From butternut squash soup to butternut squash pie, butternut squash is a popular vegetable in fall and winter recipes. Learn how to cook this seasonal vegetable in a variety of ways.
What Exactly Is Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) is a warm-season, annual vine plant. Butternut squash plants produce green fruits that mature into beige gourds with thick, hard rinds. The soft, orange flesh has a nutty flavor that is similar to pumpkin. Butternut squash is an oblong, hourglass-shaped squash with seeds and pulp in its wide base. Butternut squash is a hearty food packed with gluten-free carbohydrates that is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients.
5 Ways to Cook Butternut Squash
Butternut squash recipes can be used to create healthy weeknight dinners as well as comfort food side dishes. Consider the following preparation methods depending on whether you want the squash crispy or softer:
1. Air fry: Using an air fryer to cook butternut squash eliminates the need for cooking oil, lowering your saturated fat intake. Prepare your squash ahead of time and place it in the air fryer. Cook until the desired crispiness is reached.
2. Braise: A popular cold-weather dish is butternut squash soup. Butternut squash's sweet flesh soaks up flavorful stock and spices. Cook the squash in stock or broth until softened, then blend or purée and season. Alternatively, you can prepare the squash in a slow cooker before adding it to the soup.
3. Microwave: A medium-sized butternut will take about ten minutes to cook in the microwave. Make slits in the skin to allow steam to escape, or cut the skin into one-inch cubes first. Turn halfway through before continuing to heat for another five minutes.
4. Roast: Cut the squash into cubes, toss with olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, and rosemary, and roast in a single layer on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. This will make a hearty side dish.
5. Steam: It only takes a few minutes to steam large, diced butternut squash. In a large pot with a steamer basket, heat a few inches of water. Cover the squash with the basket. When a fork easily pierces the squash, it's done.
11 Butternut Squash Recipes
Many of the best butternut squash recipes require little time to prepare. Prepare the following butternut squash dishes:
1. Baked butternut squash medley: Roast brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and turnips for a fall vegetable side dish. Spices like rosemary, cumin, and paprika can be added, and this harvest appetizer can be topped with flaky salt. Serve the roasted vegetables alongside the roast chicken.
2. Butternut squash and kale salad: Combine kale, sliced red onion, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and roasted butternut squash in a salad. The balsamic vinegar dressing complements the mix-ins well.
3. Butternut squash curry: Japanese curry, also known as kare raisu (curry rice), is a dish of vegetables and meat—usually beef—in a thick curry sauce served with rice. For added flavor and texture, add butternut squash to this Japanese curry recipe.
4. Butternut squash galette: A butternut squash galette is a free-form tart with a flaky all-butter crust and a squash filling inside. To add flavor, you can add caramelized onions, herbs, warming spices, or cheese.
5. Butternut squash lasagna: Put a vegetarian spin on an Italian classic by using butternut squash instead of meat. To make the filling, sauté red pepper, carrots, onion, and spinach.
6. Butternut squash pie: Butternut squash pie, like pumpkin pie, is made with a starchy vegetable, eggs, dairy, and warming spices in a thin pie crust. You can make butternut squash pie with canned butternut squash purée or fresh squash purée.
7. Butternut squash quinoa: For a flavorful fall meal, prepare fluffy quinoa and mix in roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, shelled pistachios, and sautéed spinach. Season with olive oil, thyme, and white vinegar to taste.
8. Butternut squash risotto: This is a creamy Italian rice dish made with butternut squash. Sauté Arborio rice in chicken stock before adding puréed butternut squash pieces to make butternut squash risotto. Risotto can be topped with Parmesan cheese, fresh sage, and parsley.
9. Butternut squash soup: Recipes for roasted butternut squash soup call for braising the squash in a stock. To sweeten and thicken the soup, combine maple syrup and coconut milk. Finish with toasted pecans and black pepper to taste. For a decadent dish, try this creamy butternut squash bisque recipe with heavy cream.
10. Butternut squash tacos: To make vegetarian tacos, replace the carnitas with roasted butternut squash. Cube the squash and bake it at 400 degrees on a baking sheet, then add fixings like black beans, shredded cheese, hot sauce, and pickled onions to make homemade tacos.
11. Candied squash: To make a sweet, caramelized side dish, toss cubed squash with olive oil, salt, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Served with roasted pecans and pumpkin seeds on top of the candied vegetables.