Always the supporting role, never the star. The opening act, but never the main event. When it comes to fall ingredients, butternut squash often gets sidelined in favor of its orange sibling. Not that we’re knocking pumpkin (we’ve proven our love for it time and again), but it’s time butternut squash got its moment in the spotlight. Check out these 31 breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes that prove butternut is kind of a big deal.
Photo: Kara Lydon
This recipe uses white whole-wheat flour as the base, but the addition of puréed butternut squash adds even more fiber (and a gorgeous golden color). There’s already some maple syrup in the batter, so you might not need more on top. Just a scattering of chopped nuts and fruit ought to do it.
Photo: Hold the Grain
Spiralized butternut noodles make it easy to feel like you’re eating pasta for breakfast, without sending you into a carb coma first thing in the morning. Add kale for some prenoon produce and top with an egg for the carbonara effect.
Photo: The Organic Dietitian
Butternut squash is a lower-carb alternative to sweet potatoes but pairs just as well with eggs. Tossed with a nutrient-rich mix of veggies and spiced with a unique blend of cinnamon, turmeric, and oregano, it’s a funky (and fiber-rich) way to start your day.
Photo: Physical Kitchness
In the absence of a crust, chunks of butternut squash add a great texture contrast to the smooth egg and coconut milk mixture in this quiche. The oven does most of the work here, leaving your hands free for a mimosa.
Photo: Skinny Fitalicious
No butter in these pancakes, but plenty of butternut! There’s also a flax egg option if you’re vegan. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla make this basically fall in flapjack form.
Photo: Naturally Ella
Take a break from peanut butter or avocado, and slather this whipped butternut squash on your morning toast instead. The slightly buttery, naturally sweet, and just-peppery-enough spread gets even better with caramelized onions and a runny egg on top.
Photo: Breakfast Drama Queen
If pumpkin oatmeal is a thing, butternut squash oatmeal is the natural next step. Oatmeal is already known as a pretty smart breakfast, but powering it up with vitamins and beta-carotene from the squash makes it nothing short of a genius morning meal.
Photo: Autoimmune Paleo
Unlike regular risotto, this breakfast version needs just 12 minutes of cooking time thanks to pulsed butternut squash “rice” instead of the Arborio kind. Sautéed until just tender, with swirls of rainbow chard running through, this veggie-packed dish may be better than the original grain-based one.
Photo: Eating Bird Food
Butternut squash isn’t a common ingredient in Asian cuisine, but it really should be given how well it pairs with the soy-garlic-ginger sauce in this recipe. Oven-roasted tempeh adds a hefty portion of vegan protein to make it a complete meal.
Photo: Everyday Healthy Recipes
This is one of those don’t-knock-it-’til-you-try-it dishes. Butternut squash, tuna, and feta is quite the unlikely trio, but you’ll be amazed at how well the flavors complement each other after they’ve had an hour or so to get acquainted in the oven.
Photo: Bijoux & Bits
You really can’t have too many taco recipes up your sleeve, and trust us, you want this one in your repertoire. Fill corn tortillas with cumin-dusted butternut, spinach, and black beans, then drizzle with a maple-tahini dressing that you’ll want to put on everything. This vegetarian dish covers you for Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday.
Photo: Ambitious Kitchen
Given the protein in the cheese and beans, the starchy corn tortillas, and the squash and onions filling the veggie quota, this is a fantastic, well-balanced one-skillet meal for a weeknight. Considering it comes together in less than 30 minutes, we’d go so far as to say it’s easier to make this than to go out for dinner.
Photo: Fed and Fit
Stuffed peppers usually consist of mostly ground beef, but this recipe replaces half the meat with a purée of butternut squash, so you’re still getting the protein—but with some extra veggie action thrown in. Kicked up a few notches with red curry paste, it’s a new spin on an old concept.
Photo: Fork Knife Swoon
As the weather cools down and hot meals start sounding more appealing, be sure to make this. Delicate angel-hair noodles are tossed with hearty pieces of chicken and butternut squash, then sprinkled with sage and a touch of maple syrup. It’s the perfect fall pasta.
Photo: Connoisseurus Veg
Packed with panko-crusted butternut squash and slathered with a thick, garlicky bean spread, this isn’t your typical brown-bag sandwich. Eat it hot or cold; it’s super tasty and filling either way.
