not a good thing). Oy! What’s a cook to do?


    COMMENT from MD EADES: For just ‘everyday’ oil, I use Bertolli “Light” olive oil since it doesn’t have much of an olive oil flavor, but avocado oil, walnut oil, and even macadamia nut oil can work.

  5. seems that there are alot of carbs in the butternut squash….?
    How is that rationalized?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: My nutritional compendium says there’s only about 6 grams of non-fiber carb in 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash. That’s pretty reasonable, it seems to me.

  6. There is a lot going on in this recipe- the rosemary, poblano, celeriac, etc. It sounds so good that I am making it for Thanksgiving.

    I have also printed out your recipe for Green Pea and Asparagus Casserole, but I am interested in trying the “original” recipe. This may sound crazy, but I would very much appreciate it if you would post the ingredients in the original. I am thinking that it was just flour instead of the Thick ‘N Thin?
    Thanks, Karen

    COMMENT from MD EADES: And right you would be. You simply make a traditional white sauce with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour and the 2 cups of liquid reserved from draining the canned peas and asparagus, then add the cheese and make the alternating layers. The switch saves about 30 grams of carb in the entire recipe.

  7. Thank you very much. As opposed as I am to the added carbs (and 30 grams is a lot!) of the original recipe, I do appreciate that it was made out of “love” and like to know the traditional family history of such dishes.

    It’s interesting how many traditional/generational passed dishes are completely “out of bounds” on a low-carb diet. I think a lot of that is the “acculturation” of the 50’s.

    Maybe I’ll skip the original and opt for the low carb version… but thank you for the original. It certainly drives home how many carbs there are in the original!
    Much love,
    Karen J
    COMMENT from MD EADES: You’re welcome. It also shows that a little flour goes a long way to running up the carbs. Happy Holidays!

  8. I clicked on the Butternut Squash Soup link on your Thanksgiving Menu and it took me to this delicious sounding dish, but it isn’t soup. Where’s the soup?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: When we migrated to the new version of Word Press, I think some of the links got lost. Sorry. I’ll put it up in a new post today and try to go back and fix the links when I have the time.

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