Roasted butternut squash is one of my favorite side dishes in the winter. It complements just about any vegan dinner very nicely. Butternut squash is naturally on the sweeter side, and the flavor and texture falls somewhere in between sweet potatoes and pumpkin. However, it’s less starchy than sweet potatoes (not that I’m afraid of starches!), and I find it tastier than pumpkin – I’m sure that a lot of you will agree with me here.
A lot of people stay away from butternut squash because it’s quite hard to peel and cut up. Some people buy pre-cut butternut squash in grocery stores to avoid the drama of having to chop it themselves, but we all know that prepped vegetables are more expensive to buy, plus you often get less food for more money. If you follow the directions I’ve outlined in the recipe below, you’ll prep a whole butternut squash by yourself in minutes like it’s no big deal.
Depending on what else is for dinner, I use different spices on the squash to achieve flavor that complements the rest of the meal. Curried butternut squash goes well with Indian lentil or bean stews, and a combo of Italian spices like rosemary, oregano and thyme works great with just about anything: black bean burgers, baked tofu, veggie croquettes, collard greens, etc. While I’ve profiled 2 sets of spices in this recipe for Indian- and Italian-style butternut squash, you can change up the spices to your liking – this surely is the dish that allows lots of experimenting.
Butternut squash is a tasty and nutritious winter squash that can be prepared in various ways. Serve it roasted with Indian or Italian spices to complement other dishes on your dinner table.
- 1 whole medium-sized butternut squash (to yield about 4-5 cups cubed squash)
- Salt, to taste
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp coriander seed powder
- ½ tsp mild or medium chili powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary (whole needles or chopped)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dry rubbed sage
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Dash red pepper flakes or cayenne, to taste (optional)
- 9x13 ovenproof baking dish
- Aluminum foil
- To make peeling and cutting butternut squash easier: Rinse the squash and pat dry. With a fork, pierce a few holes in its skin. Microwave the pierced squash for 2 min on high. Let rest for 5-10 minutes to let it cool slightly (it can be very hot inside after microwaving). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise with a large knife. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Peel the skin off of each half (it may still be a little hard to peel). Cut up each peeled half into ¾- to 1-inch cubes.
- Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Add the cubed butternut squash. Sprinkle the cubes with all of the spices from the curried OR the Italian combos above, add salt to taste. Toss the cubes to distribute the spices evenly, then spray with olive oil cooking spray and toss again.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil, make a few holes in it with a fork. Bake covered with foil for 15 min at 400°F, then take the foil off and bake for 10 min more, or until fork-tender. Just before serving, taste and adjust spices or salt if needed. Enjoy!
Do you use different types of winter squash a lot this time of the year? What is your favorite way to prepare butternut squash?