This step by step guide for how to cook squash will teach you three easy ways to cook this vegetable – cubed & roasted butternut, mashed, and halved acorn.
Two truths and a lie:
- Cooking is my hobby, passion, and job.
- I bought my weight in squash this year.
- I really, really dislike chocolate
OBVIOUSLY the last one is a lie. And the 50+ chocolate recipes on DGV are here to prove it.
Which means, yes, I bought over one hundred pounds of squash this year. And I intend to eat every last one of them.
If you couldn’t tell, squash has been a favorite food of mine for years! Right behind my beloved chocolate, of course. My grandma always grew squash, so we had a huge stockpile each fall. I grew up eating it multiple times a week and never grew tired of its sweet comforting flavor.
We primarily ate mashed squash with lots of butter and brown sugar – which I still enjoy today, albeit with this vegan butter and a sprinkle of coconut sugar. But, I have also found a few new favorite ways to enjoy this sweet, nutrient-packed and versatile veggie.
How to cook squash whole (step by step):
This is the easiest of all squash cookery. Place your squash of choice on a sheet pan and give it a few pokes with a knife. This helps to release steam and keeps the squash from exploding. (Which is quite a rare possibility, but who wants to chance scraping squash guts off the sides of the oven?)
Place your pricked squash in a 400 degree oven. Check on it every 30 minutes, or so, until the squash is soft to the touch. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
Slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. You now have squash that can be used in recipes, or immediately mashed and served. I highly suggest a little butter and coconut sugar.
The reason I love this method is it is so simple:
- It is safer since you don’t have to hack through the impenetrable fortress of squash skin in order to cut it into cubes.
- You don’t have to scrape out the seeds while the squash is raw. (What is it they’re using to attach themselves to the squash these days? Super glue!?) Once it is cooked, the seeds magically slide right out.
- It works with any and every type of squash. Just check it every so often for doneness.
- It is really, really hard to overcook. Forgot about it for an hour? Chances are it is still not only edible, but delicious.
Check out our step by step video showing how to whole roast squash:
How to cut and roast butternut squash:
While whole roasted squash is easy peasy, sometimes you need a bite of perfectly seasoned and caramelized squash. Something to serve as a roasted vegetable side dish, or add to your salad, or dunk in hummus.
The first step here is peeling the squash. I think a heavy duty vegetable peeler is best, but you can also use a pairing knife. Discard the skin.
Next, cut off both the stem and butt end of the squash. Cut it in half crosswise to separate the round bottom from the long and skinnier top.
Cut the round bottom piece in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Once the seeds are removed, scrape the cavity again to remove any remaining membrane. Cut each half into strips and then cubes.
Grab the top half, and place it cut side down. Slice it into 1 inch planks. Cut each plank into 1 inch sticks and then into 1 inch cubes.
Spread the cubes out on a sheet pan and drizzle them avocado oil and seasonings of choice. I like salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until the squash is tender with caramelized edges.
Check out our step by step video showing how to cut and roast butternut squash:
How to cook halved and roasted acorn squash:
This method is a middle ground between the two above. It is faster than roasting a whole squash and you can season it like roasted cubes, but there is a lot less chopping involved.
To start, half your squash. I usually do this with a smaller squash, like acorn, but any variety will do!
Scrape out the seeds. Then go back in and make sure all the membrane is removed. Place your two halves cut side down on a sheet tray. Pour in 1 cup of water and bake at 400 for 30-60 minutes or until the squash is knife tender, but not soft enough to give when pressed.
Remove from the oven and flip the halves cut side up. Season each half liberally. I used salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Dollop on some butter and return it to the oven for another 30-60 minutes or until the squash flesh is caramelized and spoon tender.
Grab a spoon and dig on in.
Check out our step by step video showing how to half and roast squash:
Tools you will need to cook squash:
Hand mixer (optional)
Ingredients you will need to cook squash:
Dairy free Butter (like this easy homemade recipe!)
Seasonings of choice – I recommend sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
Avocado oil (or oil of choice)
What to make with squash:
- Gluten Free Butternut Squash Cornbread Stuffing
- Fall Harvest Collard Rolls
- Butternut Apple Soup
- Acorn Squash with Sage Apple Stuffing
- Brussel Sprout + Kabocha Squash Salad (one of my favorite squashes!)
- Butternut Squash Lentil Loaf
- Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Chipotle Cream Sauce
- Delicata Squash and Kale Soba Noodle Salad (the one type of squash that does not need to be peeled!)
- Winter Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Balsamic Roasted Delicata Squash
- Squash Apple Brussel Sprout Bake
- And all of the many pumpkin recipes around here. Just sub in squash.
And finally, I could not leave you in good conscious without dropping this photo of the the cutest squash in the patch. This variety is extra squishy and extra sweet.