Photo: Food Faith Fitness
Mac ‘n’ cheese cravings don’t spare anyone—not even vegans. This cashew-based “cheese” sauce is a great way to satisfy that hunger without resorting to dairy. And since butternut squash noodles replace the pasta, you get a bonus serving of veggies.
Salads and Sides
Photo: Sweet and Savoury Pursuits
With olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini, this dip contains hints of hummus, but the squash and white beans give it a flavor all its own. Serve with veggie sticks or pita wedges, and enjoy as a solitary snack or party appetizer. Gotta love a recipe so versatile!
Photo: Bourbon & Brown Sugar
Salads are a great way to celebrate the seasons, since each one comes with its own distinct ingredients. Usher in autumn with this recipe, which shows off the flavors of fall with buttery squash, savory goat cheese, and crisp pecans.
When there’s a chill in the air, you may be more in the mood for a warm side instead of a cold pile of mixed leaves. In that case, try this easy squash and cauliflower mix, roasted until tender and topped with a lemon-tahini dressing. It’ll totally turn you on to lettuce-free salads.
Photo: Sweet Cannela
At first glance, they seem like typical sweet potato fries, but with a spoonful of orange juice and zest tossed in, these stand out for their sweet-citrus tang. They’re so tasty that even if you serve them as a side, they’ll probably end up stealing the show.
Photo: My Poppet
Beets and butternut are a match made in farmer’s market heaven, and both are featured in this colorful vegan salad. Topped with walnuts and parsley, it’s simple enough for a side and hearty enough for a main meal.
Photo: Jessica Gavin
The butter, orange, and honey coating makes this caramelized squash dish sweet, but not too sweet, thanks to the slight bitterness of the Brussels sprouts, the tart dried cranberries, and the kick of black pepper. It’s the perfect variety of flavors to cozy up to fall with.
Photo: Sugar Free Londoner
Move aside, potato chips. With four basic ingredients—none of them weird preservatives—these homemade crisps are a healthy snacker’s dream come true.
Photo: The Scrumptious Pumpkin
Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to make this quick and easy butternut mash. Flavored with almond butter, maple syrup, and quintessential fall spices, we won’t even blame you if you curl up with a big bowl of this sweet, addictive stuff for dessert.
Photo: Reformation Acres
If pumpkin can go into pie, why can’t butternut squash? Seasoned with the usual suspects (ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon), this pie is just as tasty but has even more vitamin E and potassium benefits than the original.
Photo: Wallflower Kitchen
This isn’t just one of the prettiest homemade cakes we’ve seen, it’s also vegan and wheat-free, with only a 1/4 cup of oil in the whole thing. Then there’s the butternut squash purée—and the orange-almond “cream” in the middle. Basically, there’s a whole lot to love about this festive fall dessert.
Photo: Lively Table
Don’t let the homemade crust here scare you off. It’s easy to make, and if gluten isn’t an issue for you, you can easily use a store-bought version. Besides, it’s what’s on the inside that counts: a butternut squash filling, made luscious (and dairy-free!) from coconut oil and almond milk. And if you can’t imagine a tart without the whipped topping, there’s a nondairy recipe for that too.
Photo: Avocado Pesto
If you’ve already had dinner but are still low on your produce intake for the day, catch up with dessert. More than two whole apples and half a large butternut squash are packed into this warm crisp, making it the sweetest way to eat your fruits and veggies.
Photo: Meals Our Kids Love
There’s just one tablespoon of butter in this entire recipe but plenty of butternut squash. Not to mention lots of cocoa and chocolate chips, so these brownies don’t taste anything like vegetables.
Photo: Edible Imagination
There’s no sugar in the batter, so the natural sweetness from the butternut squash goes a long way, even though you won’t be able to tell there’s any hint of the veggies in the final product. As a bonus, this recipe makes a small batch of cookies for easy portion control.
Photo: Healthy Sweet Eats
The good thing about butternut squash is that it’s subtly sweet on its own, so it really doesn’t need much jazzing up to be a great dessert. Take this recipe: All it needs is a bit of cacao butter to caramelize the squash chunks, honey stirred in, and shredded coconut on top. Nothing too fancy, but oh so good.
This article was written by Anisha Jhaveri from Greatist and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.