Learn how to choose, store and cook butternut squash! Get a basic roasted butternut squash recipe, plus a solid list of other delicious ways to prepare this fall favorite.
Butternut squash is probably the most popular variety of winter squash, and it’s pretty easy to see why. It’s versatile, easy to prepare and downright delicious. It’s also one of the healthiest varieties of winter squash.
How to Choose Store Butternut Squash
When you’re shopping for butternut squash, look for one with yellow to orange skin and no soft spots or bruises, though some imperfections, like bumps on the skin, are fine. The more orange the squash is, the sweeter it will be.
Don’t put uncut butternut squash into the refrigerator. Instead, choose a spot on the kitchen counter that’s out of direct sunlight, and make sure that the squash has room to breathe. It will keep best if you turn it every few days, so all sides get exposure to the air.
How to Cook Butternut Squash
You can roast or steam butternut squash whole or peel, dice and cook up the pieces. Cubes will cook up more quickly, and with more surface area to brown, I find that cubed butternut squash has a deeper flavor. The roasted butternut recipe below calls for peeling and cubing prior to cooking for that reason.
Yields 3-4 servings
Roasted Butternut Squash is lovely served warm as a side dish. It also makes a great salad topper, and you can use it that way warm or cold.
10 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1 butternut squash, seeded and cubed
- 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Toss the butternut squash cubes with the oil, salt, and pepper together in an 8×8″ glass baking pan.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the squash begins to brown. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, check in every 5 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold.
Butternut Squash Recipes
Toasted sesame oil, agave nectar and lime juice play so beautifully with sweet-and-savory roasted butternut squash. You make the easy marinade for this recipe right in your blender, so this fancy side dish is even easier to make than it looks!
Pureed butternut squash is the base for this rich, creamy vegan pasta dish. This is a great sneaky veggie dish for kids, too. My picky preschooler is wary of roasted veggies for some kid reason, but he demolishes bowls of butternut mac and asks for seconds.
Winter squash soups are classic cold-weather fare, and this curried version brings all of the warming spices to the table. This recipe uses roasted squash as the base, which really brings out all of the good, squashy flavors.
This hearty quinoa salad is a meal all on its own. It’s packed with nutrients and bright flavors to help you beat the winter blues. You can serve it immediately for a warm dish or pack it in your lunch as a cold salad for the next day.
5. Butternut Squash Puree
Making butternut squash puree is actually the same as making pumpkin puree, and you can use it anywhere you’d use canned pumpkin. In fact, a lot of store-bought canned “pumpkin” contains other winter squash, including butternut.
Creamy risotto with sweet, hearty roasted squash is a perfect holiday side dish. Serve this day-of or make it ahead. This dish tastes even better a day or two later, when the flavors have had a chance to meld!
Warm, roasted butternut squash with cool winter greens is a salad that’s fit for a meal. Serve with some crusty bread or a big bowl of hearty soup, and you’ve got a perfect fall or winter supper.
Related at Care2
Whole Butternut Squash and Basic Roasted Butternut Squash images via Thinkstock. All other images via recipe authors, used with permission.