In fall, winter squashes appear in supermarkets and at farmers markets including butternut squash, which is lovely in so many comforting fall dishes. Here’s how to roast butternut squash, two ways.
The leaves are changing colors. More days are sweater weather than not. It’s the time of apple picking and pie baking; watching kids play soccer and seeing my son run cross country. School has been in session for nearly a month and a half. And the costume store that opens every fall is long up and running.
All of that can mean only one thing: It’s autumn. And with autumn comes the arrival of fall vegetables including (oh, the irony) winter squashes like butternut squash.
A staple of New England farm stands and cooking, there are many ways to prepare and enjoy butternut squash. The two methods here – roasting butternut squash halves and roasting butternut squash cubes – are good basic cooking methods that can be used in many ways.
What is Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash is a winter squash that has one bulbous end and a thinner, more cylindrical shaped other end. Sizes and weights of butternut squash vary. With orange flesh that can be mashed easily when cooked, the flavor of butternut squash is sweet, but not too sweet. It’s often used in more savory applications such as soups, salads and pastas. Though, technically speaking, a butternut squash is a fruit that – according to The Story of Food, published by DK Publishing – is a relative of watermelons and other melons (as well as cucumbers and other squashes).
How to Roast Butternut Squash Halves
First, remove the stem with a very shallow slice. Next, cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise. You’ll need a large, sharp knife for this, and will want to be careful – it can be a bit challenging.
Using a spoon, scoop out the sinewy innards and seeds to a bowl. Take care to scrape the slimy bits from the hollow.
Stop! Before you toss those seeds, you should know that they are edible. Roasted Squash Seeds are delightful as a snack, a salad topper and more.
Now, back to cooking. Brush the cut size of the butternut squash with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper (or other desired seasonings). Place on a baking sheet, cut size up. I like to line my baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Halves: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slide the baking sheet in. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and use as desired.
How to Use Roasted Butternut Squash Halves: Roasted butternut squash halves are good mashed and used in soup. You can also use the mashed flesh to make dips, spreads and sauces.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Cubed
First, peel the butternut squash. You’ll want to remove all of the tough outer later.
Remove the stem with a very shallow slice and slice the bottom (blossom end) off as well. Now cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise. You’ll need a large, sharp knife for this, and will want to be careful – it can be a bit challenging.
Cut the butternut squash into two parts by cutting just above the bulbous end.
Cut the long, thinner end in half and then cube it. Place into a mixing bowl.
Cut the bulbous end in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the sinewy innards and seeds to a bowl. Take care to scrape the slimy bits from the hollow. Discard (or clean the squash seeds and roast them!). Dice the flesh and place into the mixing bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil. I use 1-2 tablespoons per butternut squash. Season as desired (shown here: salt and pepper). Toss well to coat and evenly distribute the seasonings.
Spread the cubed squash on a baking sheet. I line mine with foil for easy cleanup.
How to Roast Butternut Squash Cubed: Bake for 20 minutes without disturbing. Stir and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes to desired doneness (10 minutes will result in a soft all over cube; 20 minutes will result in crusted exterior with a soft interior).
How to Use Roasted Butternut Squash Cubed: Roasted butternut squash that’s been cubed is lovely on salads, as a side dish, in rice and grain bowls, in wraps and more.
More Butternut Squash Recipes:
- Butternut Squash and Sage Gnocchi
- Easy Butternut Squash Alfredo
- Butternut Squash, Toasted Walnut and Dried Cranberry Salad
- Butternut Squash Vegan Buddha Bowl on Veggies Save the Day
- Paleo Butternut Squash with Maple on Confessions of an Overworked Mom
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.