Super foods recipe: butternut squash casserole with papaya

Succulent butternut squash, delicate papaya and firm borlotti (also called romano) beans make a satisfying one-pot meal that helps keep blood glucose levels steady.

Super foods recipe:  butternut squash casserole with papaya

Cooking a squash casserole

Serve with a side salad of mixed greens. A good, low-fat source of protein, beans also have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they provide a steady energy release without causing spikes in blood glucose levels. The borlotti beans in this recipe are rich in lysine, an essential protein-building amino acid that is often lacking in plant proteins.

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  10 minutes
Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 (about 600 g/1 1/4 lbs) butternut squash
  • 1 medium papaya
  • 1 red onion
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil or canola oil
  • 4 to 6 large fresh sage leaves
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) orange juice
  • 1 can (400 g/14 oz) borlotti beans, drained

Method:

  1. Peel and seed the butternut squash and dice the flesh into 1.9 centimetre (3/4 inch) chunks. Seed and peel the papaya, slice it and set aside. Thinly slice the onion.
  2. Heat the oil in a large covered frying pan. Add the onion and squash and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for one minute. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low, cover the pan, and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Shred the sage leaves and stir them into the pan with the cinnamon and orange juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for two minutes, stirring once, until squash is tender but not soft.
  4. Stir in the beans, cover the pan and heat gently for two minutes. Top with the papaya and serve immediately.

A few more cooking ideas

  • Try other types of squash if butternut is not available.
  • Replace the papaya with mango, which goes well with squash. Select a ripe but firm mango, peel and slice it off the pit and cut the flesh into chunks. While papaya mellows the flavour of the orange juice, mango accentuates its tanginess.
  • Substitute chickpeas or cannellini beans for the borlotti beans.
  • For a meaty version of this dish, broil and slice four good-quality sausages and gently add them to the mixture before serving.

Helpful chef's tips

  • To prepare papaya, cut the fruit in half and scoop out the round, black seeds with a spoon. Peel the thin skin from the fruit with a knife.
  • Cut onions in half before slicing them so the cut side can be placed flat on a cutting board to prevent the onionf rom slipping.

Key nutrients: 

  • 179 Calories
  • 4 g Fat
  • 1 g Saturated Fat
  • 29 g Carbohydrates
  • 7 g Protein
  • 9 g Fibre

It's that simple! Now you know how to make a delicious and healthy butternut squash casserole with papaya. Time to get cooking!

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