Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Let's face it, there's literally pumpkin spice flavored everything at this point. From dog food, to SPAM everyone's jumping on the pumpkin spice train and TBH I'm kind of over it. One thing I'm not over, butternut squash.
Don't get me wrong I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin butter, but not everything pumpkin spice flavored has actual pumpkin in it. The real stars are the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, gloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom in some cases. So take these same spices and add them to butternut squash, and you get something just different enough to make you fall in love with fall all over again.
So how does butternut squash stack up to pumpkin? Nutritionally they are both powerhouses.
Squash: high in beta carotene, rich in vitamins A & C, potassium, magnesium, packed with fiber and loaded with manganese (key in helping relieve PMS symptoms) .
Pumpkin: provides over 280% of the RDV of Vitamin A, high in Iron, packed with Tryptophan an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels in the brain, also known to have a diuretic effect and can reduce inflammation in the prostate (tell you male counterparts this next time they scoff at your PS addiction)!
So really it all boils down to taste! I use them interchangeably in recipes, so don't be afraid to mix things up. Now for the good stuff, MUFFINS!
Crunchy hazelnuts, the perfect amount of spice & dark chocolate make these muffins just a little different from your typical pumpkin bread.
HAZELNUT PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN RECIPE
Serves 12 - inspired by @RachLMansfield
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 flax eggs (3 tbsp ground flax + 9 tbsp water)
3/4 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Paleo Flour*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with cooking spray or line with muffin cups. Mix together flax seed and water in small bowl. Let rest for 2-3 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to break up any clumps. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, flax eggs, vanilla and squash/pumpkin puree. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes in pan. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in fridge or freezer.
These babies happen to be gluten free, paleo-ish, and vegan (if you use vegan chocolate chips) but they prefer the #nolabellife because food is just food.
*I have not tested other flours, but Rachels original recipe uses 1 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour. I'm sure that all purpose or a gluten free flour blend would also work.