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?!
Just as we do with roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash needs a little bit of seasoning, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and high heat. From there, you can use it to make a luscious butternut squash pasta, or dress it up with a vinaigrette, like we're doing today.
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
For me, I see this simple side next to any number of mains including: juicy roast turkey breast; cranberry chicken; cornish hen; or even boneless leg of lamb.
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
Browse our collection of top Mediterranean diet recipes. All Mediterranean recipes.
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.
- Visit our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients include extra virgin olive oil and all-natural and organic spices and more.
Not much of a fan of butternut squash or most squash as a rule but LOVED this. The vinaigrette was amazing! I am a foodie so always looking to try new things and I am saving this recipe.
Once again Suzy feeds me my dinner. I used lemon and cashews cuz I had them on hand. Complicated, yummy flavors...Yum.
Hi there. I made the Harir lentils and they came out way too hot - and that was with 1.5 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. I'm not sure how to lessen the heat. The flavor is great but the heat makes it almost inedible.
Good morning, Suzy I LOVE your recipes, I make quite a few of them but I can’t print them out is there a secret way( lol) to print out the recipe ! Thanks Susan , have an amazing Thursday
Thanks, Susan! Yes, you can print the recipes. There is a print button right under the recipe titles at the top of our posts. If you want me to send you some instructions with pictures, please shoot an email to email@example.com.
Hi Suzy, I have tried many of your recipes and all turned out so well, very delicious and healthy. You have really changed my diet and I have lost few kilograms. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us and now my whole family enjoys your food. God bless you and your family for all your hard work and success.
Thank you so much, Purnima!
The printable portion of the recipe lists "peeled, halved, and seeded" butternut as an ingredient. The directions begin with "arrange the squash slices". I realized you go over the size and shape of the slices in the article, but it is missing in the actual recipe.
I'm trying this tonight.
This recipe was a hit with my family over the holidays. I adapted it a bit to meet the needs of large crowds. Cubed the butternut instead of doing the rings, and used toasted macadamia nuts when I couldn’t find hazelnuts. It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving, si made it again at Christmas. The recipe has now circulated throughout my sister-in-law s’ extended families. I
I love Suzy’s recipes and share the iMediterranean Dish link all the time. I’ve been using Suzy’s recipes for over a year now. They are the best!
Wow, Suzy! You’ve done it again! Your recipes are a favourite in our family. I generally make them first and then pass them on to my sons. They love them just as much as my husband and I. I’ll be making this one again next weekend for my grandchildren and our friends. Delicious and so easy!
I love hearing that, Marian! Thank you!
Really delicious! I have to admit being a bit skeptical about the anchovies in the vinaigrette but decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did as the flavor was not overpowering but a beautiful complement. Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes!
My pleasure, Kim! Thank you for the kind review!
I love butternut and this is such a tasty recipe to add to my rotation!
Thanks so much!
I too have a Global knife but here's an easier way to peel the butternut squash. First, pierce it all over with a fork then microwave on high for 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Let it cool for a few minutes until it's easy to handle. Then cut off the top and bottom, and use a heavy duty peeler to peel away the skin. You'll find that it's infinitely easier to peel the squash this way and it will take less than 5 minutes!
Thanks you for sharing, Margot!
This was delicious and definitely main dish worthy
Thank you, Julianne!
This recipe is amazing! Thank you very much!
So glad you loved it, Tam!
Every other month it’s our turn to prepare a meal for friends and introduce a new recipe. This month was the Roasted Butternut Squash everyone loved all the different flavors in this dish. I’m adding it to my Thanksgiving Day menu!
That's wonderful, Linda! Thank you for sharing
SO delicious! I love these new flavors with roasted squash. Perfect fall side dish.