healthy butternut squash recipes
Delectably silky, with a mildly sweet flavor, butternut squash is a vegetable that works well in both sweet and savory dishes. Purée it into soups, roast and toss into salads or bowls, and stuff with a plethora of other delicious ingredients. It’s a very simple vegetable to store and prepare: It will last for months in a cool, dry place and the skin easily cuts away with a potato peeler. In creamy soups, savory sides, and even a pizza—butternut squash shines in these delicious fall recipes.
Summer has the best rep for the freshest of produce (hello, corn and tomatoes!), but autumn really serves up some solid fall fruits and vegetables, from apples to cauliflower to Brussels sprouts, and of course, the almighty squash. These butternut squash recipes prove (in our opinion) that it is the best of the winter gourds. Known for its creamy and seriously sweet interior, butternut squash makes for an epic mash, but it is also delicious as the star of any savory butternut squash recipe (bring on the Instant Pot risotto).
If you’re intimidated by prepping this pear-shaped beast, don’t worry! It’s a lot easier to peel and slice than you think. And it makes for an easy, flavor-packed main for any weeknight dinner (move aside, spaghetti squash!). Whether you like it roasted, pureed into a luscious butternut squash soup, or baked in a cheesy lasagna, these butternut squash recipes will be real winners this fall. And before you dig in, follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to peel and cut butternut squash in a few easy steps so you can make it the star of your fall and winter dinner table.
These easy butternut squash recipes will have you loving fall’s favorite vegetable. Butternut squash can be transformed into something hearty, creamy, savory, sweet, and beyond delicious.
ALL THE REASONS TO LOVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Similar to its orange hued friends, sweet potato and pumpkin, butternut squash is just as versatile. You can roast it in cubes for a side dish or blend it into a creamy soup. But… you can also stuff it, bake it into a frittata, saute it into a hash, or even create an orange shakshuka.
Either way, it works beautifully in both vegetarian dishes or ones with a bit of bacon, turkey, or sausage. And if you’re not sure how to prepare this bulbous vegetable, read my post on how to peel and cut butternut squash.
HEALTHY BUTTERNUT SQUASH RECIPES
Is butternut squash healthy? It sure is! That vibrant orange color is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and beta carotene. It’s also mighty tasty.
Once your butternut squash is prepped, it’s up to you on how you want to flavor it. From adding simple spices to mixing it with savory ingredients, these butternut squash recipes let its creamy and crisp texture really shine. Best of all, they’re easy enough to make for your weeknight dinner or Thanksgiving spread.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This ultra creamy soup is a quintessential recipe for the season. Roasted butternut squash is blended with onions, garlic, maple syrup, nutmeg, ginger, and vegetable broth. It’s one flavorful soup that can easily be batch prepped on a Sunday night.
Apple Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
One way to roast your butternut squash is in halves. And the best way to utilize this method is to stuff it with all sorts of sweet and savory ingredients, like diced apples, Italian sausage, kale, cranberries, pecans, and spices. The best of fall flavors all in one recipe!
Kale and Butternut Squash Frittata
I’m always looking for ways to sneak in veggies into my breakfast meals. From egg muffins, to breakfast hash, to green shakshuka, eggs will complement just about any vegetable. Enter this kale and butternut squash frittata. It’s a one pan recipe is fluffy, hearty, and easy to make for the whole family.
Mashed Butternut Squash
Move over mashed potatoes. Butternut squash is here to take the spotlight in this rich and creamy side dish. All you need is roasted butternut squash, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper for a healthy spin on a classic recipe. Everyone around the table will love this!
Roasted Butternut Squash, Romain, and Goat Cheese Salad
Toss your roasted cubes into a fall inspired salad! This one’s easy to make and filled with delicious flavors. The creaminess of the butternut squash and goat cheese pair beautifully with the crisp Romaine lettuce and crunchy walnuts.
HOW TO MEAL PREP AND STORE LEFTOVERS
Similar to sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash can be meal prepped ahead of time. You can roast it into cubes and store in the fridge for mixing into salads or bowls.
