Chili-Peanut Squash Fries

Normally, I’m not a fan of cheese.

I don’t mean the goat, asiago, or gouda variety – of course not, I adore those. I mean the shmaltzy, insincere cliches that husbands and Valentine’s Day cards like to throw out every once in a while when they really can’t think of anything better to say.

But sometimes, cheese isn’t so bad.

The other day I was prematurely lamenting about getting old. Prematurely because if you know how old I am, you’ll tell me it’s certainly not enough to start feeling old. But speaking relative to how young I was when Ben and I first met, I’m starting to get up there, indeed. In a moment of weakness I asked if I was still as pretty as I was 8 years ago (when I was, ahem, 19) and he replied “No, you’re more beautiful every year that passes.” Awww. 


He could have stopped there. But instead, he went on.  “You’re like a fine wine, you get better with age.”  Well, normally that’s not my kind of thing, but I let it go, with just a little snort.

I can’t help but wonder, though, whether that will always be the case. Surely there will be a time when wrinkles and gray hairs and my saggy deflated balloon bosom leave him thinking I was prettier the year before. But hopefully, when that happens, my mind will still be intact. Because as long as it is, I can count on doing things better than I did in the years before. With more creativity, finesse, and expertise.

Things like making squash fries. Because obviously, it’s a very important skill to have in a household where burgers are one of the most favored dinner entrees. A couple years ago, I thought I had discovered how to make the best squash fries, and I even described them to you in a fair amount of detail, stopping short of giving them their own post.

And then I got the idea for these squash fries which turned out to be so good that we ate them roughly 1.43 times per week, 3 weeks in a row. Thus, they deserve a post of their own.

Baking them on top of a wire rack allows the heat to circulate evenly throughout, which, when combined with an egg white coating and a dusting of starchy peanut flour, leaves them perfectly crisp on the outside and tender inside. A dash of chili powder gives them that uncanny ability to move straight from pan to mouth, bypassing the plate if you’re not careful enough to have the rest of your meal ready at the same time. They’re sweet and nutty and spicy all at the same time, and if that’s not enough for you, feel free to dunk them in honey mustard or avocado yogurt sauce, like we have. And because they’re made with low-calorie, fiber- and vitamin-rich squash, they truly are as good for you as they taste.

They’re really, really good, but I won’t call them the best. Nope, I can’t go there yet. Because if Ben is right (and he is, pretty often) the best is yet to come. For now, these are pretty darn fantastic.
 .

Chili-Peanut Squash Fries

3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled and sliced into thin strips*
1 egg white
2 tablespoons peanut flour (such as Bell Plantation PB2)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Spray the rack with cooking spray.

Place the cut squash in a large bowl and add the egg white. Use your hands to toss until the fries are completely coated. Add the peanut flour and chili powder, and toss to coat thoroughly.

Arrange the fries in a single layer on the wire rack. Transfer the rack (with the baking sheet underneath) to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the fries are tender and lightly browned all over, turning once.

*For best results, choose a large squash with a long neck and use the neck part for your fries. The remainder of the squash can be roasted and pureed, and you can use it just like you would use pumpkin puree (and if you don’t know how to use pumpkin other than in pumpkin bread or pie, I’ve got plenty of pumpkin recipes for you!) Slice the squash into very thin strips, as uniformly as possible, so that they cook evenly.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 113.5
Total Fat 1.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 79.9 mg
Potassium 637.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Sugars 4.8 g
Protein 7.3 g

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14 Responses to “Chili-Peanut Squash Fries”

  1. 1

    Lauren — June 3, 2011 @ 11:35 am Reply

    These fries look delicious! I made pb-coated taro (or was it parsnip?) fries a while ago, and I love the idea of using butternut squash. 

  2. 2

    junia @ mis pensamientos — June 3, 2011 @ 1:22 pm Reply

    butternut squash fries sound amazing! what did you use to cut them? i find it so difficult to cut!

  3. 3

    Dawn Hutchins — June 3, 2011 @ 2:29 pm Reply

    You outdid yourself on these girl.  I have a kabocha squash I might try this with!

  4. 4

    Cara — June 3, 2011 @ 2:58 pm Reply

    Just a sharp santoku knife – a good knife is key!

  5. 5

    elly — June 3, 2011 @ 3:32 pm Reply

    Hmm these sound really interesting. I like the flavors in them and I know Z would pretty much down them. I am still so hesitant about the PB2 though. Hah.

  6. 6

    Cara — June 3, 2011 @ 5:55 pm Reply

    In what way? It's not a chemical-y or unnatural product at all! Just a natural nut flour which has most of the fat pressed out :)

  7. 7

    Joanne — June 3, 2011 @ 7:19 pm Reply

    First of all, you are insanely adorable and look approximately my age, so I wouldn't worry too much about looking old.  And damn these look amazing.  Peanut flour.  Heaven.  Butternut squash fries.  Heaven.  See what I'm saying?

  8. 8

    Maggie — June 3, 2011 @ 8:33 pm Reply

    These look terrific. Only problem is a husband with nut/peanut allergies. Do you think they would work without the peanut flour?

  9. 9

    Cara — June 3, 2011 @ 8:39 pm Reply

    Thanks, Maggie! I think some kind of flour is needed to help "crisp" theoutside (though I don't mean to imply they come out very batter-y orbreaded, they don't!). I was thinking about trying them with coconut flour,or chickpea flour too. Both have a similar consistency to peanut flour, andneither has a flour-y taste; I think the flavors would compliment the squashjust like the peanut flour does. Let me know what you end up using!

  10. 10

    Kate Dwyer — June 4, 2011 @ 5:35 am Reply

    I can handle cheese – but it's kind of in a tongue in cheek way.

  11. 11

    Lora — June 4, 2011 @ 7:36 am Reply

    These look delectable!

  12. 12

    Barbara — June 4, 2011 @ 2:22 pm Reply

    Interesting, Cara. I thought at first they were sweet potato fries. What a super idea. I love butternut squash roasted, so why not fries?

  13. 13

    Nicole, RD — June 10, 2011 @ 12:37 am Reply

    Those look awwwwesome! I've tried sweet potato fries, but these sound even better with the peanut twist!

  14. 14

    grace — June 10, 2011 @ 10:04 am Reply

    someone trained your hubby well! :)meanwhile, terrific fries–i like their uniqueness and the zesty flavors!

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