Baked Butternut Squash is a restaurant-worthy side dish that sings with fall flavors. Learn how to make this simple, healthy and delicious side dish! With their slightly crisp, browned edges and warm, soft interiors, it’s a seasonal sensation to add to your fall and holiday recipe lineup.
In all of my years spent in a kitchen, I’ve discovered that most of the time simple reigns supreme. This Oven Roasted Butternut Squash allows the naturally nutty, sweet flavors to simply shine. The spiced olive oil drizzle coating creates a caramelized effect during the roasting process. The finished product is clean but buttery, and dare I say- kid-approved!
Butternut squash is an ideal accompaniment for fall and winter meals. It’s a key component in many of the recipes featured in my post 20 Fall Vegetables to Try Now. It’s a side I look forward to highlighting in my holiday meal planning each year.
What I love most about this particular recipe is the ease and adaptability. In about 30 minutes, I have a restaurant quality, healthy side dish. The flavor profile is so versatile I can pair it with nearly any protein. Roasted butternut squash also makes an excellent topping for salads, soups, or Mediterranean-style bowls.
Ingredients and Notes
Below is an overview of what you will need to make roasted butternut squash and any notes on where to find ingredients or substitutions.
Oil – The base I use is a quality olive oil. It doesn’t need to be extra virgin for taste, but that’s what I use most frequently. Other oils that work well include safflower, avocado, and sunflower.
Seasonings – You can use any seasonings that you prefer, either dried or fresh. However, I find that garlic and thyme are one of my absolute favorites in combination with starchy vegetables like squash, zucchini and potatoes. It’s also amazing on carrots!
How To Choose a Butternut Squash
I have grown butternut in my garden. They start out green in color with thin, dark green stripes that run from the stem. Butternut is ripe when it is a solid beige or tan color, although you may still see a hint of these green stripes around the stem. The exterior should be quite firm, almost hard.
Tips for Preparing Squash
Peel the squash. Peeling winter squash is quite similar to potatoes. The skin is smooth and relatively thin, but it can be kind of tough. To peel, use a sharp vegetable peeler, and work end to end, peeling off long strips. The color sometimes changes from light to a deeper, golden yellow. There may be green veins that run through the squash after peeling. That is fine.
Next, cut the squash. Chop off both ends close to the base. After that, I find it easiest to cut the bulb end off and the cut both ends in half lengthwise. Set the cut side of the halves facing up, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. If your squash is too hard to safely cut, pop it in the microwave or warm it in the oven for a few minutes until slightly softened.
Lastly, cube the squash. Discard the seeds, and dice the remaining squash into 1-inch cubes. Cut the base into rings and then cut into cubes. Do the best you can to cut the pieces evenly sized as they will cook more evenly.
Toss and Bake. In a large mixing bowl stir the olive oil and spices together. Add the squash to the bowl and mix with your hands or toss to coat evenly. Spread the cubed squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave a little space between each cube – this way, the baked butternut squash will get nicely crisp and brown in the oven. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, flipping when the bottom sides are browned.
Baked Butternut Squash Serving Ideas
One of the best things about this simple dish is how versatile it is! Beyond a side dish for grilled chicken or pork chops, there are many uses for this recipe! Here are a few more that I love:
- Add it to an autumn pasta like stuffed shells, alfredo, or angel hair pasta.
- One of my favorite toppings for Oven Roasted Salmon, cod, or halibut.
- Stuff it into enchiladas or carnitas tacos.
- Toss it into a salad.
- Make a buddha bowl with it with roasted chickpeas, greens, red onions, quinoa, and sesame seeds. Top with a drizzle of creamy tahini sauce.
- Blend it into hummus and sprinkle feta or pine nuts on top.
Frequently Asked Questions
The peel is edible. However, it does not cook the same as the interiors and can be tough and slightly bitter so I would recommend peeling before roasting.
Yes! You can eat the seeds from butternut squash, acorn squash, and other winter squashes. And they are highly nutritious too! Prepare and use them just like you would pumpkin seeds to sprinkle in salads, granola, yogurt or garnish pastas.
If you don’t need to use your squash right away, you’ll want store it raw and whole in a cool, dark place such as a pantry but the countertop works too. Like most squashes, it can last for one to three months when stored at room temperature.
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Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1.5 lbs Butternut Squash cut into 1" cubes
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 1.5 teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
- ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme 1 Tablespoon for fresh Thyme
- ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder Onion salt works as well, but reduce the other salt.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
- In a bowl, whisk olive oil, herbs and seasonings. Toss squash in oil mixture to evenly coat.
- Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes and flip the squash when the down sides start to brown. Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes until tender and edges are browned to your desired crispness.
- Remove from pan with a spatula and serve warm.