What to do with all that Butternut Squash!?
Butternut squash grows all year in North America, but it’s best in fall and winter. It’s no secret, of course, that butternut squash is abundant this time of year – just walk into any grocery store and they’re practically taking over the produce section.
Seasonal Spotlight: What to do with all that Butternut Squash
But what do you even do with one of these golden gourds?
If you’re craving some fall recipes, the mighty butternut squash will surely satisfy!
Here are some ideas for what to do with all those butternut squash.
Update November 2020:
I'm even more obsessed than last year with butternut squash. That's 100% because I finally got an air fryer.
Using an air fryer is HANDS DOWN the easiest, quickest, and tastiest way to prepare butternut squash.
I am so thrilled I discovered how wonderful an air fryer makes vegetables, but in particular, my fall favorite, the butternut squash. I cut into fries or cubes, spray with olive or canola oil, and toss with a seasoning like seasoned salt or Tajin. I cook it at 400 degrees for thinner pieces like fries and small cubes or 350 for larger pieces until the outside turns brown (probably between 10-18 minutes, depending on temperature). You can turn halfway through if that method works best in your air fryer. The result is a salty and slightly crispy outside with a moist and sweet inside!
Now, onto some other methods for cooking up all that delicious butternut squash!
Butternut squash is similar in flavor profile to a sweet potato, which makes it the perfect pairing for pork or burgers. The texture is softer than a sweet potato, but cubed butternut squash holds up to roasting just as well, and can be used similarly in recipes. And with half the calories of sweet potato and just as much Vitamin A, roasted butternut squash makes a great “lighter” substitute for roasted sweet potatoes, too!
To roast cubed butternut squash, cut your butternut squash in half crosswise (separating the top from the bottom), and then cut either half lengthwise. You can save either half for a different recipe later in the week!
The seeds are in the bottom half, and the neck of the squash is all “meat.” Remove seeds and stringy insides from the bottom half, and peel. Cut into 1” cubes. Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper, plus your favorite dried herb combo (totally optional) and transfer to a glass baking dish or baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until done. I paired this delightful side with blackened fresh-caught snapper and sautéed kale. I roasted cubed red potatoes alongside, as well. Talk about delicious - it might be one of my favorite meals I’ve ever cooked!
I found half of the squash the perfect amount for two people. An entire butternut squash will easily satisfy a family of 4 or 5!
Roast ‘em another way
If you want to get fancy with the other half of your butternut squash, why not try making a sweeter dish? Cut the other half of your squash in half lengthwise and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and while allowing to cool add a pat of butter to each half. Serve in the peel just like a sweet potato (peel not edible, though).
You can also roast them this way to then scoop from the peel and mash. Mashed butternut squash can be enjoyed alone (I added pepitas and honey!), or added to mashed potatoes, quesadillas, and other dishes for a unique flavor and hefty dose of essential nutrients.
Half today, half tomorrow
Butternut squash is pretty hearty, so it should definitely keep for several days in the refrigerator after cut to be cooked later in the week. I wrapped half of mine up in an Ideal Wrap (obviously). But if meal-prep is your mojo, go ahead and roast all that squash at once, and add to other dishes like salads and breakfast bowls, or as a super-quick side dish later in the week!
Other ways to cook a butternut squash
You can steam a butternut squash in the microwave similarly to how you would a spaghetti squash, except it’s faster and way easier! Simply cut squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and place flat-side down on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 10-15 minutes and then let sit in the microwave another 5 minutes to continue steaming. Because the squash contains so much water, adding water to the plate isn’t necessary like it is for spaghetti squash. Also, leaving the skin on allows the squash to retain a lot of the moisture. This is a “lighter” cooking option since no oil is required, and the delicious butternut squash taste is allowed to shine all on its own. This is another great preparation method for mashing and then getting creative with toppings!
Using the same method as roasting butternut squash cubes, you can add them to a large sauté pan instead. Sauté on medium heat with cooking oil for about 20 minutes, or until the outside begins to brown and you can “stick a fork in it.”
Butternut squash soup is a delicious fall and winter appetizer. There are plenty of recipes and methods out there, but here’s a simple one from Fifteen Spatulas.
Don’t forget about the seeds
Apparently you can roast butternut squash seeds into a fabulous snack. I won’t be trying this for you, but I would love to know if you’ve ever tried it before! Here's a recipe from The Spruce Eats. Let me know if you've tried it!
If you’re looking for something more creative, you can also try some of the following ideas!
- Caramelize it
- Create a casserole with it
- Sauce it – add it into your favorite pasta sauce recipe or find a new one
- Stuff it into wontons or turnovers
- Throw it on a pizza
- Add it in to mac and cheese
- Add it to your favorite kale and quinoa bowl
- Air fry it
- Deep fry it
- Make a butternut squash pie
- Add it to a curry
- Add it to a soup or stew
How do you like your butternut squash? Which one of these ideas are you going to try next?!
And pick up a pack of Ideal Wrap at one of our events this season!