Butternut squash is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. Cooking it in an air fryer is a healthy and quick way to bring out its natural sweetness and create a crispy texture. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of cooking butternut squash in an air fryer, the ingredients required, and a step-by-step guide to cooking it perfectly. We'll also go over tips and tricks for getting that perfect crispy texture, the best seasoning options, and recipes that incorporate this delicious vegetable.
Benefits of cooking butternut squash in the air fryer
There are many benefits to cooking butternut squash in an air fryer. First and foremost, it is a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods as it uses little to no oil. The high temperature and circulating air in the air fryer cooking basket creates a crispy exterior while still keeping the inside tender and moist. Additionally, using an air fryer saves time as it cooks the squash quickly and efficiently.
Another benefit of cooking butternut squash in an air fryer is that it allows for more versatility in seasoning and flavoring. With traditional frying methods, the oil can mask or overpower the natural flavors of the squash. However, with an air fryer, you can season the squash with a variety of herbs and spices to enhance its natural sweetness and nuttiness.
Lastly, cooking butternut squash in an air fryer is a great way to reduce food waste. Often times, when cooking squash in the oven or on the stove, the ends or edges can become overcooked or burnt. With an air fryer, the circulating air ensures that the squash is evenly cooked, reducing the likelihood of any parts going to waste.
Ingredients required to cook butternut squash in air fryer
The ingredients required for air frying butternut squash are simple. You'll need:
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- Salt and pepper to taste
Air frying butternut squash is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy this fall favorite. Not only is it easy to make, but it also requires minimal ingredients. In addition to the ingredients listed above, you can also add some cinnamon or nutmeg to give the squash a warm and cozy flavor.
When preparing the butternut squash, make sure to peel it and remove the seeds before cutting it into small cubes. This will ensure that the squash cooks evenly and becomes crispy on the outside while remaining tender on the inside. Once you've seasoned the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper, place it in the air fryer basket and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until it's golden brown and crispy.
Step-by-step guide to cooking butternut squash in air fryer
Follow these steps to cook butternut squash in an air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
- Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp.
- Cut the squash into small cubes or slices and brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Season the squash with salt and pepper.
- Place the cubed or sliced squash in the air fryer basket, making sure they are in a single layer.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes, shaking the basket every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
- When the squash is golden brown and fork-tender, remove it from the air fryer and serve immediately.
Butternut squash is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and potassium. It's also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and side dishes. Cooking it in an air fryer is a quick and easy way to enjoy its delicious flavor and health benefits.
Tips and tricks to get the perfect crispy texture when cooking butternut squash in air fryer
If you want to achieve the perfect crispy texture when cooking butternut squash in an air fryer, follow these tips and tricks:
- Cut the squash into similar-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
- Brush the squash with olive oil or spray with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the air fryer basket.
- Shake the air fryer basket every few minutes to make sure the squash is evenly cooked and crispy on all sides.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket. Leave enough space for the hot air to circulate around the squash.
- If you're cooking a large batch of squash, do it in batches instead of overcrowding the air fryer basket.
Another tip to get the perfect crispy texture when cooking butternut squash in an air fryer is to preheat the air fryer before adding the squash. This will ensure that the squash starts cooking immediately and will help to prevent it from becoming soggy.
Additionally, you can experiment with different seasonings to add flavor to your butternut squash. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg for a sweet and savory flavor, or add some garlic powder and paprika for a more savory taste.
How long to cook butternut squash in air fryer
The cooking time for butternut squash in an air fryer varies depending on the size and texture of the squash. Typically, it takes between 10-15 minutes to cook the squash until it is fork-tender and golden brown. To ensure it is cooked properly, shake the air fryer basket every 5 minutes.
It is important to note that the cooking time may also vary depending on the air fryer model and brand. It is recommended to consult the manufacturer's instructions for specific cooking times and temperatures.
Additionally, before cooking the butternut squash in the air fryer, it is recommended to peel and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut the squash into small, even-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. You can also season the squash with your favorite spices or herbs for added flavor.
Best seasoning options for butternut squash cooked in air fryer
The butternut squash has a mild and sweet flavour that pairs well with a variety of seasonings. Here are some of the best seasoning options:
- Cinnamon and nutmeg for a fall-inspired flavour
- Rosemary and thyme for a savoury taste
- Paprika and cumin for a spicy kick
- Lemon zest and garlic for a bright and fresh taste
When cooking butternut squash in an air fryer, it's important to keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the squash. It's recommended to cut the squash into small, evenly sized pieces to ensure they cook evenly. Additionally, you can add a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkle of salt and pepper to enhance the natural flavour of the squash.
Delicious and healthy recipes using air fried butternut squash
Here are some delicious and healthy recipes using air fried butternut squash:
- Butternut squash and kale salad
- Butternut squash soup
- Butternut squash and quinoa salad
- Butternut squash and chickpea stew
How to store leftover air fried butternut squash
To store leftover air fried butternut squash, let it cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat it in the air fryer for a few minutes to crisp it up again.
Frequently asked questions about cooking butternut squash in an air fryer
Here are some frequently asked questions about cooking butternut squash in an air fryer:
- Can you cook frozen butternut squash in an air fryer?
- Yes, but it will take longer to cook and may not be as crispy as fresh squash.
- Can you cook butternut squash with the skin on in an air fryer?
- Yes, but the skin may become tough and chewy. It's best to peel the squash before cooking.
- What other vegetables can you cook in an air fryer?
- You can cook a variety of vegetables in an air fryer, such as sweet potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Nutritional benefits of incorporating butternut squash into your diet
Butternut squash is a nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fibre. Incorporating butternut squash into your diet can help with digestion, boost immunity, and promote healthy skin and eyesight.
Comparing the nutritional value of air-fried vs other cooking methods for butternut squash
Cooking butternut squash in an air fryer retains more nutrients than other cooking methods such as boiling or frying. Boiling can cause the squash to lose some of its nutrients in the water, while frying can add unnecessary calories and fat. Air frying is a healthy and efficient way to cook butternut squash while keeping its nutritional benefits intact.
Different ways to serve and enjoy your air-fried butternut squash
Here are some different ways to serve and enjoy your air-fried butternut squash:
- As a side dish with grilled chicken or fish
- As a topping for salads or buddha bowls
- In a soup or stew
- As a healthy snack with hummus or guacamole
Now that you know how to cook butternut squash in an air fryer and some of the different ways to enjoy it, why not try it out for yourself and enjoy the delicious and nutritious benefits of this versatile vegetable!