one green planet
one green planet

In the culinary world, there are several everlasting debates that aren’t likely to be solved in the near future. Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? How about corn? Is a butternut squash secretly masquerading as cheese?

You got us — only a select few have ever asked, let alone wondered about, that last question before. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that has a distinct, elongated shape (some people say that it has a “goose neck”), a hard shell, and a sweet, nutty flavor reminiscent of pumpkin. Delicious? Yes. But cheese it is not. One man has recently made the news because he was unable to decipher the difference between the two.

According to a story on SBNation, a bewildered grocery shopper named James Dator looked on as a confused man tried to return the cubed butternut squash he had purchased from the store, on the grounds that it was not a box of cheese, as he had initially presumed.

“A very confused man is attempting to return his open diced butternut squash because he thought it was a giant box of cubed cheese,” Dator tweeted.

Here’s the kicker. The grocery store wouldn’t allow the woe-begotten man to return his squash because he had already opened the package. We here at One Green Planet urge him to look at this mishap not only as an opportunity, but as a blessing in disguise. Being that traditional dairy is on its way out (did you know the non-dairy cheese industry is set to be worth $3.5 billion by 2023?), now is the perfect time for everyone to replace cheese in our diets and embrace plant-based deliciousness as the superior alternative.

Squash Your Disappointment, and Learn to Love Your Butternut Squash

Luckily for the mysterious grocery shopper, there is an abundance of recipes he can use his butternut squash in to make the most of his purchase — in fact, he can even use it to make plant-based cheese! We browsed through our Food Monster App to present the world with some of our favorite butternut squash concoctions. Check them out!

Behold the glory of this gluten-free Butternut Squash Burger by our blogger Gabrielle St. Claire.

Is anybody else in awe of how high that butternut squash patty towers? This burger packs in an assortment of veggies and herbs, which means you get to enjoy a burger and nourish your body nutrients. The best part is that unlike cheese, these burgers contain no processed ingredients. The recipe uses affordable ingredients and requires minimal effort.

If you’re a fan of spice, look no further than this Spicy Butternut Dal recipe by Jenny Mustard.

This vibrant meal is the perfect easy-to-make lunch. It begins with a medley of garlicky butternut squash, mushrooms, onions, lentil, and cabbage which is then topped with a rich red tomato passata. Serve with rice and garnish with butternut seeds for a dish that is filling without being heavy and warming and spicy, yet tummy friendly.

You won’t miss cheese after making this Butternut Squash Risotto With Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts by Kelly Williams.

We can’t stop drooling over this rich, creamy risotto. The pure, clean scent of sage in this recipe complements butternut squash like a dream. Topped with toasted hazelnuts, the flavors in this butternut squash risotto are transcendent.

If you’re unyielding about the cheese then this allergy-friendly, gluten-free Super Creamy Mac and Cheese by Danielle Dewar is for you.

See? We told you butternut squashes made a mean nut-free and soy-free plant-based cheese.

If you’re loving these takes on butternut squash and want to continue exploring all the wonders of plant-based cooking, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Butternut Squash Risotto With Sage and Toasted Hazelnuts