Sweet, perfectly tender roasted butternut squash recipe, made extra special with the addition of a bright lime vinaigrette and a sprinkle of crunchy nuts for great texture. This recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark's book Dinner in French with permission from the author.
Melissa Clark's Butternut Squash Recipe!
Who can resist sweet roasted butternut squash with crispy edges and a tender, creamy center?!
But today's recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks Dinner in French by Melissa Clark, takes your basic butternut squash a few notches up with just some simple additions...
Here, the perfectly caramelized thin slices of butternut squash are topped with a bright lime vinaigrette (with red pepper flakes) to bring out the sweetness of the squash with their contrasting pungency + a sprinkle of chopped, nutty hazelnut for crunch!
Do you have to peel butternut squash before roasting?
While butternut squash skin is edible and it can even turn nice and crisp when roasted, many people prefer to peel it first so it's easier to eat.
Butternut squash skin is smooth and thin and the best way to peel it is by using a sharp vegetable peeler. It really is that simple!
How to peel butternut squash:
To prepare for this roasted butternut squash recipe, here is what you do:
- Peel the butternut squash. First, trim the sides using a good chef's knife (this will help you steady the butternut squash on one of the cut flat sides). Stand the butternut squash on one of the trimmed sides on your cutting board and use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel working downwards (peel off long strips).
- Cut the butternut squash in half. Stand the squash on one of the cut, flat sides. Carefully cut down the middle using your sharp chef's knife.
- Seed the butternut squash. Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds; you should have an empty cavity in each half of the squash. The seeds are edible and can be cleaned and toasted separately, if you like.
- Cut each butternut squash half into thin slices. Turn a butternut squash half on it's belly (the side with the empty cavity), take your chef's knife and slice it into ½ inch thick slices. Do the same with the other half.
Now you're ready to make this epic pan roasted butternut squash recipe!
How to cook butternut squash: step-by-step
For perfectly tender squash, start with a high heated oven! Here is what you need to do:
- Set the oven on high heat at 425 degrees F. Arrange a rack in the middle
- Peel, seed, and slice the squash. Trim the ends of the squash and stand it up on a cutting board, then peel with your vegetable peeler. Cut the squash in half down the middle and using a spoon scoop up the seeds. Then, slice the squash into thin slices (See above for details)
- Arrange the butternut squash slices in one single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet or two. It's important not to crowd the squash so each slice cooks properly and you can even get some nice caramelization.
- Brush the top of the squash slices with good extra virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper
- Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes or so, then turn the squash slices over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until tender and browned in some parts (if you need more color still, stick the baking sheet under the broiler briefly and watch carefully).
Add flavor & finishing touches!
Now, what really puts a special spin on your basic butternut squash recipe are Melissa's finishing touches: lime vinaigrette, chopped hazelnuts (walnuts or pecans will work too), and a handful of chopped scallions.
I like adding the lime vinaigrette to the butternut squash while still hot, then follow with the chopped nuts and scallions.
Serve it with
Make-ahead and storage tips
For this pan roasted butternut squash recipe, there are a couple of things you can do in advance to save time:
- Peel, cut and slice the butternut squash one night in advance. Save in the fridge in a zip-top bag or a tight-lid container.
- You can also prepare the vinaigrette one night in advance. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving it on the squash.
Recommended Tools & Special Ingredients
- Sharp chef's knife (I use this Global knife) to cut through the squash.
- Vegetable peeler
- Large rimmed sheet pan or two. Sheet pans are super handy, I use them often to make roasted veggies but also one-pan meals like this sheet pan chicken and vegetables dinner.
- Quality extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil).
More butternut squash recipe etc
Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Butternut squash (2 lbs.), peeled, halved, and seeded
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt, (or fine sea salt)
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch
- ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, (or walnuts or pecans)
- 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
- 2 scallions (whites and green parts), thinly sliced
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Oil a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the squash slices on it in a single layer. (If it doesn't all fit, oil another sheet and use that as well.) Brush the top of the squash slices with more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with the salt and black pepper to taste.
- Roast in the heated oven until the squash is golden brown on the top, 20 minutes. Then flip the slices over and roast until they are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. (I ended up putting mine under the broiler for a couple more minutes for a little more color).
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Let the ingredients sit for a minute, then whisk in the anchovies and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until emulsified. Taste and add more salt and/or lime juice as needed.
- Serve the squash covered with the vinaigrette and sprinkled with the hazelnuts and scallions.
- This recipe is from Melissa Clark's book Dinner in French.
- Make-Ahead Tips: To save some time, you can peel, clean and slice the butternut squash one night in advance. Store the sliced butternut squash in the fridge in a zip top bag or tight-lid container. You can also prepare the lime vinaigrette one night in advance and keep in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving it on top of the squash.
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