Sunday, November 22, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate

Plate of Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate abd Pumpkin Seeds
Bright and Beautiful, Plus Nutritious

Recipe Adapted from Vegetable Recipes I Can’t Live Without

Butternut squash is a popular autumn vegetable, yet most recipes are more or less the same. The squash roasted or steamed till soft, then combined with sweet and/or savory spices, or perhaps nuts or seeds. Or it’s made into soup. This recipe is completely unique because the butternut is cooked crisp-tender. This takes less than 10 minutes in the oven. The texture can surprise people, especially when served at room temperature. At a recent potluck, one person thought it was persimmon, and another marveled at this new use for cantaloupe. This easy side dish is an unusual addition to the Thanksgiving table. It’s colorful and gluten-, meat-, and dairy-free. Substitute another oil for walnut, and it’s also nut-free.

Basket of Butternuts and a Pomegranate
Two Main Ingredients
Roasted walnut oil imparts a lightly toasty but not overpowering flavor. If you can't find it, plain walnut oil is a good substitute, though the flavor won't be at all smoky. Roasted hazelnut or roasted almond oil would also work, but are more highly flavored. For nut-free options, try pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, or even peanut oil—peanuts are groundnuts, and safe for people with tree nut allergies. In place of cooking spray, I used spray coconut oil. You could experiment with other spray oils, or rub bulk coconut oil onto the parchment sheet. I also added some (optional) roasted pumpkin seeds to increase the subtle smoky flavor. This recipe can be doubled easily, as long as the butternut cubes aren't crowded while roasting. 

Happy Thanksgiving week—enjoy your time with friends and family, and be relaxed about the food prep. However much you are able or willing to do will be plenty.

Plate of Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate
Original Recipe: Sans Seeds
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate
serves ~6

Spray coconut oil or cooking spray
Medium-large butternut squash, 3 lbs.
½ - 1 tbsp. roasted walnut or other oil (see above)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. or less maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp. or less lemon juice (optional)
1 cup pomegranate seeds (1 large or 2 small)
~1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray generously with coconut oil or cooking spray.

Peel the squash and slice in half lengthwise. Cut the strings with scissors and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works particularly well).

Cut peeled squash into small cubes, about ½ - ¾ inches. Spread into a single layer on baking sheet(s).

Bake in the center of the oven about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring once at about 4 minutes. Squash will be fork-tender. Don’t overcook it or let it get mushy.

If using pumpkin seeds, put them on a baking sheet and put into the 425 degree oven for a few minutes (less than 5), till lightly toasted. Remove to plate to cool.

Remove to a medium size bowl. Drizzle with oil (start with ½ tbsp.) and sprinkle with salt. Toss and taste. Add more oil, maple syrup and/or lemon juice if desired. (I used 2 tbsp. maple syrup and no lemon or additional oil). Toss again.

Plop onto serving platter and top with pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle optional pumpkin seeds on top. Can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Closeup of Roasted Butternut with Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds
Sweet Eye Candy Also Delights the Tongue


  1. This looks amazing. I have all the ingredients and will be making this soon. Have you tried using the seeds from the butternut? Although not as large or plentiful as pumpkin they are delicious once salted and dried. I use them in my butternut creations and on salads. Thanks

    1. HI Sheila, thanks for the comment. Personally I wouldn't use any seed that hasn't had the hull removed in this dish, but as always I encourage cooks to get creative and do their own thing. Let me know if you try it and like it! Hope all is well with you and yours, happy holidays.