- To Store: you can store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- To Reheat: Just pop it in the microwave to use a side dish or toss into a grain bowl or salad.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Then cut the squash in half. Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends by 1/4 to 1/2 inch, slice it in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Brush olive oil onto the cut side of the squash. Use about 1 tablespoon of oil and brush evenly. Then season with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you’d like.
Roast the halves. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 40-45 minutes. The cut edge should just start to caramelize.
Take the butternut squash out of the oven and let it cool. Then scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl.
Mash the butternut squash with a hand masher or electric beater.
Pour the butter into the mixture and continue mixing until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Scoop the mashed butternut squash into a bowl and garnish with rosemary or other herbs. Serve!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Tahini Vinaigrette
Roasted squash, onions, and spicy arugula are tossed together in a nutty sesame vinagrette. What more could you want in this delicious vegetarian dinner?
Winter Squash Soup
This winter squash soup is a great Thanksgiving starter, but would be just as good for a simple fall dinner on a chilly weeknight.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Use an Instant Pot and this tasty risotto will be done before you realize it was even cooking.
Spice-Roasted Butternut Squash With Cider Vinaigrette
The best way is the classic way: sliced up, roasted, and dressed with a tangy finish.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
Start Thanksgiving dinner off right with a cozy Instant Pot fall soup, full of fall’s fave (butternut squash!).
Pressure Cooker Winter Squash and Lentil Stew
Enjoy tender squash and creamy lentils in minutes thanks to the magical kitchen genie that is your pressure cooker.
Butternut Squash Spaghetti With Sausage and Sage
Instead of zoodles (a.k.a. zucchini noodles), spiralize your butternut squash and add it into an already-flavorful pasta dish.
Creamy Roasted Squash Puree
Turn roasted squash into a sweet and smooth butternut squash puree by simply blending in a food processor.
Roasted Squash Panzanella
This combo of kale and crusty country bread is perfect for fall.
Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup
Get cozy with a hearty, flavor-packed soup, full of fall’s star squash.
Thyme and Shallot Roasted Butternut Squash
This fall-favorite roasted butternut squash gets a little extra sweetness from a drizzle of maple syrup.
Cavatappi With Butternut Squash and Bacon
Think of this hearty pasta as mac and cheese with an extra serving of veggies (plus some bacon, for good measure).
Butternut Squash and Feta Tartlets
Watch these flavor-packed, salty and sweet mini tarts disappear from your Thanksgiving spread this year.
Autumn Squash Salad
Sliced and roasted pears and butternut squash add sweetness to this hearty and healthy fall bowl.
Arugula-Kale Harvest Salad
Everything but the kitchen sink, fall salad edition.
Butternut Squash and Pesto Rotini
Pasta lovers, rejoice! This veggie-packed recipe takes only 30 minutes to make.
Instant Pot Beef and Squash Stew
Butternut squash adds heartiness to this delicious dinner staple.
Roasted Chicken and Squash Panzanella
Step up your chicken dinner with sweet roasted squash, peppery arugula, big chunks of crispy bread, and a sprinkle of sweet dried cranberries.
Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Stew
Set it and forget it — then top it off with rice and a dollop of yogurt.
Butternut Squash and Turmeric Soup
Coconut milk gives this butternut squash soup recipe an ultra-rich and creamy texture.
Winter Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Picture this: You, wrapped in a blanket. A massive plate of this lasagna. A Hallmark movie marathon. (Yes, you can make this dream a reality.)
Butternut Squash Soup With Sage
This luxurious bowlful of soup is dairy-free! The creaminess comes from blended squash.
Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seed Mole Bowls
This vegan bowl balances the heat of jalapeño with hearty chunks of sweet butternut squash
Winter Squash Lasagna With Brown Butter Béchamel
Adding butternut to your go-to pasta makes for a hearty vegetarian dinner. You definitely won’t miss the meat.
Hasselback Butternut Squash With Browned Butter
A golden brown butter gives accordion-style squash a rich sweetness. Sweet potatoes, who?!
