How to – Roasted Butternut Squash

This recipe is part of my “How to” recipes.  My how to recipes are just simple and easy ways to prepare common foods.  I get a lot of questions from my friends and family on how to cook certain foods, so I thought it would be good for start a how to recipe series.

Butternut squash is an amazing fruit, yup that is right, it is a fruit because it contains seeds.  It is a type of winter squash and is related to the pumpkin family.  Much like a pumpkin, butternut squash grows on a vine and is harvested during the fall/winter months.

Butternut squash is packed with nutrients.  It is a great source of iron, niacin, potassium and beta carotene.  Butternut squash is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Its flesh is a made up of powerful complex carbohydrates and fiber.  It is low in fat and is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

When selecting a butternut squash choose one that has little to no blemishes or bruises.  Find a squash that has a matte skin finish.  A squash with a shiny skin is usually a squash that has been picked too early.  An unripened butternut squash will not be as sweet as a fully grown, mature squash.  You will want to select a squash that feels pretty heavy for its size.

It is best to store butternut squash in a cool, dry place.  It is not recommended that you store butternut squash in the refrigerator (unless it is cut).  According to some sources an uncut butternut squash can be stored, in a cool place, for up to three months. Cut, wrapped, squash will stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Butternut squash can be roasted two different ways.  The roasting method you select will depend on how you are going to use the butternut squash in your recipe.  For roasted side dishes and salads, it is best to use the pre-cut roasting method.  For soups, purees, desserts and some main dishes, it is best to use the half roasting method.  At the bottom of this how to page, I have listed some recipe ideas for roasted butternut squash, along with the roasting method that work best for that recipe.

Pre-Cut Roasting Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the outside skin of the butternut squash.  The outside skin is very thick and somewhat hard.  This is a time consuming prep process, so be sure to allot the appropriate amount of time.  You may have to go over certain areas a couple times to get down to the bright orange, flesh part of the butternut squash.  Once the squash is peeled, using a sharp knife, carefully cut the squash in half down the longest part of the squash.  Using a large spoon, scoop the seeds and the seed casing areas out of the squash.  You can rinse the seeds off and roast them separately for a nutritious snack.  Cut the squash flesh up into bite sized pieces.  Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.  Lightly spray with coconut oil (or any spray oil of your choice).  

At this point you can roast the squash with or without oil.  You can also choose to season the squash with salt and/or pepper before you roast it.  For a no oil roast, simply place the cut up squash, spread out, onto the foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  For oil roasted butternut squash, transfer cut up butternut squash to a medium sized bowl.   Lightly coat the squash with an oil of your choice.  Typically the best oil to use for this is olive oil.  Spread, cut up oiled, squash onto the foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.        

Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  The butternut squash bites can now be used in your favorite butternut squash recipe.  Below are some recipe ides for pre-cut butternut squash.    

Butternut Squash Pilaf

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Butternut Squash Stuffing

Butternut Squash Stew

Butternut Squash Risotto 

Half Roasting Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a large, sharp knife, carefully cut the butternut squash down the center (longest part) of the squash.  Use a large spoon and scoop the seeds and the seed casing areas out of the squash.  You can rinse the seeds off and roast them separately for a nutritious snack.  Place aluminum foil over each squash half.  Lay squash foil side up on a baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes to 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender (use a fork to check).  Remove the squash from the oven, remove foil and allow to cool slightly.  The flesh of the squash can now be scooped out and used in your favorite butternut squash recipe.  Below are some recipe ides for half roasted butternut squash.    

Butternut Squash Pie

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Puree

Butternut Squash Ice Cream (see my pumpkin ice cream recipe)

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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