Recipe by @WillBrinkerhoff
“Butternut squash is an incredible vegetable for farmers and eaters alike. Squash vines start exploding in the heat of Summer, and produce tons of delectable buttery flesh that can carry farmers through their slower winter season; everyone should learn how to perfect it! This recipe is a simple staple - perfectly browned butternut squash - and I always make extra to keep in the fridge and add to my lunches and snacks (it doesn’t last long!). Butternut squash really needs a good hot bake to let its sugars caramelize, but once you get it right, you’ll be coming back to this recipe time and time again.”
*This recipe can be subbed for any squash, acorn squash, carnival, kabocha, red kuri, etc.
2 Butternut Squash (peeled, cut vertically, de-seeded)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
A few sprigs of thyme
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 450F
Peel the exterior of the squash and slice each in half vertically, so that you can easily scoop out the seeds. I always save these scraps in a freezer bag for vegetable stock!
Next, slice the flesh into half moons and/or cubes - I like to use the bottom half of the squash to make half moons, and I cut the rest into cubes.
Pop each shape into a separate bowl, and add oil, salt, and thyme, mixing to ensure that all pieces are coated evenly.
Unload them onto sheet trays - keep different shapes on separate trays as they’ll brown at different rates. It is very important that you don’t crowd the pieces on the pan! When they’re crowded, steam builds up on the bottom of the pan and cooks the squash into mush without browning them, but if you leave space between, that steam has room to escape and an effective browning shows up!
Once they’re in the oven, set a timer for 25 minutes, and then check them every few minutes after that timer goes off, waiting until they’re golden brown. Different shapes may be done at different times, and you can flip them part-way through their baking for a more even browning.
Once they’re done, take them out of the oven to cool, and drizzle lemon juice on top to give them a nice acidic finish, and decide on how you want to use them!
One of my favorite side dishes is browned butternut squash served on a bed of plain yogurt, with any fresh herbs chopped finely and scattered on top. Alternatively, serve them on their own with some red pepper flakes on top, or level up your salad by topping it with a few of these golden gems!