Lentil Stew With Butternut Squash
Load up your slow cooker with your fave fall ingredients before work, and you’ll come home to a big bowl of this hearty vegetarian stew.
Healthy Roasted Butternut Squash
Since I spend about 75% of my waking hours in leggings (85% if you count their close relatives jeggings and yoga pants), every now and then I appreciate the opportunity to get a little fancy. Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to be strutting about in a ballgown anytime soon (unless you are throwing a ball and looking for an extra guest?), but every now and then, I do enjoy adding a little sparkle to my routine. The same can be said for recipes. Today’s Roasted Butternut Squash takes an easy weeknight side—roasted butternut squash cubes—and transforms it into a dish that’s worthy of a special occasion, be it a holiday table or dinner at home with someone you love. Cubes of butternut squash roasted with maple syrup and cinnamon until caramelized and tender, then tossed with fresh rosemary, it’s elegant to eat and easy to prepare. My kind of side!
We eat roasted vegetables several nights a week at home, and my default method to cook them is olive oil, salt, and pepper. 400 degrees F. 20(ish) minutes. Done and done.
It’s standard. It’s effective. It doesn’t require much effort.
Basically, it’s the yoga pants of roasted vegetable recipes.
But what about those meals when you need something a little special? When your friends and family are gathered for a festive occasion? When yoga pants simply will not do?
Roasted butternut squash to the rescue!
About this Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe
This roasted butternut squash recipe is ballgown-worthy flavor for yoga pants level of effort. It starts like any other roasted vegetable recipe—olive oil, salt, and pepper—but the simple additions of cinnamon, maple syrup, and fresh rosemary elevate it and give it a festive flair that you’ll be proud to share at the table.
Whether you are looking for a simple side to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, or if you want to shake up your weeknight roasted vegetable routine, this roasted butternut squash hits the spot.
I made this recipe the first time for my book club, and we enjoyed it so much that I’ve made it a few extra times for Ben and myself since. As much as I love my roasted veggie trio of olive oil, salt, and pepper, it has been refreshing to have some variety in our routine.
One final note: the cinnamon is bold in this recipe. You can absolutely taste the it, so if you are looking for the cinnamon flavor to be more subtle, I’d recommend reducing the amount to ½ teaspoon.
If, on the other hand, you are like me, see the word cinnamon, and think “GIVE ME ALL OF IT PLEASE!” this roasted butternut squash will be the perfect level of spice for you.
Why Roast Butternut Squash
I have three excellent reasons why I come back to making roasted butternut squash again and again.
- Butternut squash tastes absolutely delicious when roasted. It’s tender, caramelized, and you’ll catch yourself nibbling cubes of it straight off of the pan with alarming speed. (I feel the same way about this Roasted Frozen Broccoli.)
- Butternut squash is ultra good for you (more on that below).
- Roasted butternut squash is E-A-S-Y to make. The only tricky part is cutting it, and as you’ll see when you read the steps below, it’s actually not nearly as complicated as it seems.
Is Butternut Squash Healthy?
- YES! Like most vegetables, butternut squash is low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients.
- Butternut squash is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
- The antioxidants in butternut squash can even aid in fighting off diseases.
How to Cut Butternut Squash for Roasting
If you find it intimidating to cut a butternut squash, you are not alone! However, don’t let its odd shape and hard surface stop you from cooking it. If you have a few basic tools (all of which I am betting are in your utensil drawer right now), you’ll find that it’s much easier than it seems.
I’ve tried a myriad of different ways to prepare and peel butternut squash from microwaving it, to roasting it part way, to cutting it in various patterns, and you know what? The vegetable peeler method is the easiest way to peel butternut squash. Here’s how to do it.
- Pick your squash. I find ones that have a longer “neck” are easier to peel. That said, no matter what shape your butternut squash is, this method works.
- Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut off both the top and bottom of the butternut squash, about ¼ of an inch from the end (this helps stabilize the squash while you peel and cut). I also like to use a nonslip cutting board like this, which is very sturdy.
