Butternut Squash

Lasagna, soup and salad—these basic dishes are all made more delicious by adding super sweet butternut squash. Butternut squash is packed with vitamins, calcium, iron and fiber, and also brings vibrant color to any meal. This aptly named squash has a buttery, nutty flavor that's similar to yams and sweet potatoes. Because it's so sweet, butternut squash can even be used for beautiful tarts, decadent brownies and refreshing sorbet. Its sweetness tempers a spicy curry dish, and its texture balances out the crispy, fatty pancetta in this soup. Whether you're looking for a healthy side dish or decadent main course, butternut squash proves its versatility in this veggie-packed guide from Food & Wine.

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Chorizo-Spiced Kale

Rating: Unrated
With its earthy sweetness and dense texture, butternut squash makes a hearty vegetable steak. At Chaval in Portland, chef Damian Sansonetti highlights its complexity with his chorizo spice mix. He blooms the blend of cumin, Pimentón, and coriander in oil to release their aroma, which provides a smoky foundation for this shoulder-season dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan

Rating: Unrated
Cooking smarter—not harder—is my mantra these days, and when I get an idea in my head, I tumble it around until I have it honed, rounded, and polished. I knock off the excess, shave off the gratuitous frills, and try to pare down the idea to the essentials: how can I make it delicious, make it easy, and cook it as simply as possible?The idea for this Roasted Butternut Squash Parmesan occurred as I was making butternut squash schnitzel. Cut into planks, dipped in egg, dredged through panko, and fried, this was more or less the base layer for parm, except I used squash instead of eggplant (or chicken). I started thinking about how the sweetness of the squash paired with the acidity of marinara and the decadence of the melted cheese … I mean, what could not be amazing about this partnership? And flavor aside, if I could make a really great vegetarian parm without the hassle and mess of frying, it more or less qualifies me for sainthood, right?I decided to try roasting the squash sheet pan–style from the bottom up, layering it with marinara, cheese, and finally a super, umami-packed toasted breadcrumb topping (thank you garlic, Parmesan, and nutritional yeast!). First, the squash: I roasted it until just tender—about 15 minutes—and then slicked it with soy sauce–spiked marinara (a trick I discovered when I was working on my book, Umami Bomb). Then it got showered with generous amounts of shredded fontina, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Back into the oven it went until the cheese was molten, golden, and browned.It was so good (I mean, those breadcrumbs … I could eat them by the handful like granola). But there was one problem—since I made it all on a sheet pan, the squash was in a single layer and gave off side-dish vibes. So the next time, after sheet-panning the squash, I layered it traditional-style in a baking dish. So instead of an open-faced parm, this was now a double-decker of squash–marinara–oozy cheese with main-dish gravitas. It was hearty, way less fussy than making a traditional parm, and my stovetop didn’t need to be degreased post-cooking.

Winter Squash and Savoy Cabbage Gratin with Garlic Crema

San Francisco chef Matthew Accarrino of SPQR looks to cornstarch to thicken the creamy milk-based roasted garlic sauce here. It’s a rich but healthy combination of winter squash with cabbage, all topped with crunchy hazelnuts. Slideshow: More Squash Recipes 

Curried Squash Galette

Rating: Unrated
With a superflaky crust (the secret: frozen grated butter) and a lightly spiced sweet-savory winter squash filling, this rustic galette from Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple makes a perfect vegetarian meal; serve it with a green salad.Slideshow: Squash Recipes

Butternut Squash Steaks au Poivre

In a vegetarian play on steak au poivre, F&W’s Justin Chapple swaps in butternut squash steaks for the beef and serves them with the go-to steakhouse green, sautéed spinach. Slideshow:  More Butternut Squash Recipes 

Red Kuri Squash Soup with Ancho Chile and Apple

“Kuri squash has a unique, concentrated sweet flavor that’s beautiful in soup,” says Rick Bayless, chef at Frontera Grill in Chicago. (Butternut is a fine substitute.) He adds more layers of flavor with apple, cinnamon and raisiny ancho chile, and even blends in the squash seeds for nuttiness. Slideshow:  More Warming Soup RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners

More Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Tartines with Pancetta and Pecorino

In this easy tartine recipe, butternut squash gets kicked up a notch with a little cayenne pepper—a little heat to combat the sweet. The topping of crisp, smoky pancetta and generously shaved pecorino cheese adds the perfect amount of saltiness. Slideshow: More Butternut Squash Recipes 

Roasted Squash with Tamarind-Chile Glaze and Crispy Quinoa

Top Chef winner CJ Jacobson glazes winter squash with a fragrant, tangy mix of annatto, tamarind, chile and lime juice. Crispy quinoa gives the dish great crunch.      Slideshow: More Vegetarian Recipes 

Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage

This easy butternut squash is sweet and savory, thanks to some deliciously nutty sage-infused brown butter. Slideshow:  10 Fast Thanksgiving Side Dishes