Published on November 16, 2019

No vegetable encapsulates the flavors of the season quite like butternut squash. Cooking this sweet, nutty ingredient for the first time each year is borderline ceremonious. You simply can’t cut, peel, or seed one until temperatures have dipped below 32 degrees and holiday decorations are on display. Pureeing it for a soup or roasting it for a hearty bowl isn’t just a step in a recipe—it’s an ode to the changing leaves and the imminent festive season.

Positive associations aside, butternut squash is incredibly good for you—this low-calorie, nutrient-rich food is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E. A diet rich in butternut squash can help your body fight against cancer, heart disease, and mental decline. If you’re looking to make the most of autumn’s most flavorful produce, look no further. We tapped several foodies for their favorite recipes, and their responses range from hearty weeknight meals to stunning Thanksgiving side dishes.

Hasselback Butternut Squash With Sage Butter and Prosciutto Breadcrumbs

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Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

The foodie: Tieghan Gerard is the accomplished cook and author behind Half Baked Harvest—an award-winning food blog that has since spawned two best-selling cookbooks and nearly 1 million Instagram followers since its 2012 founding. 

The recipe: “I love impressing guests with my hasselback butternut squash,” Gerard told Domino. “I make it sweet and savory with sage butter and crispy, salty prosciutto bread crumbs. It’s so easy to prepare and looks beautiful on any holiday table.”  

The pro tip: The secret to this recipe? Maple syrup plays up the sweetness of the main ingredient, while fresh sage and salted butter keep things savory,” she divulges. “The best part is that you can make this dish ahead of time for easy entertaining!” 

Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

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Courtesy of The Modern Proper

The Foodie: Delicious food, friendship, and hospitality are the driving forces behind The Modern Proper, a food blog by longtime friends Natalie Mortimer and Holly Erickson.

The Recipe: Made with golden butternut squash, tender Honeycrisp apples, and a splash of creamy coconut milk, the duo’s take on this classic soup is autumn in a bowl. “All it’s missing is some crusty, buttered bread, a bottle of red wine, and some friends to share it with.” 

The Pro Tip: “Squash can be a little bit of a pain to prep,” she admits. “We recommend using your knife to slice the skin off, rather than trying to use a vegetable peeler. Once you’ve got the tough skin off and the vegetable cubed, your work will be richly rewarded.”

Kale Salad With Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Tahini Dressing

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Courtesy of Foodie Crush

The foodie: Creative director–turned–food blogger Heidi Larson has been gracing the Internet with delicious, seasonal meals since she left corporate life behind in 2013. Her brainchild, Foodie Crush, is now a hub for fresh, simple, and perfectly indulgent meals.

The recipe: “Butternut squash is the great equalizer for fall and winter dishes,” she says. “It adds heft without being heavy and sweetness without the extra sugar.” Naturally, it’s the star ingredient of her autumnal kale salad. Finished with candied pecans and a drizzle of tahini dressing, this salad is, says Larson, “simple enough to make any day or night of the week.”

The pro tip: “I love roasting butternut squash, but I find that cooking it in an Instant Pot is an awesome route to take. It’s so easy! I can use it in salads like this one, cream it for stuffed ricotta shells, or serve it as a simple side all on its own,” explains Larson.

Butternut Squash Ravioli With Hazelnut Honey Butter

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Courtesy of The Original Dish

The foodie: After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and working at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in California’s Napa Valley, chef Kayla Howey launched her passion project: The Original Dish. Fueled by an eye for food photography and a genuine love of cooking, the blog is a destination for fresh, inventive recipes.

The recipe: In Howey’s opinion, her Butternut Squash Ravioli With Hazelnut Honey Butter is “simply the best weekend project for colder months,” she told Domino. This perfectly indulgent meal calls for “homemade pasta dough filled with a creamy roasted squash and ricotta filling, tossed in a sage-flavored, silky smooth hazelnut honey butter sauce.” Yum. 

