With Autumn approaching, keto followers often wonder, “is butternut squash keto?”. There is no yes or no answer to this question. Butternut squash is low carb, but it is also technically a fruit (and most fruits are usually a big NO on keto).
So, while butternut squash is not exactly keto friendly, IT CAN BE.
Nothing screams fall like cozy mornings, Halloween, and pumpkins! We are just at the cusp of Autumn, getting ready to indulge in hearty and yummy fall winter squash recipes – pumpkin spiced latte, pumpkin pie, roasted butternut squash, butternut squash soup… and the list goes on…
Feeling sad because you can't have any of those? Because you are on keto?
Don't worry. You can always create keto versions of your favorite fall foods. But for that, you need to know if squash itself is keto friendly or not.
There are different species of squash, and while we can't discuss them all today, we will talk about one in particular: Butternut Squash.
So, is butternut squash keto? Let's find out!
Butternut squash is a winter squash that grows on a vine. It is also known as Australian pumpkin, butternut pumpkin, and Gramma.
Butternut squash is long and oval. It has hard tan-yellow skin and fleshy orange pulp with the seeds at the blossom end.
This winter squash boasts a semi-sweet nutty flavor, due to which most people think butternut squash is a vegetable. But it is actually a fruit.
Over the past few years, butternut squash has become quite popular in the culinary world thanks to its versatility and unique flavor profile. It is consumed and prepared in variable ways.
Numerous butternut squash recipes are circling the internet. You can eat it raw, roasted, pureed, sauteed, cooked, air fried, etc. You can also use it to prepare a wide range of foods like muffins, casseroles, pies, bread, cookies, and more!
But people who follow a keto lifestyle must be careful about consuming such foods. You need to know if you can even eat butternut squash on keto. Keep on reading to find out.
Keto requires you to eat a high-fat, moderate protein, and very low-carb diet. So, anything that is high in carbohydrates should not be consumed on a ketogenic diet. However, it is a bit more complicated than that.
To stay in ketosis (the process of burning fat for energy), you have to make sure your body does not cross the daily carbohydrate threshold. This means that you can consume different foods containing carbs as long as you commit to the daily limit.
Some carb-rich foods like rice, wheat, pasta, and sugar are very high in carbohydrates, so they must be avoided at all costs. Others are not so much, so they can be eaten on a keto diet in moderation. One such food is butternut squash.
That said, butternut squash still has more carbs and sugars than cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, etc. So, we can't give you a simple yes or no answer to “is butternut squash keto?”.
But we can tell you that butternut squash can be keto friendly in moderation. You can fit it into your keto diet as long as you track and stick to the daily net carbs.
It is agonizing not being able to enjoy the warm, cozy, and roast-y flavors of butternut squash in fall. Thankfully, you won't have to bear this torture.
You can eat butternut squash on keto. Unlike many vegetables and fruits, butternut squash is not entirely off-limits. You can safely add this fall favorite to your low-carb keto diet in moderation.
Here are a few reasons why you can have butternut squash on keto:
- Low Net Carbs
Butternut squash has low net carbs. It is pretty low in calories compared to other starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.
One cup of cooked butternut squash has 22 grams of carbs and only 15 grams of net carbs [Source: USDA]. Therefore, it is one of the best foods to consume on a low-carb diet.
However, butternut squash is starchy, which makes it a less-than-ideal option for keto maniacs. So, you can only add it to your keto lifestyle in limited portions.
- Low Glycemic Index (GI)
Eating, in general, stimulates insulin production in the body, and too much insulin can knock you out of ketosis. So, if you are eating low-GI foods, there won't be a spike in your insulin levels.
You should not eat more than 50 grams of carbs a day to stay in ketosis [Source: Harvard].
Let's take a quick look at the nutritional profile of butternut squash to know how much you should be eating on a keto.
One cup of raw butternut squash contains: [Source: USDA]
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Total Carbs: 11.7 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Net Carbs: 9.7 carbs
So, you can safely eat a cup of raw butternut squash as it only has nearly 10 grams of carbs!
Butternut squash on its own is not keto friendly as it has a negligible amount of fat. But you can prepare it in a lot of different ways to make it a keto friendly snack or meal!
