10 Ways to Turn Butternut Squash into Dinner

published Oct 31, 2018
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Growing up, I only ever considered butternut squash a side dish (specifically, a purée of squash sweetened with brown sugar that we’d eat at Thanksgiving and Christmas). When I started cooking for myself, I quickly realized I’d been missing out on a whole lot of other uses for the fall favorite, and now it’s something I reach for all fall and winter long. Not only can it be turned into other great side dishes, but it’s also hearty enough that it can steal the show as a main dish. Here are 10 ways I love to turn it into dinner.

1. Turn it into pasta sauce.

If you’re craving a creamy pasta but want to add a vegetable to the situation, reach for butternut squash. It blends perfectly into a sweet and nutty Alfredo sauce.

2. Make savory hand pies.

Tuck cubes of butternut squash into savory hand pies that can be frozen and reheated for a quick dinner. They also make a great grab-and-go lunch.

3. Blend it into soup.

While thick and creamy butternut squash soup often leans sweet, try making it smoky and spicy with smoked paprika and jalapeños and then topping with sour cream to offset the heat.

4. Bake a savory tart.

Just like butternut squash is a great filling for hand pies, it’s a great base for a savory tart. Make a show-stopping one that’s fit for a dinner party or keep it easy and make one with frozen puff pastry dough.

5. Stir it into risotto.

Do like the Italians and bulk up risotto by stirring butternut squash into it. The result is a meatless dinner that’s extra comforting.

6. Use it as a pizza topping.

Butternut squash probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pizza toppings, but maybe it should be. Its sweetness is the perfect contrast to more savory toppings like mozzarella and bacon.

7. Roast it for a salad.

Fall vegetables like butternut squash are a great choice for a dinner salad because they’re a little bulkier than others. Tossing roasted cubes in with your greens definitely makes things more satisfying.

8. Make a meatless curry.

Skip takeout and make an easy Thai-inspired curry at home with butternut squash. You won’t even need the meat — especially when you add other vegetables like broccoli and bell peppers.

9. Purée it and spread it on toast.

While a purée of butternut squash is more often considered a side dish, it can become dinner if you spread it on good bread and pile on some cooked chickpeas or white beans.

10. Turn it into a hearty casserole.

Combine mashed butternut squash with cooked rice and eggs, top the whole thing with breadcrumbs, and bake it for a unique casserole that just needs a green salad on the side to call it dinner.