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The Very Versatile Butternut Squash

Learn to Cook: Roasted Butternut SquashI once had a pumpkin-pie craving emergency that I quickly satisfied with the butternut squash I had on hand. Wow, what a great discovery! Now, I use butternut squash for many favorite dishes throughout the fall and winter. Here’s a traditional Pumpkin Pie you can make using butternut squash in place of pumpkin.

Butternut squash is a member of the gourd family. Its cousins include pumpkins and other winter squash, melons, cucumbers and summer squash. It’s incredibly versatile and can be baked, roasted, stewed, puréed or mashed, like potatoes. Here are some easy ways to try this simply sweet, nutritious and totally delicious squash:

Butternut Squash Panzanella SaladButternut Hummus

Butternut squash is wonderful in salads. Did you know you can grate it raw to serve with leafy greens and a favorite dressing? Here are more salad ideas:

Remember, butternut squash is a bit sweeter than most pumpkins, but very similar in taste and texture. This makes it a great substitute for pumpkin and other winter squash in just about any recipe. You’ll love it baked into breads, muffins (try these Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins using butternut squash in place of pumpkin), cakes, pies, pancakes and cookies. This Butternut Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks recipe is scented with nutmeg. 

Turkey Pumpkin ChiliOnion, Bacon and Butternut Tart

In cool weather, I’ll often simmer peeled butternut squash with onions (and sometimes a peeled apple and/or some fresh fennel) in vegetable stock with salt and pepper, adding spices, like ginger or curry powder, and herbs such as thyme, rosemary or chives. Then I purée and serve. Sometimes I will stir in a splash of coconut milk and sprinkle fresh parsley over the top. Simple and delish! If you like soup and chili, here are a few ideas:

Here are more savory ways for using butternut squash:

Do you have a favorite recipe using butternut squash?  Let me know.

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Naomi says …

I absolutely LOVE butternut squash. I incorporate it in my meals all throughout the fall. It is definitely a staple!

Mary says …

I am looking for the recipe for the Butternut squash salad from Whole Foods. It has chunks of squash, red onion, cranberries, maple syrup sherry wine vinegar, thyme, salt, pepper. How to cook and how much of each ingredient?

j.J. says …

Not completely ripe butternut squash has a chemical that will cause your hands to peel when you cut into the skin. Shouldn't happen with store bought squash, but found out with the home grown that still needed a couple weeks to season. Good exfoliator.

Tam says …

I usually peel and cook the butternut squash in the microwave in a covered casserole dish with just a bit of water and salt. When it is done, I drain off the excess water and add some butter and brown sugar I place it back in the microwave for another 2 minutes, take it out, and stir. The absolute Best side ever.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARY - I wasn't able to find the exact recipe online but this one is very close: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-butternut-squash-sage-and-cranberries. You can always contact your local store to see if they have a recipe since more than likely it is made in-house!

Cathy Raats says …

I use Butternut in sweet muffins its delicious. We use it in South Africa more often than Pumpkin.

nutterbut says …

I frequently cook a great recipe from the nytimes. Chop up the squash, saute until soft, turn heat way down and add a lil greek yogurt and 1 or 2 finely chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Mash it all up and voila, taco filling. I serve with walnuts, feta/goat/chihuaha cheese, spinach. One of my favorite dinners.

jeannette says …

love the recipes will visit offen