This roasted butternut squash is easy to make and requires only three simple ingredients in addition to the squash: olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it!
As a vegetable higher in sugar content, butternut squash caramelizes and browns beautifully when roasted, drawing out its natural sweet flavor.
For a couple months every year, bins filled with butternut squash are a common sight at the farmers market I go to.
They’re a hardy winter squash and grow well in the United States, so you should be able to find a local source at your farmers market when they are in season.
As the butternut squash season comes to an end, I always buy a couple extra at the market. I can’t think of anything that keeps better than a winter squash. They’re a great veggie to stock up on and extend your ‘fed by the farm’ season.
I’ve had butternut squash in my pantry for as long as two months before I finish them all, and I’m confident they’d hold on even longer if I didn’t eat them first!
Everything You Need to Know About Butternut Squash
When is butternut squash in season?
Butternut squash is planted when the soil is already warm, and harvested at the end of the growing season. In most of the Unites States you’ll see it cropping up in late August and into the fall. In Florida the butternut squash will start appearing at the farmers market around January until May.
What does butternut squash look like?
Butternut squash come in a variety of sizes and somewhat varying shapes – but generally they’ll be oblong with a wider bulb at the bottom.
The bulb contains some flesh and a small hollow center where you’ll find the seeds and stringy bits.
The neck, or long section of a butternut squash, is solid squash. So, the larger the neck the more squash you’ll get… and the easier it will be chop up by the way!
That’s why I chose this squash in the photo above.
How do you know if a butternut squash is ripe?
The outer skin of a ripe butternut squash is a warm matte beige color. If the butternut squash appears yellow or has green tones, it’s not ripe yet. If you tap the outside of the round part of a butternut squash with your knuckle it will sound hollow when ripe.
When you cut into a ripe butternut squash the flesh is a deep, bright orange. The longer the squash sits in your pantry between being picked and being cut, the more stringy the bulb area will be.
Can you eat the skin of a butternut squash?
As it’s part of the winter squash family, butternut squash has a very tough skin that you won’t want to eat.
What is the texture of butternut squash?
The flesh inside an uncooked butternut squash is very firm and requires cooking before eating. When cooked, butternut squash is very soft and similar to other winter squash such as acorn. The longer you cook it the softer it will get.
How long will a butternut squash keep before going bad?
I’ve had butternut squash from the farmers market stored in my kitchen pantry for as long as two months without any issue. All signs of ripeness, including color and taste, are still there when I cook them. I’m confident I could keep them in the pantry even longer if it came to it.
How should you store butternut squash?
A whole, uncut butternut squash can be kept on a shelf in your pantry, or any place out of direct sunlight. Do not store them in the fridge, unless they’ve been cut.
How to Roast Butternut Squash – Step by Step
Though roasted butternut squash is simple to make, you will spend some time upfront peeling and cutting it up. Fortunately butternut has a thin skin, so it’s a heck of a lot easier to cut open and prepare than some other winter squash, like acorn!
Let’s get cooking!
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.
For this recipe I used a 3 pound butternut squash. If your squash is larger or smaller, that’s completely fine, just be sure to adjust the seasoning up or down.
1. Peel the squash
The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is to start by cutting it in half, lengthwise.
Then lay one of the halves cut-side-down on your cutting board. Hold onto the end of the squash and use a vegetable peeler to peel long lengths of skin like you can see in the photo below.
The secret to easily peeling a butternut squash – The secret is in cutting it in half lengthwise and setting it flat-side-down to peel. If you try to peel the butternut squash without cutting it in half first, it’s awkward to hold and harder to get those long strokes with the peeler = it takes a lot longer to peel.
When to stop peeling: You’ll notice that as you peel off the first layer of skin there’s a pale yellow layer underneath. It’s not necessary to keep peeling more layers until you see the bright orange flesh. If you want to, you can, but it just adds to your prep time and that tiny layer of lighter flesh won’t impact the taste..
One you’re done with the first half, peel the second half. Then remove the seeds and stringy bits from the bulb.
2. Cut the squash
Again, lay the butternut squash flat-side-down on your cutting board for this. Using a sharp, strong knife, cut the squash into 1 inch squares and place them in an un-greased 13″ x 9″ baking pan.
This makes a lot of squash so I use a glass pan that has deep sides.
3. Season the squash
Once all the squash is cut and in your pan, season it with the oil, salt and pepper and stir well to coat every piece.
The seasoning measurements are in the recipe card below. Be sure to adjust based on the size of your butternut squash and personal taste. The first time you make this I suggest starting with half the salt and pepper before you roast the squash, and add the rest to taste after it’s done roasting
4. Roast the squash
Roast the butternut squash uncovered in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the edges brown and the pieces are very fork-tender. Stir once halfway through cooking to prevent the bottom from burning.
The required cooking time will vary depending on the size of your cubes of squash. I suggest checking at 35 minutes for doneness, then every 5 minutes after until it’s browned to your liking. My 3 pound squash took 40 minutes to cook.
I once roasted a huge 4.7 pound butternut squash and it took 1 hour and 25 minutes.
What to Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted butternut squash is a wonderful and healthy side dish to serve alongside your favorite meat, such as pork chops, chicken, ribs or just about anything if you live in my house.
It reheats well in the microwave, giving you a few days of delicious left overs. And on that note..
Make Butternut Squash Soup with the Leftovers!
If you’ve never made homemade pureed soup you’re going to feel like a gourmet chef with this tip.
Forget those boxes of butternut squash soup you’ll find at the grocery store, you can make your own in minutes now that the roasting is out of the way.
For two bowls of butternut squash soup, simply combine 2 cups of your roasted squash with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp of fresh thyme leaves. Puree with an immersion or regular blender.
If you make extra soup, you can freeze it in freezer bags or Mason jars. Just be sure to leave a good 2 inches at the top of the jar so there’s room for expansion when the soup freezes.
Roasted Butternut Squash
- Vegetable Peeler
- 13" x 9" baking dish
- 3 lb butternut squash
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise top to bottom. Remove the seeds and pulp from the bulb of the squash.
- Lay each half of the squash cut-side-down on the cutting board and peel it using long strokes of your vegetable peeler.
- Slice the peeled butternut squash into 1 inch rectangles and spread in an un-greased baking pan.
- Season with oil, salt and pepper and stir to coat well.
- Roast on the middle rack of your oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Butternut squash is done when the edges start to brown and the pieces are very fork-tender.
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