Vegetable recipes for kids can be hard to find – these butternut squash fries are an easy crowd pleaser that kids and adults alike will love! Crispy and sweet, these squash fries take little prep to get together and a little oven time to make a perfect kid friendly side dish. Serve them during butternut squash season or year round – from your Thanksgiving table to a next to your weeknight chicken nuggets, this versatile, kid friendly vegetable is sure to please. These baked fries are coated in healthy olive oil before caramelizing and sweetening in the oven for an amazing treat!
“Isn’t that hard to cut?!”
That’s what my dad said when we went to Whole Food together because we each needed a few things and decided to grab lunch with the boys there. I was planning to make these fabulous butternut squash fries with dinner, and my dad was asking me what I planned to make with the giant squash.
Here’s the thing: my dad is a self-proclaimed, life loving bachelor. He has a long time girlfriend we all adore, but he lives alone, cooks for himself most nights, and loves it. Which means he usually goes for any and all convenience foods, including precut veggies. Because of this, my dad, like many people, has some insane notion in his mind that cutting a butternut squash is the work of the devil. IDK guys, it’s not that bad.
Truth is, butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables, no matter the time of year. These butternut squash fries are not only a super simple way to serve it up, but a really awesome way to get pick eaters to eat veggies, since they are in the form of a kid friendly side – french fries.
Tips to making butternut squash fries
- When you’re looking to make butternut squash fries, you’ll want to peel the squash first. I find it usually takes me about 2 rounds of peeling to get through the thick skin, but after that I’m gold.
- Next, bake a cut where the squash balloons out. This will give you a section of nothing but squash which is easy to turn into fries, and the bulbous bottom with seeds. Cut the stem and base off while you’re at it.
- Slice the bulb part in half, remove the seeds with a spoon, and slice. These will be less “fry” like, so they’re usually the ones I serve myself.
- Slice the remaining bit into 1/2 inch slices bore cutting into fries. I suggest cutting into bigger fries over matchstick style as they have more surface area and are more likely to crisp versus get over soft.
- If you’d like, add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to the seasoning of the fries.
- When turning and later removing from the sheet pan, do so gently. These aren’t as firm as traditional fries, especially before they crisp up.
These butternut squash fries are a simple recipe for picky eaters – my kids gobbled them up when I served them with dip (I just mixed Greek yogurt with their beloved ketchup, but I think a cinnamon honey Greek yogurt dip would be awesome!)
The thing about kids and vegetables, in my experience, is that unless your life is very heavily focused on healthy eating and you stick to that, kids don’t like vegetables because they can. Who knows the real reason. While my kids do eat pretty healthy, they are definitely your average American kids – Ryan would love to live off nothing but mac and cheese, pizza, and quesadillas, while Owen will run around the house shouting “CHICKEN TENDERS” at the top of his lungs.
“Vegetables, ick!” is a popular refrain around dinner time.
But stick to your guns, guys – keep using tricks like making vegetables look more kid friendly, continuing to serve a vegetable with every meal (even if they don’t eat it!) and using sneaky tactics like hidden veggie meals to get the exposures in. Lead by example, try to get them involved – I promise, it will all pay off in the end!
Butternut Squash Fries
This kid friendly vegetable recipe is something your kids won’t whine about getting on their plates – butternut squash fries are an easy way to introduce a different vegetable in a form they’re comfortable with!
Butternut Squash Fries
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450.
Peel your squash and then cut into sticks.
On a baking sheet, toss with oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and return for another 10-15 minutes.
Okay so tell me – what vegetable are your kids afraid of? What vegetables to do you buy the convenience version of? Let me know in the comments!
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