Note: Ensure you track your net carbs so you don't exceed the daily limit.
Now, let's see how you can turn butternut squash into keto friendly food. Here are some quick and easy ways to have butternut squash on keto:
- Pair with bacon: Pair some butter squash in any form with strips of bacon to add some fat and satiety!
- Pair with eggs: Eggs are an excellent keto friendly food. They pair well with butternut squash for a filling keto friendly breakfast!
- Pair with cheese and walnuts: Pair some roasted butternut squash with your favorite keto friendly cheese and walnuts for the perfect fall snack.
Here are some easy ways you can prepare butternut squash to add to your ketogenic diet:
- Roasted Butternut Squash: Remove the seeds and cut the butternut squash into cubes. Throw the pieces in the oven to roast. You can season it with your favorite spices!
- Butternut Squash Puree: Butternut squash puree is highly versatile, and you can use it to make many different dishes, like a comforting bowl of healthy pumpkin soup!
- Mashed Butternut Squash: Boil and mash butternut squash for a sweet, warm taste. You can use mashed butternut squash in a number of keto recipes!
- Grilled Butternut Squash: Slice up butternut squash and drizzle some olive oil. Now, grill the slices until they are caramelized.
Now we will share some yummy keto friendly butternut squash recipes that you'll love.
The earthy, nutty butternut squash with fragrant cinnamon and other spices will make a hearty filling dish. This warm spiced butternut squash soup is perfect for the season. And it has only 16 net carbs per bowl!
Here is a quick recipe for butternut squash soup.
- Butternut squash (4 pounds)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Water (7 cups)
- Apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon)
- Allspice (1 teaspoon)
- Black pepper (1 teaspoon)
- Cinnamon (1 stick)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Star Anise (1 pod)
- Thyme sprigs (6)
- Garlic (3 cloves)
- Onion chopped (1)
- Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Preserve the peel and seeds.
- Cut the flesh into cubes.
- Heat a Dutch oven over a high flame and add olive oil. Now add the seeds and peel. Sauté for 10 minutes on medium flame until golden brown.
- Add water, allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, and star anise to the Dutch oven.
- Let the mixture boil and reduce on low heat for 45 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl and discard the solids.
- Add some oil to a saucepan and cook the chopped onion and garlic cloves until translucent.
- Add cubed squash and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the strained broth and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 40 minutes until the squash is super tender.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and blend it.
- Finally, add salt, vinegar, and thyme springs.
Get the full recipe here: Warm-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Cheese-stuffed butternut squash is a tasty appetizer, but you can also eat it as a meal. The combination of creamy four cheese (quattro formaggi) mixture with butternut squash gives a unique blend of flavors and textures.
Overall, the keto stuffed butternut squash recipe is delicious comfort food for fall. The recipe will serve 8 and has only 4g net carbs!
Here is how you can make it:
- Butternut squash (1 whole)
- Cream cheese (4 ounces)
- Shredded parmesan cheese (½ cup)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
- Gorgonzola cheese (4 ounces)
- Garlic cloves (3)
- Fresh spinach (4 cups)
- Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
- Salt (to taste)
- Any mixed seasoning of choice
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the butternut squash in the middle and remove the seeds.
- Place each side on a baking tray with the inside of the squash facing upwards.
- Season the flesh of the squash with salt and seasoning.
- Bake on each side for 30 minutes until the squash is tender.
- Now prepare the four cheese filling by mixing the cheeses.
- Cook spinach with chopped garlic in olive oil.
- Now add the cooked spinach to the cheese mixture.
- Add the cheese filling to the butternut squash and mix it with the pulp.
- Now bake the filled squash for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Get the full recipe here: Four Cheese Stuffed Butternut Squash
Here is a quick recap:
- Is butternut squash low-carb?
- Is butternut squash keto friendly?
Yes, if consumed in moderation.
- How many net carbs are in raw butternut squash?
Only 10 grams of net carbs in one cup!
Butternut squash is a super healthy low-carb food. However, it is not the best keto food option out there. It is starchy, and if you are not careful, it can kick you out of ketosis.
You need to make sure to measure the serving size and track the macros to stick to your daily goals.
If you want to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below: