This sweet and spicy roasted butternut squash is savory and naturally sweet with a hint of spice. It’s the best side dish to welcome fall and uses just a few simple ingredients.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first though.
Cutting a butternut squash. If you haven’t done it much before, it can seem intimidating, and let’s be honest… slightly terrifying.
I’ll give you a couple of easy tips though to make it seamless every time (and to ensure that you keep all your fingers intact).
Pre-Cut Butternut Squash vs DIY
Some grocery stores do sell pre-chopped butternut squash, but cutting our own eliminates unnecessary plastic waste, which I talk about in 15 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste.
Also, the more you do it yourself, the more your kitchen skills will improve.
How to Cut Butternut Squash Safely
For starters, cut the stem off the top and the heel off the bottom so you have two flat ends.
To remove the skin, you have two options: peel the tough skin off with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife (do NOT attempt to do this with a dull knife).
I find that the vegetable peeler works the best and is the safest option.
Using the vegetable peeler method
Keep the butternut squash whole (minus the two ends that you trimmed off). This will make it easier to hold onto while you peel it.
Hold the butternut squash with one hand while you use the other hand to peel the skin away from you. Keep in mind that the skin is quite thick, so you’ll want a sturdy vegetable peeler. I recommend using this one.
Once the skin is completely removed, cut just above the round end (where it meets the neck).
Then, with the flat end of the neck down, cut in the squash in half.
Next, take the bulb ends, and with the bottom flat side down, cut each bulb into halves.
With a spoon or melon cuber, scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. Save the seeds to roast later and put the stringy bits into compost.
Now cut the remaining butternut squash into one inch cubes.
It’s time to get your hands dirty! In a large bowl you’ll combine the butternut squash with the spices and mix thoroughly until all the pieces are coated.
On a large lined baked sheet, spread the cubes into a single layer.
Now it’s ready to roast!
Sweet and Spicy Ingredients
Roasting butternut squash brings out its natural sweetness. It then has ground cinnamon for more natural sweetness and warmth, cumin for its earthiness, and ground ginger for some spice.
If it’s not sweet enough on its own, you can add a little coconut or brown sugar. I generally leave it out, but if you want it a touch sweeter, add it in.
To play up the spice, even more, I added some cayenne pepper for a little kick, but if you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to leave it out. It’s just as incredible without it.
How to Use This Roasted Butternut Squash
- Add to risotto (beef and butternut squash is one of my favorite flavor combinations)
- Serve as a side dish at Thanksgiving or any time
- Blend for butternut squash mashers
- Use in place of pumpkin in desserts
- Add to salads
- Eat on its own (it’s addicting in the best way possible)
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Peel, deseed, and cut the butternut squash into one-inch cubes.
- In a large bowl, add the cubed butternut squash, oil and spices and mix thoroughly with your hands until well coated.
- Spread the squash onto a lined baking sheet in an even layer.
- Bake for 20 minutes, give the squash a stir and then bake for another 20 minutes.
- The squash should be fork tender, but not mushy.