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The Very Best Butternut Squash Recipes for Hearty, Fiber-Packed Meals

Emily Laurence

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Photo: Jessica Hoffman/Choosing Chia
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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the butternut squash on a rimmed baking pan and toss with oil. Stir to coat well. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes then toss. Return to oven to finish baking another 10 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool. Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Add pecans and pomegranates. Pour in cooled butternut squash. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and toss over salad. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.It’s *officially* fall and with the change in seasons comes the need for warm pumpkin bread, baked sweet potato topped with butter and cinnamon, and classic apple pie. But one in-season fall ingredient that deserves the star treatment is the humble butternut squash.

A brief summary of butternut squash’s wellness resume, if you will. It’s high in fiber with a whopping seven grams per one-cup serving. A serving also offers up nearly 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of magnesium (key for muscle recovery and sleep), 22 percent of your daily potassium intake (important for counterbalancing sodium intake and digesting carbs), and 41 percent of your daily vitamin C intake (great for immunity and collagen production). Basically, we should all be eating more of it.

However, because butternut squash hasn’t quite gotten the same press time as sweet potato or spaghetti squash, most of us don’t really know what to do with the damn thing. How do you cut the tough skin open? And what can you cook with it?

5 butternut squash recipes that are creative and delicious

butternut squash mac and cheese
Photo: Jessica Hoffman/Choosing Chia

1. Vegan butternut squash mac-and-cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight then drained
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups dried macaroni or noodle of choice (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup pasta water (*once the pasta is done cooking, save 1/4 of the water.)
  • Fresh herbs to top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews and water in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy (will take about 1 minute.)
  2. Add the butternut squash, nutritional yeast, garlic clove, lemon juice, onion powder, nutmeg, cayenne, dijon and salt and pepper to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
  4. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, then drain and set aside.
  5. Pour the butternut squash “cheese” sauce into a pot and bring to a light boil on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  6. Add the macaroni and pasta water to the pot and mix everything together. Serve immediately.
butternut squash soup recipe
Photo: Madelana Escudero

2. Cozy butternut squash soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced in half
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp nutmeg
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to season
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pepitas
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut off the ends of the butternut squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a large spoon.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on the squash (cut side up). Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until flesh is soft and roasted to a golden brown color.
  5. Halfway through baking, add peeled garlic cloves and shallot to the same baking sheet as the squash. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for remaining 25 to 30 mins.
  6. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash.
  7. Add squash, garlic, shallot, nutmeg, chicken broth, maple syrup (optional), red pepper flakes (optional) to a tall container or blender. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine all ingredients until a smooth consistency is reached. If you prefer thinner soup, add more chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Top with chopped parsley, basil, and pepitas. Serve with the bread slices.
butternut squash recipes
Photo: VeguKate

3. Winter squash and sage risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) winter squash (I used red kuri squash)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1.2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock, homemade recommended
  • 1/4 cup sage, divided
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Half winter squash and scoop out seeds. Depending on the variety you are using, you may need to peel your squash before cubing. (See list above if you need to peel.) Cube winter squash and add to a baking tray. Drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes, or until squash can easily be pierced with a fork.
  2. While the squash is roasting, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot on the stove. Add diced onion and allow to gently cook, about five minutes. Add in Arborio rice and stir to coat with oil, lightly toasting the rice for two minutes. Pour in the wine and allow to absorb completely, which should only take a minute or two.
  3. Now it’s risotto time. Add hot stock to the rice one cup at a time continuously stirring all the while. When the stock is almost completely absorbed add in the next ladleful. Keep repeating until rice is al dente (with a bit of bite and almost done) and risotto is perfectly creamy. This process could take 20 to 40 minutes, so be patient and stir frequently! Taste often to see if the rice is cooked al dente – you don’t want to overcook or overwork the risotto.
  4. While rice is still cooking, measure out a heaped cup of roasted winter squash and add to a food processor or blender along with eight to 10 leaves of fresh sage. Blend or process until a thick and creamy puree is formed, adding in a splash of stock to thin out the mixture if needed. Add this squash puree to al dente risotto, along with cubed and roasted squash, Parmesan cheese (if using) and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir completely to incorporate.
  5. Divide risotto between bowls and garnish with ribbons of fresh sage and additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!
Photo: The Lemon Bowl

4. Italian sausage and butternut squash farro bake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked farro (prepared according to package instructions)
  • 4 links Italian turkey sausage (spicy or sweet)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups butternut squash (cubed)
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (thinly sliced)
  • parmesan cheese (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and have a deep lasagna size baking dish ready.
  2. Cook farro according to package instructions and place cooked farro in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casings and add to pan along with the garlic. Saute until golden brown and cooked through, about seven to nine minutes, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan and place in the bowl with the reserved farro.
  4. Add the butternut squash cubes to the hot pan and sauté in the remaining fat rendered from the sausage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and sauté until squash becomes fork-tender, about four to five minutes. Stir in spinach during the last minute of cook time. Remove from heat and place cooked squash and wilted spinach to the bowl with the farro and sausage.
  5. To the bowl with the farro mixture, stir in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers and shredded mozzarella. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture into the baking pan and top with fresh mozzarella slices.
  6. Bake until warm and cheese is golden brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve if you wish.
butternut squash recipes
Photo: Sugar Free Mom

5. Roasted butternut squash pomegranate salad with tahini dressing

For the salad

  • 2 ounces butternut squash peeled, diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 5 ounces romaine
  • 2 Tbsp chopped raw pecans
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils

For the tahini

  • 1 Tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the butternut squash on a rimmed baking pan and toss with oil. Stir to coat well.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes then toss. Return to oven to finish baking another 10 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool.
  4. Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Add pecans and pomegranates. Pour in cooled butternut squash.
  5. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and toss over salad.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.

Recipes printed with permission from authors.

This post was originally published on September 26, 2019; updated on April 7, 2020.

For more ideas on what to make this fall, join Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group. And here’s how to give your love for cauliflower a fall twist.

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