While some may only view butternut squash as a decorative gourd best used as the centerpiece of a fall dinner party tablescape, those in the know understand that it's actually a healthy and versatile product that can be incorporated in a myriad of clever recipes.
Rich in fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A, butternut squash may be treated as a vegetable, although it's technically a fruit (feel free to debate). The shapely fruit is grown on a vine and features a bold orange color. Its flavor is sweet and nutty, not unlike pumpkin, making it ideal for roasting or sautéeing for everything from creamy soup to vegetarian-friendly ravioli, enchilada filling, and even a pizza topping.
Curious how you can utilize this hearty fruit? Whether you're in the mood for vegan mac and cheese or a winter vegetable brown rice bowl, keep scrolling for 10 of the best butternut squash recipes ahead.
Butternut Squash Cheese Ravioli
The Hero Ingredient: Sage gives the pesto sauce a distinctive, fragrant flavor.
Pro Tip: If you're not ready to try your hand at homemade pasta dough, you can always buy some at the market or use wonton wrappers, according to Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
Why We Love It: This super cozy dish is comfort food with a healthy twist. It takes a bit of extra work, but you'll enjoy fresh pasta dough filled with roasted butternut squash and cheese all topped with a brown butter sage pesto.
Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Black Bean Enchiladas
The Hero Ingredient: A homemade enchilada sauce is the hero of this recipe. It calls for ingredients like avocado oil, tomato sauce, and chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
Pro Tip: "The toppings make all the difference," Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker writes. She suggests going for avocado, cilantro, red onion, or even pumpkin seeds.
Why We Love It: A simple combination of roasted butternut squash, black beans, and enchilada sauce goes a long way. This recipe is a great vegetarian option for when you're craving a filling, Mexican-inspired dish; and it takes just over an hour to prepare.
Hot Curry Spice Butternut Squash Soup
The Recipe: Hot Curry Spice Butternut Squash Soup
The Hero Ingredient: Cayenne pepper provides an unexpected spicy kick.
Pro Tip: "Make a pot of this soup on Sunday and have soup for lunches the following week," Alison Wu of Wu Haus advises.
Why We Love It: This healthy soup tastes rich and decadent, thanks to ingredients like butternut squash, avocado oil, ginger, hot curry powder, cayenne pepper, and nut butter. It's also incredibly versatile so you can add or remove ingredients as you see fit, or even serve the soup over rice or quinoa for a more filling meal.
Baked Butternut Squash Fries
The Hero Ingredient: Unexpectedly, anchovy fillets are the hero of this veggie side dish. They give the aioli a salty taste that compliments the sweet squash.
Pro Tip: When shopping for the perfect squash at the market, look for one with a long shaft that you can easily slice into thin fries, Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe explains.
Why We Love It: A fun play on classic French fries, this innovative side dish calls for crispy oven-baked butternut squash and a tasty anchovy aioli sauce for dipping.
Butternut Squash Chicken Flatbread Pizza
The Recipe: Butternut Squash Chicken Flatbread Pizza
The Hero Ingredient: While butternut squash clearly steals the show in this pizza recipe, caramelized onions add another layer of sweetness and texture. Plus, they eliminate the need for a sugary sauce.
Pro Tip: "You could make it as a meal for your family, a fancy date night in, or serve it as an appetizer around the holidays," writes Krista Rollins, the foodie responsible for Joyful Healthy Eats.
Why We Love It: When it comes to vegetable pizza toppings, don't knock butternut squash until you try it. It works great paired with balsamic caramelized onion, chicken, and goat cheese in this savory appetizer—that could also serve as a small meal.
Brown Rice Vegetable Cashew Lemon Bowl
The Recipe: Brown Rice Vegetable Cashew Lemon Bowl
The Hero Ingredient: Homemade dressing is the star of this healthy bowl. It's made with cashew butter, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and garlic.
Pro Tip: You can use any leftover grains you have when making this dish, according to Aida Mollenkamp of Salt & Wind.
Why We Love It: This nutrient-packed bowl only takes five minutes of hands-on time in the kitchen. It's free of dairy and gluten, and is completely vegan. Plus, it tastes good to boot. Try it out next time you're ready to meal prep for the week ahead.
Butternut Squash Quesadilla
The Hero Ingredient: A bit of brown sugar helps to caramelize the onions for a beautifully sweet taste.
Pro Tip: Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper likes to serve up these quesadillas as a festive fall appetizer.
Why We Love It: A butternut squash filling makes these quesadillas healthier than your typical Mexican-inspired fare. However, they still taste good enough to serve to everyone, including those with picky taste buds.
Vegan Farrotto with Butternut Squash
The Recipe: Creamy Vegan Farrotto with Butternut Squash
The Hero Ingredient: It's no secret that farro is the hero ingredient of this dish. It allows for a nutritious version of classic risotto.
Pro Tip: Be sure to use whole farro as opposed to pearled, semi-pearled, or quick-cooking versions, Laura Wright of The First Mess recommends.
Why We Love It: Instead of traditional risotto, this dish is made with farro. It's still a creamy meal that feels like comfort food, with all the benefits of nutrient-rich farro; including protein and fiber.
Roasted Butternut Squash Bruschetta
The Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Bruschetta
The Hero Ingredient: Ciabatta bread is the base of this appetizer, and it also earns the title of hero ingredient thanks to its sturdy structure and satisfying taste.
Pro Tip: If you don't have time to caramelize onions yourself, you can find a pre-made onion spread from the market, according to Melanie Bauer of Melanie Makes.
Why We Love It: As a perfect starter for your next gathering, this roasted butternut squash bruschetta made with toasted bread, ricotta cheese, balsamic caramelized onions, and sage hits on flavor, texture, and presentation. You'd be hard-pressed to eat just one piece.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
The Hero Ingredient: Roasted, salted cashews work with nutritional yeast to create a creamy, cheese-like texture for this vegan mac and cheese dish.
Pro Tip: You'll know the spiralized butternut squash is done cooking when the noodles have wilted and are fork-tender, according to Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness.
Why We Love It: This healthy, gluten-free dinner only calls for six simple ingredients. Butternut squash noodles replace traditional pasta, and nutritional yeast is used to replicate the creamy texture we know and love about mac and cheese.