Fall has to be the best season, thanks to pumpkin spice lattes, butternut squash, and Halloween! What could you want more? Well, there is one more thing – to cook butternut squash the right way.
Even though this squash is a fruit, most people refer to it as a vegetable anyway!
We’ve created this guide for home cooks so they can understand the basics of cooking butternut squash without any hesitation.
How to Prepare Your Butternut Squash
Before you can move on to cooking the part, you need to prepare the butternut squash or winter squash so that it’s easier to work with.
The first step is to wash your butternut squash thoroughly. Once that’s out of the way, you can start preparing it.
You can halve or cube your squash or cook it whale if that’s what your recipe calls for. Butternut squash can come in quite hefty sizes, so cutting them is definitely a challenge. But not for a cook with a sharp knife!
Keeping your dull knives away is the smart move here, as they can slide off the vegetable easily.
The right way to cut butternut squash is to chop off 1/4th of an inch from the bottom first so it can stand upright, and then, you can cut the squash in half and scoop away the seeds.
Halved squashes make for amazing soup bases. But if you want to use it in a salad or a veggie platter, make sure to peel and cube it. The best way to peel butternut squash is to use a sharp Y-shaped peeler.
Ways to Cook A Butternut Squash
The prepping might seem like a boring job, but once you have the vegetables all chopped up, that’s when the fun starts. Butternut squash has a sweet and nutty flavor hidden under the thick peel, which can be enhanced by different cooking methods.
Everyone cooks food to their own liking, so one recipe might not be equally loved by another.
But if all cooks can unite on one thing, it’s the fact that any roasted butternut squash recipe is the best. Since it’s a relatively mellow vegetable, roasting gives it a certain edge and crunchiness.
For A Whole Butternut Squash
One of the advantages of working with such a versatile vegetable is that you can cook it as it is, skin-on and all! Just wrap your baking sheet in foil and oil your delicious produce. Then, chuck it in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you decide to halve it, you can cut down the cooking time to about 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper, smother some butter and enjoy! You can even use the butternut squash as a plate and stuff it with mushrooms, nuts, cheese, and even sausages!
For Cubes of Butternut Squash
For those who are good with a knife, you can chop it into 1-inch-sized cubes and roast them for about 20 minutes, making sure to toss them in some olive oil and any spice of your liking.
When they’re fork tender, that’s when they’re ready to go! This method is perfect if you’re a fan of meal prepping since cubed butternut squash is very easy to store.
You can easily reheat roasted cubes and top any salad off with them for some added vitamin C and fiber!
Roasting butternut squash can use up a lot of oil, so if you want to avoid that, a better alternative is to steam it. This low-fat method works well if you want to soften up the nutty flesh for a soup or another recipe.
Cut the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces, steam it for about 10 minutes or less, and then season it with whatever you like since plain steamed butternut squash can taste quite bland. Or you could mix it with some oatmeal to make a nutritious bowl for breakfast!
Boiling butternut squash is a lot similar to steaming them. Season the water with some salt and other seasonings if you like.
As you’ll cook the squash cubes in the water for 10 minutes, the seasoning will infuse into them throughout the process. Once they’re soft and tender, make sure to drain them well, so they don’t get mushy or watery.
You can get the same results by cooking your butternut squash halves in an instant pot or a pressure cooker. If you can’t fit it in, just chop them into 4 pieces!
Eat the Seeds too!
Most people would simply discard the seeds, but almost every part of this vegetable is completely edible.
Just like pumpkin seeds, you can roast these seeds too. Scoop them out, wash them thoroughly, so there’s no pulp stuck, and then dry them.
You can brush them with some olive oil, salt, ground pepper, or any other spice you like. Then lay them out on a large baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crunchy!
What to Pair Butternut Squash With
Once you’ve got the hang of what cooked butternut squash is like, it’s time to understand what you can pair it with. But if you still need some help, here are a few recipe ideas!
Butternut Squash Waffle
Since butternut squashes have such a fall flavor, they’d make for some amazing waffles.
All the recipe requires you to do is mix whole wheat flour into some pureed butternut squash and maple syrup, a handful of fruits on top and a drizzle of syrup of your choice. And voila! You have a healthy breakfast!
Butternut Squash Toast
Avocado toast has taken the world by storm, but why not switch it up with butternut squash toast? Roasted or baked butternut squash has the perfect sweet and creamy texture to replace avocado.
You can top it off with some caramelized onions and even a fried egg!
You can either make butternut squash the star of the meal or prepare it as a tasty side dish!
Thanks to its mellow nutty flavor, it works great in savory and sweet dishes too. Make use of the fall season and eat your heart out this autumn with various butternut squash recipes.