This sweet and spicy maple roasted butternut squash is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty with a pinch of heat. Roasting brings out the deep color and richness of the butternut squash, and the crispy edges from roasting add an extra layer of flavor. It’s a perfect fall side dish next to almost anything, even mixed in with a salad!
Genius, Simple Way to Cube Butternut Squash
So this is kind of a continuation of the Friday Bits blog, Roasting Squash. Why? Because that is part of my secret to making butternut squash easy. No spending time hacking through thick skin only to cut your fingers, no peeling, no heaving to chop through thick flesh.
My secret? Roast the squash first!
Yes, it adds a bit of time because it takes a while to roast a squash with thick skin like butternut squash, but it also takes a lot of time to hack through and/or peel a whole one.
So what I do is just stick the entire thing on a baking sheet at 375° and check it every 20 minutes , turning every time I check. It’s done when I can just stick a fork through the skin and the skin is shiny and slightly wrinkly, 30 to 45 minutes.
Once it’s cooled a bit, usually 15 minutes, the squash is easy to cut open and cube, like so:This makes my life so much easier! There are times I don’t want to make squash just because it’s so difficult to cut through the skin, and it’s much more expensive to buy already cubed, so this method is great as long as you plan ahead for the time.
Notes on Roasting
This recipe definitely lends itself to your taste. I have ingredient amounts here, but play with them! Add more salt or more pepper. Add paprika or cayenne to make it spicier. Use honey instead of maple syrup. Increase or decrease the amount of syrup. If you don’t like thyme, leave it out! You can even roast it more or less, depending on how crispy you like the edges.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. cayenne or chili powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Place the squash on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Check the squash every 20 minutes until you can just stick a fork through the skin, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Let the squash cool until you can handle it, then cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Make horizontal and vertical cuts in the squash, then cut from the skin to make cubes.
- Place back on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix.
- Place the squash in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the squash is golden and the edges are crispy.
On Friday, I’ll be continuing the squash theme with homemade pumpkin puree, followed by a special something the following week!
‘Till next time!