Today’s post is more like a “how-to” than a recipe. It’s beautifully basic but doesn’t skimp on delivering BIG in the flavor department. Feast your eyes on a whole lot of freshly roasted butternut squash. Roasting up a batch of this covetable winter squash makes way for a whole lot of DELICIOUS THINGS to start happening in your life.
So-cheesy-GOOD things like Cheesy Butternut Squash Paninis, healthy nutritious things like Butternut Squash + Apple + Arugula Salads, decadent brunchy things like fluffy ricotta Bacon Butternut Frittata, or cozy couch-worthy things like warm Curried Butternut Squash Soup.
This one easy recipe makes ALL of those yummy moments possible, and then some! (P.S. – Can’t wait to share each and every one of those favorite recipes with you guys so soon).
Oven-roasted until tender and slightly browned on the edges, this squash tastes like a labor of love but minus the whole labor part. It’s slightly sweet and, as the named suggests, a bit buttery. Roasting the squash really helps develop those subtle flavors that might go unnoticed when boiling or steaming it.
If you haven’t picked up on it already, roasting is one of my most favorite ways to cook something because it caramelizes the natural sugars in whole foods and intensifies their flavors overall. I especially LOVE it for butternut squash because it brings out that velvety, almost cheesy textural quality.
Speaking of cheese…
“OMG Cheese cubes?? Yum!”. ← My best friend’s reaction upon receiving these squash pictures via text. NOPE. Wrong. Fired. (KIDDING! At this point, they’re stuck with me and they know it.)
Ok. I realize that if (like the aforementioned best buddy) you haven’t had butternut squash before -OR- if you have had it but haven’t had it roasted, you may be thinking all this hoopla about squash is a little hard to believe. Squash? So basic. *Eye roll. How very “blah” of me to suggest such a sensible, nutritious meal companion.
Pssssst…it IS super sensible. Relatively low calorie, high fiber, and a rich source of Vitamin A. Score!
You may be thinking, “Sounds more healthy than tasty. What’s next, brussel sprouts?!”
Don’t you worry your pretty little head! Those are comin’ your way too (but I will be sure to cheese + bacon + shallot them up real good first).
If you give it a chance, this vibrant-hued roasted vegetable can and WILL blow your socks off. I look forward to it being in season and readily available at the store EVERY year. When it’s not available, sure I roast any number of the other squash that the store has to offer. But in my world, all those other squash are really just playing second fiddle to butternut.
If you aren’t up for tackling a project of a recipe and need an Easy Bake Oven style approach to your weekly meal prep, then this will be a perfect choice for you. Peel, chop, roast, EAT.
A little bit of EVOO and salt help expedite the whole softening process while the squash cooks in the oven. You can add any number of spices to create different flavor profiles, smoked paprika is particularly good. I tend to like to keep mine “simply dressed” so to speak but this is just so that I can change it to suit a variety of dishes. I like to keep my options open (read: I am picky and often indecisive). That way if I’m in the mood for spicy on a Tuesday but want something classic and mellow on a Thursday, then I can have it all!
This recipe makes a whole BUNCH of beautifully browned, softly roasted squash to add some delicious depth to your dishes throughout the week. It’s such a great companion to veggies, legumes, chicken, pasta, paninis, pizza, quesadillas, enchiladas, or just tossed on top of fresh greens.
It makes a phenomenal addition to bliss bowls or glow bowls or Buddha bowls (or whatever it is the cool kids are calling big bowls with veggies and protein with yummy dressing or sauce on top nowadays). If you find out which it is please tell me, so I can pretend I’ve always been a member of said cool kids club.
It bears mentioning that in this recipe I am using butternut squash that I have freshly cut from a whole squash. You can use the kind that comes precut from the store but I have had mixed results with it. I don’t know if it is just that it’s not cut to the exact size that I need. This leads me to chop them smaller and smaller in the hopes of getting them to be of remotely similar proportions to the shapes next to them.
If you have ever tried to put winged eyeliner on your own eyes, it is a similar conundrum. You know that point where you realize one side doesn’t match the other in the thickness of the line or general wingy-ness of the winged part? So you go back and forth between each eyelid as you keep trying to make one side match the other but all you’re really doing is painting the whole top of your face black? Like that.
I often get an oddball assortment of shapes which unfortunately means they aren’t as likely to cook evenly and some may burn while others are undercooked.
Or maybe it is that precut squash suffers from being a bit dried out on the inside with condensation on the outside. Whatever the issue, all I know for certain is that I have burned more than a few of these in my attempts to avoid breaking down a whole squash. Which given our deep, borderline obsessive fixation with butternut squash is a major BUMMER.
Don’t get me wrong, I use the precut kind for many things! I love precut. I love work that is done FOR me instead of me doing the work. It’s super handy and convenient. Particularly, if like me you find yourself suffering from your own routine clumsiness and happen to be one thumb down due to a nasty slip of the chef’s knife. Rockin’ a big bad bandaid right now.
The point is sometimes you find yourself in one of those “I just CAN’T” moods where you don’t really want to wrestle with a whole butternut. I get that. I would just suggest keeping a more watchful eye on your pals inside the oven, give them a peek from time to time to make sure they don’t turn on you.
So if you aren’t headed out for out-of-town adventures over this long holiday weekend, consider giving this recipe a go! Shake up your weekly meal prep and throw a little butternut squash into the mix. I promise you won’t be sorry you did!
- 1 large butternut squash (peeled, dark pulp and seeds removed, cut into ½” - ¾” cubes)
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil.
- Place cubed butternut squash onto the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss the squash using your hands until the cubes are evenly coated.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and roast for 25 minutes.
- Remove tray from oven, stir the butternut squash around with a spoon. Lightly salt again.
- Bake for another 25-35 minutes or until the butternut squash is soft and beginning to caramelize on the edges.