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Food 52’s Healthiest: Carmelized Butternut Squash Wedges with Sage Pesto

(Photo: Sarah Shatz for


Every Tuesday, we scan Food52′s delectable menu of recipes for the healthiest picks they’ve got—bringing you seasonal, scrumptious fare that’s also really good for you.

Food52This week, it’s cold outside. And what says warming winter vegetable better than butternut squash? In addition to flavor, this recipe will serve up a seriously whopping dose of vitamin A (great for healthy peepers), a healthy serving of vitamin C, and a side of minerals like potassium and magnesium.

Skip the cheese to make it vegan, and don’t be afraid to cut sugar.

Carmelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a Sage Hazelnut Pesto
Serves 4

(Photo: Sarah Shatz for

Sage, Hazelnut, Ricotta Salata Pesto:
1/4 cup sage, chopped
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 cup + 2 TB ricotta salata, crumbled or chopped until a medium fine crumble

Butternut Squash:
2 butternut squashes [about 3.5 lbs total when unpeeled]
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne, depending on taste

1. Preheat the oven to 500 and place a rack in the lowest slot in the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each squash half in half widthwise, right where the slender part curves out to the bulge. Cut each quarter into about 1 inch wedges (see picture) and place in a bowl.

3. Toss squash with olive oil, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Place in a single layer on baking sheet.

4. Roast for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Remove from oven and flip over. Bake another 10-15 minutes until caramelized on the other side and cooked through. The pieces on the edges of the baking sheet will caramelize first so you want to move around during the baking time.

5. While the squash is roasting, make the pesto: (1) warm 3 TB olive oil, sage, and garlic in a small pan over very low heat just until the oil bubbles. Pour in a small bowl, reserving the garlic clove. (2) Place the toasted hazelnuts in mini food processor along with the garlic clove and process until a fine crumble and add to the bowl (alternatively, you can do by hand or in a mortar and pestle). (3) add the cheese to the bowl along with 1-2 TB more olive oil and stir until combined and salt to taste. This is not a traditional pesto – more nutty than herby and not so much oil.

6. Once the squash is roasted, place in a large bowl and toss with pesto to taste. Dig in.

More healthy recipes from

Butternut Squash Salad
Red Cooked Butternut Squash
Fregola Sarda with Carmelized Squash and Charmoula