10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Butternut Squash

Sure, you could enjoy it roasted plainly in olive oil or blended into soup, but why limit yourself? This kitchen superstar jumps from sweet to savory so effortlessly that the only hard part is deciding how to eat it.
Laura B. Weiss
Food Network Kitchens
Butternut Squash, Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Honey, Salt, Pepper

HOW TO COOK BUTTERNUT SQUASH Laura B. Weiss Food Network Kitchens Butternut Squash, Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Honey, Salt, Pepper

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

HOW TO COOK BUTTERNUT SQUASH Laura B. Weiss Food Network Kitchens Butternut Squash, Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Honey, Salt, Pepper

1. Baked Fries: It’s never a bad time for fries. To ensure that sought-after crispy exterior, pat them dry before spraying with oil, bake them in high heat on a rack set over a baking sheet and salt generously out of the oven, not before.

2. Chips: Whether you deep-fry, bake or pop your chips in the microwave, be sure to use a mandoline or a sharp knife — thinner slices will yield crispier chips. A generous sprinkling of sea salt is all they really need, but feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonings.

3. Pickles: The sweetness of butternut squash is the perfect foil to an acidic pickling brine. Use mild, slightly sweet vinegars like apple cider or rice wine to underline the squash’s natural flavor. Aromatics like sage or cumin are welcome too.

4. Tempura: It’s hard to say "no" to any vegetable enrobed in delicate, perfectly crisp tempura, and butternut squash is no exception. Cut your pieces to a 1/4-inch thickness so the squash will cook in the same time as the batter.

5. Mac 'n' Cheese: Velvety, rich and deep orange all on its own, butternut squash puree makes a surprisingly good base for cheese sauce. Just add a couple handfuls of your favorite cheese, a dash of cream and a pat of butter before tossing with cooked pasta for a satisfying take on the childhood favorite.

6. Latkes: Butternut squash adds color, sweetness and a welcome boost of nutrition to the beloved Jewish treat. Prepare just as you would traditional latkes, or depart from tradition and season with curry powder.

7. Gratin: Butter, cream and Parmesan have the powers to make any cold evening better. Combine them with sauteed cubes of butternut squash for a seasonal, soul-warming take on this classic comfort food. A healthy blanket of buttery breadcrumbs before the gratin hits the oven will add a welcome crunch.

8. Steaks: When reimagined as steak, this workhorse of a vegetable becomes a dramatic main course and a pleasant surprise to vegetarians and carnivores alike. Just slice the long top half of the squash into 1- to 1 1/2-inch-thick planks, season generously and carry on with your favorite steak preparation.

9. Gnocchi: OK, you probably knew about this one, seeing as how it pops up just about everywhere this time of year. But how can it not? Dressed with brown butter and fried sage, pillows of butternut squash gnocchi make an impressive date-night dinner (or late-night snack — we won’t tell).

10. Baked Goods: Homemade butternut squash puree couldn’t be easier: roast until soft, peel and blend. Add to your favorite pie or quick-bread recipe as a one-for-one swap for pumpkin puree, and prepare to sing autumn’s praises with every moist, nutty bite.

Butternut Squash Recipes from Food Network:

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