Roasted butternut squash topped with blue cheese and pecans is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this fall vegetable. Whether it’s for your holiday table or just an interesting side dish for next Tuesday’s dinner, this Baked Butternut Squash is sure to be a hit.
Baked Butternut Squash is a side dish you’ll enjoy all through the fall season. Unlike traditional sweet potato or acorn squash recipes which lean to the sweeter side, this combination of butternut squash with blue cheese, pecans, a hint of thyme, and olive oil, is an earthy, savory delight!
This roasted butternut squash recipe is a great Thanksgiving side dish that’s as packed with nutrients as it is with flavor. It’s nutty, creamy, and savory while also being easy and quick to prepare. Whether you cook it in the oven or the air fryer, it comes together in just a few simple steps.
❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s sweet, earthy, nutty, creamy, and savory.
- Not your traditional holiday side dish.
- This is hands-down one of the most delicious ways to enjoy butternut squash.
- It’s quick and easy to prepare and very customizable.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …
“Oh my gosh, could this dish be any more stunning in color and in flavors?”
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🛒 About the Ingredients
- Butternut Squash – Butternut squash is a type of winter squash related to acorn squash and pumpkins. When choosing them at the market, look for ones that are heavy for their size without surface blemishes. To save prep time, consider purchasing cubed butternut squash available in many market product sections.
- Pecans – You’ll need 4 ounces of pecans, halves or chopped, for the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe. Chopped pecans (or pieces) are significantly less expensive than halves.
- Blue Cheese – Blue cheese gives a lovely savory, tangy flavor to the recipe. Substitute with other cheeses if desired.
- Olive Oil – For roasting the squash. Any type works well.
- Thyme – Adds an herbal flavor that brings out the other earthy tones in the dish.
🔪 How to Make Baked Butternut Squash
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Prepare the squash. Halve or quarter the squash and scoop out the seeds. Peel and then cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
👉 PRO TIP: How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash
Cutting and peeling a butternut squash takes some strength and you should be very careful with your knife when doing this. Here are some hints to make it easier:
Before you start peeling or chopping, microwave the squash whole for about 30 to 45 seconds. This will soften the squash slightly and make the job a little easier. Just stab it three or four times with a very sharp knife and pop it into the microwave.
Next, slice off about 1/4-inch from each end. Stand the squash on one flat end and, using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel all the skin.
Now carefully cut the entire squash in half lengthwise and then again crosswise. Once you have it in manageable pieces, scoop out all the seeds and the “goo.” If you have a serrated grapefruit spoon or a melon baller, they’re great tools for cleaning out the seed cavity.
- Put the squash cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Toss well so that all the cubes are coated with olive oil.
- Roast for 30-45 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the squash cool for a few minutes.
- Toss with the pecans and blue cheese. Add some additional fresh thyme leaves if desired.
- Not a fan of blue cheese? – Substitute your favorite crumbly cheese instead. Feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco are a few ideas.
- No pecans? Try swapping out the pecans for your favorite nut or toasted seed. Toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds add great flavor and a nice crunch.
- Mix it up! You can also make this recipe with acorn squash, sweet potato, carrots, or pumpkin.
Don’t want to heat up the oven? You can roast your squash in the air fryer instead. About 18 minutes at 400°F should do the trick!
Try using a layer of parchment paper between the squash and the baking sheet. Sometimes you want contact between the food and the pan for deep browning, but for this squash you can line the pan with paper or foil making cleanup a breeze!
🍚 Storing Leftovers
Store completely cooled leftovers in a tupperware or other airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be aware that, even though it can be frozen, the freezing process greatly changes the texture of squash. Thawed, previously frozen squash is best used in pureed recipes such as sauces or soups.
Reheat in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. You can also reheat them in the microwave but the texture might not be quite as good.
🕒 How to Make Ahead
You can prep the squash up to 3 days in advance and store the cubes in the fridge until you are ready to roast. Or you can make the whole recipe and then later reheat it in the microwave, oven, or air fryer adding the cheese and pecans at the last minute before serving.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Other than serving as a side dish, this recipe can be added as a topping on salads, mixed with other roasted vegetables (like potatoes and carrots), or stirred into an alfredo sauce and served with pasta.
It normally takes about 35-40 minutes for squash to roast, but that will vary according to the size of the cubes. Start checking at about the 30 minute point. To determine whether it’s cooked through, insert a sharp paring knife. You should feel little to no resistance if the squash is done.
Creamy sauces and salty flavors often go well with the sweetness of roasted butternut squash. You could also try seasoning with different spices such as garlic powder, red pepper flakes, rosemary, or an Italian seasoning blend.
More Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Baked Butternut Squash
- 4.5 pounds butternut squash (one medium sized squash)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 stems fresh thyme
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Halve or quarter the squash and scoop out the seeds. Peel and then cut the squash into 1” cubes.
- Put the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Toss so that all the squash is coated with oil.
- Roast for 30-45 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly. Toss with pecans and blue cheese. Add additional fresh thyme leaves if desired.
- See the “Pro Tip” in the post for step-by-step directions on how to peel and cut the squash.
- Store completely cooled leftovers in a tupperware or other airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. You can also reheat them in the microwave but the texture might not be quite as good.
- You can prep the squash up to 3 days in advance and store the cubes in the fridge until you are ready to roast. Or you can make the whole recipe and then later reheat it in the microwave, oven, or air fryer adding the cheese and pecans at the last minute before serving.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on October 26, 2012. It has been updated with additional information.