Food / The Basics

How to Cook Butternut Squash

How to Cook Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is one of my absolute favorite vegetables.  It is substantial and hearty, and can be made to be sweet or savory.  I especially love to eat it simply roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper.  (Such a shocker, I know, since I  prefer most vegetables that way!)  With one squash yielding a large amount and it cooking hands free in the oven, this is a very easy dish to make.  All you need is to learn how to prep the squash and you are ready to go.  So today I put together this simple tutorial to show you how it’s done….

Choose a butternut squash that is heavy, firm and has no bruises (some minor skin blemishes are okay, just make sure nothing is going deeper than the skin).

Squash and tools

The first step then is to peel the squash in full.  The easiest way I have found to do this is using a vegetable peeler and peeling in two sections. I start at the bulb end of the squash.  Peeling horizontally, remove the skin from the bulb area until you see the beautiful orange flesh of the squash.

peel the bulb end horizontally

Next, peel the rest of the squash’s neck vertically.

peel squash verticallyThen, remove the stem ends with a thin cut of a chef’s knife.

trim off endsNow you are ready to open up the butternut.  Using a chef’s knife (serrated knives are not a good choice for this) slice the entire squash in half, lengthwise.

cut squash lengthwiseScoop out each seedy center with a spoon.  You can either save the seeds to roast for a nice little snack, or just toss in the compost or trash bin with the rest of the pulp.

scoop out the seeds and fibersWith both sides peeled and cleaned you are ready to chop for cooking.  You can cut in any size depending on your specific needs.  Keep in mind it is best to have similarly sized pieces so that they will cook evenly.  First, I cut 1″ slices horizontally down the whole squash. Then, take those slices and, one or two at a time, cut again vertically into smaller chunks.  You will need to pay special attention when cutting the hollowed out bulb area; making sure that your chunks are similar in size to the rest.

cut squash into even chunksYour butternut squash is now ready to cook.

ready to cook butternut squashIf you are making soups or pureeing, you’ll place the cubes in boiling water and simmer for about 15 minutes – until they are soft and easy to mash.  If you are roasting, place the cubes on a baking tray and coat with a drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper.

drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper to bake

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425° for around 30 minutes, stirring and flipping half way through.  When finished you will have browned and delicious butternut squash cubes that are super tasty!  You can eat them on their own, mix with other roasted vegetables (like Brussel Sprouts or Beets),  or even serve as a healthy side for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.   Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut squash







3 thoughts on “How to Cook Butternut Squash

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