Butternut squash is a superfood, high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and anti-inflammatory compounds. That’s not why it’s one of my all time favorite vegetables though. I simply love the rich sweet taste of this incredibly flavorful squash. Butternut squash is quick and easy to prepare, requiring little effort to prior to serving. When served as a side dish, I put butternut squash on the table hot out of the oven with a dollop of coconut oil, a big shake of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.
Like pumpkin, butternut squash is a winter squash, and a member of the gourd family. Winter squash is generally in season from later summer through mid-winter, though can be grown year round in some locales. I find that I am able to obtain the tastiest winter squash in my area from mid-September until sometime in March, depending on the weather each year.
Here’s how to roast butternut squash. If you wish you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper, that will work just fine. Or, roast the squash sans parchment to get the edges a bit more browned.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Using a big knife, cut the squash in half
- Scoop out seeds and discard, or save for later use
- Rub inside and out of squash with coconut oil
- Place face down on a metal baking sheet
- Bake at 350°F for 40-60 minutes, or until tender
In my experience, butternut squash works incredibly well in recipes that call for pumpkin. I use these two members of the gourd family interchangeably in my recipes. It is often easier to find a ripe sugary butternut squash than it is to find a sweet pumpkin, though I do have great success with hokkaido pumpkins quite often.
Speaking of pumpkin, I’m often asked why canned pumpkin does not work in my pumpkin recipes. Unfortunately, numerous readers have reported that using canned pumpkin in my pumpkin dishes (I’ve created all of these recipes using fresh baked squash or pumpkin) yields an extremely watery, soupy result. So it’s best to stick with the exact recipe, or consider making an adapted version as a complete experiment, with an unpredictable result. You can learn how to roast a pumpkin on my site too!
Use butternut squash in the following easy paleo recipes that call for pumpkin, it will work very well!
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Janet Heeter says
Easier way…..push an all-metal butter knife through the neck of the squash halfway between the bell and the tip of the neck. Put the squash with the knife remaining in the neck on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for an hour or so until soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and string, then easily peel or scoop cooked squash out. No fuss!
Thanks Janet! I think the method I share above is the easiest ever, but it’s great to have other options :-)
All the recipes I see say to roast the squash flesh side up. Why do you have the opposite ?
Marcia, I love the way the squash gets caramelized when it is cooked face down!
I’ve been around for quite a while, and I have always roasted my squash face down. It holds the moisture inside unless you are cooking the squash to eat right away, like an acorn squash. I use this method for freezing or canning squash for later use.
If you are having trouble with canned pumpkin/squash being too watery, cook the product in a saucepan for 15 min. Let cool a bit and continue with your recipe.
Thanks Bruce, I haven’t tried that but it sounds interesting :-)
What a helpful post, thanks Elana! I live in Italy and it’s terribly difficult to find pumpkin here (and spaghetti squash, for that matter) and sweet potato isn’t a given, either. But butternut squash I can get! Can’t wait to try it out, and please do keep these “substitutes” posts a comin’ for those of us who really *need* them!
You’re welcome Amy!
Bob Gordon says
This looks a lot easier than I thought. Thanks for sharing your tips. We use parchment paper with fish… if we skip that in cooking fish, will it brown our fish as well?
Bob, I think that it might, if you do experiment I hope you’ll let us know how it goes :-)
first off-I love checking up and seeing whats new here!
Second-I’d like to make a request and don’t know where to post…
Can u work on a sugar-less alcohol-free Baileys Smoothie?
MLR, I will happily add that to my list of requests :-)