The pro tip: Make sure you knead the pasta dough really well—it will help create a lovely smooth texture for the finished ravioli,” she explains. “Also, don’t overthink it! Making homemade ravioli can be intimidating, but try to keep it fun and relaxed. I say the more rustic the ravioli are the better!” 

White Lasagna with Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach

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Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

The Foodie: Chloe Coscarelli, the inimitable chef who brought us cult-favorite vegan restaurant by CHLOE, also sits at the helm of Chef Chloe—a virtual treasure trove of deliciously inventive vegan recipes

The Recipe: My white lasagna with butternut squash is definitely one of my favorites right now!” says Coscarelli. “It’s my go-to meal when I have people over for dinner. I’ve made it a handful of times just in these past few months.” Topped with a creamy, blended cashew alfredo sauce and held together by puréed butternut squash, sautéed spinach, and a tofu-basil ricotta, her vegan take on white lasagna is every bit as indulgent as the original. “Everyone always expects the usual red sauce lasagna, so it’s really fun to change things up,” she adds. “ I like to use the no-boil noodles, so once all the components are prepped, assembly takes no time at all.” 

The Pro Tip: Make a double batch of the alfredo sauce and top each serving with a ladle of heated sauce,” she advises. “That way, if the lasagna comes out a bit dry, you can easily bring it back to life.” 

Ginger Miso Butternut Squash Soup With Crunchy Quinoa

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Courtesy of What’s Cooking Good Looking

The foodie: Armed with the simple idea that good food will enrich your life, natural foods chef Jodi Moreno of What’s Cooking Good Looking has been crafting healthy, delicious recipes since 2012. Every dish she makes has a nutritional purpose and features whole, natural ingredients sourced from her garden or the local farmers’ market.

The recipe: “This time of year I love soups, and I particularly love butternut squash soup,” shares Moreno. “Adding flavors like ginger and miso offers a unique twist to the fall staple.” In addition to the crunchy quinoa, she recommends toying with inventive toppings like chives, cilantro, or roasted apples.  

The pro tip: The farmers’ markets are booming with squash right now, and that’s where I prefer to get mine,” she explains. While this soup is great served alone or with a salad for lunch, she recommends adding sourdough croutons or some toasted, spiced pumpkin seeds to make a more filling, dinner-worthy meal.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

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Courtesy of What’s Gaby Cooking

The foodie: Chef, cookbook author, and quintessential California girl Gaby Dalkin has infused her love of all things West Coast into her food blog, What’s Gaby Cooking. The result? Perfectly balanced, healthy-ish meals that taste just as good as they look.

The recipe: According to Dalkin, her creamy pasta is the perfect dish for this time of year. While the grated Pecorino and fresh herbs certainly elevate this recipe, “the butternut squash is so good, you might consider eating it like a soup,” she says.

The pro tip: “If you have a hard time cutting this vegetable or get nervous, you can cut it in half and roast it,” she explains. “Once it’s fork tender, use a spoon to scrape out the inside and use that in your pasta sauce. There’s less chopping this way!” 

Butternut Minestrone With Sage, Chickpeas, and Chard

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Courtesy of The First Mess

The foodie: For Ontario-based foodie Laura Wright, her brainchild, The First Mess, is a virtual home for all her natural, plant-based dishes. Nearly every thoughtful meal in her index is vegan, gluten-free, or both. 

The recipe: I love my butternut minestrone soup because the sweetness of the squash complements the rich tomatoes, spicy chilies, and earthy greens perfectly,” divulges Wright. “It’s wholesome, cold-weather comfort in a pot.” 

The pro tip: She recommends always donning gloves when peeling and dicing the vegetable. “A certain percentage of the population reacts with contact dermatitis when handling raw squash,” she shares. “I am one of those people, and I keep gloves on hand in my kitchen for that reason. They are also handy for dealing with chilies and anything spicy.”

Discover more food ideas:
This Pantry Staple Will Make Your Tomato Sauce Even Better
7 Autumnal Acorn Squash Recipes, None of Which Are Soup
7 Thanksgiving Appetizers That Might Just Steal the Turkey’s Spotlight

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