One of my favorite side dishes for fall is roasted butternut squash. Just peel, dice and toss with olive oil, seasonings and fresh sage, then bake in the oven. Finish with a splash of Balsamic vinegar for a wonderful flavor. Don’t know how to cut up a butternut squash? I’ll show you how step by step.
Whole foods, prepared simply are tasty and healthy. Packed with vitamins A, C, and B6, plus fiber and important minerals, a simple dish of butternut squash is a great choice for fall, winter, and holiday meal planning.
It's a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table. And with that brilliant orange color, you know butternut squash is an outstanding source of antioxidants offering anti-inflammatory benefits.
For your shopping list, a medium butternut squash weighs about 3 pounds. Butternut squash has a lovely natural sweet flavor, so no brown sugar is necessary. One option for a little sweeter flavor is to mix a teaspoon or two of pure maple syrup with the olive oil before tossing. See exact measurements on the recipe card.
- Medium butternut squash
- Olive oil or avocado oil
- Fresh sage leaves or rosemary
- Granulated garlic powder
- Kosher or sea salt and pepper
- Heavy, sharp 9″-10″ chefs knife to tackle this job
- Sturdy cutting board
- A sharp vegetable peeler (an inexpensive Y-peeler works best)
- Rimmed baking sheet
How to Cut Up a Butternut Squash
With a funny shape like a fat, squat bowling pin, butternut squash can be a little intimidating to handle. I’ll show you how to cut one up then roast it for a flavorful fall vegetable side dish you’ll love. Before you start, here's a tip.
Pro-tip: to keep your cutting board from slipping or moving on your kitchen counter, place a small kitchen towel (like a bar mop towel) under it. If it still moves, dampen the towel with a little water. Another worthwhile tool is an anti-slip cutting board mat.
First, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom ends of the squash. Then cut the squash across where the neck and the base of the squash bottom come together.
Peel the Squash
The best way to skin it is to use a sharp vegetable peeler for the tough outside of the squash. If yours is old, it might need to be replaced.
Slice and Chop
Stand the neck piece on end and slice it into 1-inch wide slices or planks. Next, place the flat slices down on the cutting board and chop into 1-inch cubes.
For the bulb base, cut it in half top to bottom and with a spoon, cleanly scoop out the fibrous seeds. Chop the bulb part as best you can into 1-inch cubes of butternut squash.
Buy pre-cut butternut squash cubes in packages in the produce department to save time. When you open the package, look them over to make sure they are about the same size so they roast evenly.
Get Ready to Roast
To protect the squash from direct contact with the baking sheet line it with parchment paper.
Place butternut squash cubes into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic and fresh chopped sage leaves. Pour onto a rimmed sheet pan in a single layer (half sheet size) and bake at 400°F hot oven for about 25 minutes, until fork tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife.
When done, sprinkle with a little Balsamic vinegar or syrup if desired for extra great flavor and a burnished color. Serve hot from the oven with a nice roast chicken, roast turkey, or pork tenderloin.
Another way to serve it is as a butternut squash puree. Pour into a food processor and pulse a few times until smooth.
Save any extra and refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Serve the roasted cubed butternut squash warmed up with scrambled eggs for breakfast or add cold to a hearty winter salad.
For the puree, warm up and top with poached eggs with a little crisp bacon on the side. What a breakfast!
More Butternut Recipe Ideas
Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 medium butternut squash 3 pounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage leaves or rosemary
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar or syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
Prep the Squash
- Using a heavy, sharp chefs knife, slice a thin piece from the top and bottom of the squash. Next, cut across the squash where the neck and bulb meet. Using a sharp vegetable peeler (Y-peelers are easiest), peel the squash. Stand the neck portion on end and cut in half, then into 1″ wide slices or planks. Next dice into 1″ pieces. For the bulb, scoop out the seeds cleanly with a spoon, then slice and dice the pieces as for the neck piece. See post for detailed photos.
Roast Squash and Finish
- Place squash cubes in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Dump cubes onto a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and roast until cubes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 25 minutes. Cubes should be golden and a bit browned at the edges. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar or syrup when serving if desired.