Two Ways to Roast Butternut Squash

Cubes of butternut squash on a silver backing sheet

There are two common ways to roast butternut squashpeeled and cut in cubes or wedges or simply halved and roasted with the skins on. Peeling squash takes a bit more work, but the roasting time is shorter (20-25 minutes) and you have a lot of serving options. Try peeled and roasted butternut squash as a side dish, paired with savory sauteed collard greens or swiss chard and vegetarian sausage. Butternut prepared this way is also great in grain bowls or served as a topping for black bean tacos. Once you roast a batch, you’ll find lots of creative pairings and ways to serve the leftovers. 

 

Roasting butternut squash halved, on the other hand, requires no peeling, but has a longer roasting time (45 minutes – 1 hour). This method works especially well if your squash is small and half a squash makes a nice serving for one person. You can also scoop out the squash and serve it mashed. You can roast squash halves skin-side up or down. I like to roast them skin-side up so the squash can steam and carmelize and then, toward the end, flip them over and add a dab of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. This is how my mother always prepared squash and I can attest that children will love squash served this way. 

 

Some things to consider if you’ve never cut a squash: Cutting a large squash can sometimes be tricky, so use your sharpest knife, go slowly and be careful. To prevent slippage, set the squash on a sturdy cutting surface. When you make your first cuts, wedge the knife in a bit before applying pressure, then let the weight of the knife do the work. 

 

Whether you’ll be leaving the skin on or peeling, it’s still a good idea to rinse the outside of the squash. Proceed with the directions below for either Option 1 (peeling and cubing) or Option 2 (roasting halved).

 

Option 1: How to Roast Butternut Squash Peeled and Cubed

A cast iron skillet with a layer of butternut squash cubes along the bottom

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1” cubes

1-2 T olive oil

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced (optional)

pinch of ground cumin (optional)

flaky or kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. 

  • After you’ve rinsed and dried the squash, and set it on a sturdy cutting surface, use your sharpest knife to trim off both ends. 

  • Then, cut across the squash separating the “neck” from the “bulb” or base. 

  • Set each piece in an upright position, on a flat edge. Using a good peeler, peel the squash.* 

  • Once peeled, cut both pieces in half lengthwise. 

  • Remove the seeds and stringy pieces from the bulb with a spoon or, ideally, a grapefruit spoon. 

  • Cut squash into 1” cubes. 

  • Toss everything together in a big bowl. You want the squash to be coated with oil, but not dripping. 

  • Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet (or two) or lightly-oiled cast iron skillet. Try not to overcrowd the pan or the squash will steam instead of roast. 

  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping after about 10 minutes. Careful not to overcook.

 

*Note: if your peeler isn’t doing the job, you can use a sharp knife. You may find it easier to cut the squash into smaller pieces if peeling with a knife.

 

Option 2: How to Roast Butternut Squash Halved (No Peeling Required)

Two butternut squashes cut in half lengthwise, on a silver baking sheet, browned from roasting

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, halved and seeded

½-1 T olive oil

2 tsp butter or vegan butter (optional)

brown sugar, heavy pinch (optional)

flaky or kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

A butternut squash, on a silver baking sheet, sliced in half skin side up, uncooked

 

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. 

  • After you’ve rinsed and dried the squash, and set it on a sturdy cutting surface, use your sharpest knife to trim off both ends. 

  • Next, cut the squash in half lengthwise. To prevent slippage, make sure the squash is in a sturdy position. Wedge the knife in a bit before applying pressure, then let the weight of the knife do the work. 

  • Brush squash with a light coating of olive oil and place the halves, skin-sides up, on a lightly oiled baking sheet or large cast iron. 

  • Remove the seeds and stringy pieces from the bulb with a spoon or, ideally, a grapefruit spoon. 

  • Season the squash flesh with a little butter and brown sugar (if using), salt, and pepper. 

  • Roast for another 5-15 minutes, until squash is fork-tender.  

  • Roast for 45 minutes and then, using a metal spatula, flip each piece over.

 

What is this vegetable and what do I do with it?!

 

Sometimes at the farmer’s market or in a CSA box you may come across a vegetable you’ve never seen before. Or perhaps you know the name of a vegetable but you’ve never cooked with it and aren’t sure what to do with it. That’s where our Veggie Gallery comes in handy! CLICK HERE to visit the gallery.

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