Winter squash is nutrient dense, versatile in the kitchen, and delicious to boot. Need some ideas of how to put it to use? Here are some easy ways to prepare this golden, seasonal vegetable.
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What I like best about butternut squash is its versatility. The golden flesh can dress up all sophisticated-like in savory dishes, or it can dabble in sweet fare like pie.
Because winter squash is harvested in the fall, it usually signifies cozy fall recipes. However, butternut squash stores well and can stay fresh for over a year under optimal storage conditions! So I like to eat it year-round.
(If you don’t have optimal storage conditions, watch my video about how I freeze butternut squash to preserve it!)
Winter Squash vs. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is one type of winter squash. Pumpkin, buttercup, acorn, and hubbard are a few other popular types of winter squash. Since butternuts store the longest, I use up the other varieties first.
Although they can all be used interchangeably, I like to cook with them separately and enjoy the subtleties of flavor.
Roasting Butternut Squash – 2 Ways
Butternut squash is most often roasted. It is a delicious and nutritious treat eaten with a bit of oil and salt all on its own, but below I share four of my favorite recipes that use roasted winter squash.
1: Whole Roasted Butternut Squash
This is the easiest way to roast winter squash.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Put the whole squash or squashes on a cookie sheet and stick in the oven for 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours (stem included!). The roasting time depends on how large the squash is. You’ll know when it’s done when you can stick a fork through it.
- Let cool for about an hour.
- Now pull the top off and start peeling. The peel should come right off for the most part.
- Cut in half and scoop out seeds.
- Now you can put the whole thing in the food processor and blend until smooth for a puree (use it like you would pumpkin puree–think soup, stew, or myriad dessert ways). Or you can chop the flesh into soft pieces that lend themselves well to being added to soups.
2: Cubed and Roasted Butternut Squash
There’s not really a name for this method, so I call it cube-roasted.
- Simply peel, de-seed, and chop the flesh into cubes prior to roasting. Take note that some types of winter squash–like butternut–can be a challenge to cut raw. Good luck!
- In a bowl, mix the squash cubes with 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat like melted coconut oil or–my favorite–avocado oil, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Omit the salt if the roasted squash will be added to a recipe that includes salt.)
- Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, then spread the cubes on top in a single layer.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 40-60 minutes, until golden brown.
- Enjoy while hot as a side dish, snack, or even breakfast (try with a sprinkle of cinnamon) or add to recipes calling for roasted and cubed squash.
4 of My Favorite Ways to Enjoy Winter Squash
The following are my four favorite ways to use winter squash. A pureed squash or pumpkin soup almost always makes an appearance in my meal plans, but the following recipes are so unique AND easy that I use them more often than soup.
1: Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash
A sweet-salty combo with some pecan crunch, reminiscent of Thanksgiving. There is a bit of prep work to this one, so I double or triple the recipe to make it worth it. Get the recipe here.
2: Roasted Squash with Cinnamon and Raisins
An easy side dish and much less work than recipe #1.
When I schedule a week of winter squash in my meal plan, I peel and cube lots of them at once and keep them in a container in the fridge. Then I can use them in oven-roasted recipes as called for without doing the prep work.
Instructions for making Roasted Squash with Cinnamon and Raisins:
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil
- Peel, de-seed, and cube one winter squash (about 2-3 cups cubed)
- In a bowl, mix the cubed squash with the melted coconut oil and a few pinches each of cinnamon and salt.
- Add 2 tablespoons of raisins
- Optionally add 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds or walnuts
- Spread parchment paper inside a casserole dish, then spread the squash mixture on top.
- Bake for 40 minutes
- Stir and sprinkle with coconut flakes (optional) before serving.
Makes a great side dish. Sorry about the lame-o picture above. This recipe is definitely more delicious than the picture lets on. Pinky promise!
3: Pumpkin Puree with Sage Butter
Watch out, this sophisticate will surprise you. It’s as easy as…well…it’s easier than pie!
- Roast a small pie or sugar pumpkin per the Whole Roasted Squash instructions above.
- Cool for an hour and just before the hour’s up, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp dried, powdered sage in a small pot on the stovetop.
- Peel the pumpkin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Put the flesh in a food processor (here’s mine–works like a charm!) with the sage butter and blend until smooth. Add more salt or sage to taste if needed.
- Now pour the pumpkin puree back into the small pot. Heat on medium-low until warm and serve.
p.s. It is spectacular as a side to Chicken Thighs with Honey Mustard Sauce.
4: Roasted Root Vegetables
I love mixing cubed butternut squash with other root vegetables and roasting them together. The mixed flavors always balance each other out and are super delicious, no matter the combo.
Here’s a video of me roasting butternut squash with other root vegetables. In it, I share one of my favorite recipes (hint: if you’re a curry fan, you’ll love this one!).
A Boatload of Winter Squash Recipes
My friends are seriously great cooks, so I asked them to share their winter squash recipes and this is what they came up with: tried-and-true, family favorites. If my “4 favorites” above don’t suit your tastebuds, you’ll certainly find something in the list below!
Winter Squash Breakfast Recipes
- Butternut Squash Grits by Homespun Seasonal Living
- Pumpkin Nut Sourdough Muffins by Reformation Acres
- Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Bars by Homespun Seasonal Living
- Squaffles (Squash Waffles) by Common Sense Homesteading
Winter Squash Dinner Recipes
- Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach and Cranberries by Learning and Yearning
- Fast and Easy Vegetable Noodles by Joybilee Farm
- Fried Squash Blossoms by The Homesteading Hippy
- Hubbard Squash and Sausage Soup by Homespun Seasonal Living
- Rosemary Butternut Squash and Potatoes by The Not So Modern Housewife
Winter Squash Dessert & Snack Recipes
- Butternut Spice Bundt Cake by Joybilee Farm
- Butternut Squash Pie by Reformation Acres
- Making Pumpkin Puree by Attainable Sustainable
- Maple Pumpkin Custard by Attainable Sustainable
- Maple Pumpkin Granola by Attainable Sustainable
- Pumpkin Leather-Portable Pumpkin Pie by Common Sense Homesteading
- Winter Squash Cheesecake by Homestead Honey
- Winter Squash Pie by Learning and Yearning
If those aren’t enough to whet the appetite, check out 80 sweet and savory pumpkin and winter squash recipes by Little Mountain Haven.
What’s your favorite way to cook butternut and other winter squashes?
This post was shared at Tasty Tuesday.