Butternut squash is a flavorful, versatile vegetable. We use it in “creamy” soups, chunky soups, stews, salads, stir fries, burritos, lasagna… The list goes on and on, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to incorporate more into our diet because, beyond being absolutely delicious, this winter favorite of ours boasts many healthy benefits:
- Boost your heart health with dietary fiber, folate, and beta-carotene
- Build stronger bones with significant amounts of potassium
- Strengthen your immune and nervous systems with Vitamin B6
- Reduce inflammation with high-levels of antioxidents
Cooking a butternut squash can seem a bit daunting at first. With its oblong shape and hard exterior, you may not know where to begin. But we’ve got a tried-and-true method for preparing and cooking a butternut squash to share with you today!
What you’ll need:
- Butternut squash
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (very important that it’s sharp… We recommend keeping a knife sharpener in your kitchen and sharpening your knives weekly)
Peeling and Cleaning the Butternut Squash
Lay your butternut squash in the middle of your cutting board. Hold it firmly in place with one hand, and cut the top off – about 1/4″ below the base of the stem.
Holding the base of the squash, place your knife where the elongated top meets the base of the squash and begins to widen. Cut through to remove the elongated top. Set the base aside.
To peel the elongated piece, stand it up on your cutting board with a flat cut side down. Use your knife to slowly peel the outer skin away, running it evenly down the side of the squash piece, removing all white pieces until the orange flesh is shown. Continue this process all the way around until completely peeled. Set aside.
To peel the base, lay it on its side, and remove the bottom in about a 1/4″ thick slice. This forms a flat base for peeling.
Stand the base upright, firmly planted on the newly cut bottom. Peel in the same way as the elongated piece.
Inside the base are all of the butternut squash’s seeds. To remove them, cut the base in half and then into quarters. Use either your knife or a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and “guts”.
Cutting the Butternut Squash
You want all of the squash pieces to be the same size, so that they cook evenly (no matter what cooking method you choose to use.) Starting with the elongated piece, stand it upright on your cutting board. Place your knife about 1/4″ in from on side, and cut a straight line all the way through, creating a butternut squash “steak”. Repeat this process until the piece has been cut complete into “steaks”.
Cut your “steaks” into 1/4″ sticks.
Cut your sticks into 1/4″ cubes. (They look like little cubes of cheddar cheese!!)
Repeat with the base of the butternut squash. Cut each piece into 1/4″ sticks, and then each stick into 1/4″ cubes.
Roasting the Butternut Squash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the butternut squash cubes on the baking sheet in a single layer. (Use two baking sheets if necessary. By keeping them in a single layer, you allow the squash to cook evenly and get golden brown.) Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 Tbsp.) and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until softened and starting to turn golden brown.
Serve hot or cold – we even eat it plain right off the pan! We use this roasted butternut squash in many of our favorite dishes, and we’ll share recipes with you soon!