- With a vegetable peeler (either a basic one like this or a Y-peeler like this), peel off the outer layer of the butternut squash. This is the squash’s skin. Depending upon your squash and how much pressure you apply, you may notice a thin, lighter layer of flesh immediately underneath the peel that surrounds the darker yellow flesh below. I always leave this lighter portion if it happens to stick. Once the squash is roasted, you can’t taste it.
- With the same sharp chef’s knife, cut the squash crosswise where the neck of the squash meets the rounder, base end so that you have two round pieces, once that’s a cylinder (the neck) and one that’s more of a ball (the base). Stand each of the pieces upright on your cutting board and make a cut down the middle from top to bottom. You’ll now have 4 pieces.
- Once cut, use a spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the seeds and stringy parts from the inside the base of the squash.
- Lay your halves cut side down, and cut each half into 1-inch wide slices. Then, cut your slices crosswise in 1-inch wide cuts. (You should end up 1-inch cubes.) You can adjust the width of the cuts as needed to suit your recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for ½-inch cubes, cut the pieces ½ inch-wide instead. Not all of the pieces will be a perfect square (the base end ones are especially odd). This is just fine. They will all taste delicious.
- Look at your beautiful cubes and enjoy your squash victory!
You may be wondering: Can you eat the skin of a roasted butternut squash? The short answer is yes. However, while it is safe to eat the skin, the texture is not as ideal. If you have successfully tried roasted butternut squash with skin, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash. This sweet, nutty, and unbelievably tasty vegetable shines when roasted to caramelized perfection.
- Olive Oil. For scrumptious roasted flavor and to ensure the squash caramelizes. Don’t skimp here; if you do, the squash may burn or turn out dry.
- Maple Syrup. A little maple syrup adds a delightful sweetness to the squash.
- Cinnamon. Roasted butternut squash with cinnamon is fall flavor at its finest. I love strong cinnamon flavor in my squash, but if you prefer a less strong cinnamon flavor, I recommend decreasing the amount in the recipe to ½ teaspoon.
- Rosemary. You may be tempted to use dried rosemary but fresh rosemary is key to achieving the best flavor. This recipe is very few ingredients, so each of them counts.
- Use nonstick spray to coat two baking sheets. Grab a large bowl and add your squash cubes. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, and spices to the bowl. Toss until the squash is coated in all the delicious flavors.
- Divide the squash between the baking sheets and discard any excess liquid from the bottom of the bowl. Make sure the squash is spread into a single layer on the baking sheets and not overly crowded. This will ensure the air can circulate in the oven and the squash roasts properly. If you crowd the squash on the pan, it will steam and not develop the caramelization we’re after.
- Place your baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. After 15 minutes, remove the pans, turn the squash with a spatula, and return to the oven.
- Bake until the squash is tender (about 10 to 15 additional minutes). Remove from the oven, and scatter fresh rosemary over the top. Serve warm and ENJOY!
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Roasted Butternut Squash
- To Make Ahead. Squash can be cubed 1 day in advance. Store cubes in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat gently over low heat in a skillet on the stovetop, in the oven at 350 degrees F, or in the microwave until warmed through. The oven and stovetop will give you the best consistency.
- To Freeze. Lay cooked butternut cubes in a single layer on baking sheets, and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Place frozen cubes in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator the night before reheating. The cubes will become noticeably softer and not have as desirable of a texture if frozen, but it is certainly an option.
What to Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Pork. These Crock Pot Pork Chops would be excellent paired with roasted butternut squash.
- Chicken. Serve your butternut squash with one of these other fall-flavored chicken recipes: Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Apples or Maple Dijon Chicken and Vegetables.
- Pasta. Round out your favorite pasta recipes from Baked Turkey Meatballs to Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff with this healthy vegetable side.
- Roasted butternut squash is also delicious with any holiday main: roast chicken, roast turkey, ham, prime rib; whatever your family loves!
Butternut biryani with cucumber raita