This simple roasted butternut squash is made by tossing together cubed squash, olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper, and roasting it to perfection! The flavors are both sweet and savory. It’s a great holiday recipe that will grace any table at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve.
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
Some of the best dishes involve just basic ingredients and a small amount of seasoning. This is one of those recipes. Fresh butternut squash is peeled, seeded, and cubed, and then tossed with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. That’s it! This produces a delicious interplay of savory and sweet flavors. Roasted cubes of butternut squash come out soft and crunchy on top. Perfection!
This recipe has no brown sugar, cinnamon, or other “sweet” ingredients. Butternut squash has a wonderful and subtle sweet taste on its own, and in this recipe, this taste is enhanced by savory additions of olive oil and fresh thyme.
Roasted butternut squash makes a perfect holiday side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. It is also a great ingredient to be used as part of more complicated side dishes, such as Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries and Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Honey-Lime Dressing.
Butternut Squash Nutrition
Butternut squash is a winter squash that grows on a vine. It has deep orange flesh, seeds in the middle, with a subtle sweet taste.
Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as several minerals, including magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Butternut squash is also rich in dietary fiber.
How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash
Method 1. Use a Knife.
- Cut the top and the bottom parts of the squash.
- Slice the pear-shaped butternut squash in half. Scrape out the seeds.
- Then, separate the large “bulb” from the “long tube” for each half of the butternut squash.
- Now you have 4 cut parts of butternut squash. 2 “bulb” parts and 2 “long tube” parts.
- Place the “bulb” half of the squash flat side down (the large flesh side down). Using a knife, carefully slice off the skin from top to bottom. Repeat with the second half of the “bulb”.
- Take one half of the “long tube” and place it, standing tall, on a flat cut side. Using a knife, peel off the skin from top to bottom. Repeat with the second half the “long tube”.
Method 2. Use a Vegetable Peeler.
This method involves a good old vegetable peeler and strong lower arm muscles. The stronger your lower arm muscles are, the easier this simple method will be. 🙂
- Cut the top and the bottom parts of the squash.
- Cut the pear-shaped butternut squash in half. Scrape out the seeds.
- Place one half of the butternut squash on its large flat side down (flesh side down).
- Use a vegetable peeler and your muscle strength to peel off the outer layer of the squash. Repeat with the other half.
- Pro tip: purchase a brand new, sharp vegetable peeler to help your muscles when using this method.
It might seem hard to peel the butternut squash. But if you treat it as a lower arm muscle “work-out” of sorts, you will see this process in a new light.
How to Cut Butternut Squash into Cubes
- After peeling and seeding the squash, place each half of the butternut squash flat side down (the large flesh side down).
- Slice each half into 1 inch-wide “half rings”.
- Then line up several of those “half rings” and slice them across into 1 inch-wide cubes. Some cubes will be larger, some will be smaller.
- Repeat with the other half of the butternut squash.
How to Store Sliced Raw Butternut Squash
- Refrigerate it. Once you cut the butternut squash into cubes, you can refrigerate cubed butternut squash for up to 3 days in a freezer plastic bag or in an airtight container. When placing butternut squash in a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze out the air before sealing.
- Freeze it. Alternatively, you can freeze sliced butternut squash using freezer bags or an airtight container. Again, make sure to squeeze out the air before sealing freezer bags. Store sliced butternut squash in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 Butternut Squash. Peel and seed the squash, and then cut it into cubes.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil. Use regular olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil.
- 5 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme. Get sprigs of fresh thyme. Remove the leaves from the sprigs. Make sure you have enough to make about 5 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large bowl, toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer, without overcrowding.
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
Tips for Roasting the Best Butternut Squash
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper keeps roasted butternut squash nice and crispy. It also minimized the cleanup.
- Avoid overcrowding. When adding cubed butternut squash to the parchment-lined baking sheet, do not overcrowd the cubes. Keeping the cubes separate will ensure they get crispy and crunchy.
- Use fresh herbs. Use fresh thyme (or any other herb you like) not ground herbs. Fresh herbs add more flavor and a subtle crunch, as well.
- Toss butternut squash and olive oil in a bowl. Toss cubed butternut squash in olive oil in a large bowl BEFORE adding the cubes to the baking sheet. Do not drizzle olive oil over butternut squash. Tossing allows for better coating and olive oil distribution which also helps make roasted butternut squash crunchy and crispy.
- Preheat the oven. Make sure the oven is preheated to 400 Fahrenheit BEFORE you place the baking sheet with butternut squash in the oven. Again, this helps keep butternut squash nice and crunchy.
- Allow the butternut squash to cool properly. After the squash has been roasted and you removed it from the oven, do not let the baking sheet with the roasted butternut squash rest on a hot surface. Instead, place the baking sheet on a cool surface, placing the towel between the hot baking sheet and the cool surface. This will prevent roasted butternut squash from getting mushy and soft. For an even better result, lift the parchment paper with the cooked squash and transfer it to a cool surface.
Butternut Squash Side Dish Recipes
Roasted butternut squash is not only good all on its own, but it is also a great ingredient in many beautiful, colorful, and healthy side dishes. Add a seasonal touch to any recipe using this wonderful vegetable. Here are some suggestions:
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries is one of the best holiday side dishes you’ll ever try! It’s a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or any time you like! This side dish is packed with vegetables and nuts. It’s healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian, and rich in fiber!
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Pecans, Cranberries, Pomegranate Seeds, and Poppy Seed Honey-Lime Dressing – this salad is a great choice for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other Fall and Winter holiday menu!
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple Butternut Squash, Pumpkin Seeds, and Cranberries – this perfect Autumn salad is bursting with colors and flavors! This healthy, delicious, gluten-free recipe is packed with veggies.
Roasted Butternut Squash Main Dish Recipes
Butternut squash is also a great addition to all kinds of pasta and other types of main dishes. Here are some ideas:
- Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Pecans. This recipe describes how to make homemade butternut squash ravioli and then serve them with roasted butternut squash cubes, brown butter sauce, and pecans.
What to Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Gourmet Main Dish Recipes. Even though roasted butternut squash is a pretty basic recipe, it makes a beautiful presentation thanks to its bright orange color. That, in turn, makes it a perfect side dish for a festive occasion. Serve roasted butternut squash alongside roast duck or duck breasts with cranberry sauce.
- Holiday Main Dishes. Serve roasted butternut squash alongside holiday turkey, ham, or any other special main course.
- Ravioli Recipes. A sprinkle or roasted butternut squash pairs well with any type of ravioli: butternut squash ravioli, goat cheese ravioli, spinach ravioli, or your favorite store-bought ravioli.
- Chicken Bakes. Butternut squash makes an excellent side dish to all kinds of baked chicken. My favorites are cajun chicken bake and zucchini chicken with bacon.
How to Store and Reheat Roasted Butternut Squash
- Refrigerate it. Store roasted butternut squash in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
- Reheat it in the oven. Reheat it in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 15 minutes. Reheating the squash in the oven will result in the best consistency: the squash will regain some of its texture and crunch.
- Microwave it. Or, gently microwave it for 30 seconds. Microwaving the squash is not recommended if you want it to regain its crunch. But it will work just fine if you are short on time.
Looking for a simple and basic recipe for roasted butternut squash? This is it! The cubes of butternut squash are tossed in olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and then roasted in the oven to perfection! It's a perfect side dish for the holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Peel and seed the butternut squash. Cut it into 1-inch cubes.
Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs so that you have about 5 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves.
In a large bowl, toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.
Spread butternut squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer, without overcrowding.
Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.