Recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Whipped Feta and Pomegranate Salsa first, Notes and Shopping Resources follow.
What You Need for Roasted Butternut Squash with Feta and Pomegranate
- butternut squash
- whipped feta
- pomegranate salsa
- the yoozh olive oil, salt, and black pepper if you like that
How to Buy Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is generally available year-round because it's so hardy and can be stored for a long time. However, it's technically in season from early fall and through the winter. Here's how to buy the best butternut squash:
Shape. You may gravitate what looks most classically like a butternut squash with a longer thinner neck and a rounder, heavier bottom. However, resist the instinct and look for a thicker neck, and a small, almost non-existent bottom, since that's hollow and where all the seeds are.
Size. Size doesn't matter so much as density, or how heavy it feels for its size. If you pick up two squash that are about the same size but one feels heavier, pick that one.
Skin. Look for smooth, uniformly colored skin. A small patch with rough bumps is fine; it'll come off with the peel, but skip any squash with soft dark spots.
Have you ever peeled and sliced a butternut squash and then afterwards, noticed that the palms of your hands were red, the skin was tight, and maybe even itchy and peeling?
That's a condition called "Squash Hands," or the official term "Butternut Squash Dermatitis" (yes, really). It's a type of allergic reaction that happens to some people when they touch raw butternut squash. It doesn't occur when touching the outer thick skin of butternut squash, just the inside.
Doctors and scientists have not been able to identify what the specific compound is in squash that causes the reaction. The condition isn't dangerous, but it can feel uncomfortable. It only occurs when raw butternut squash comes into contact with skin, so eating cooked butternut squash is totally fine!
The only way to avoid "Squash Hands" is to wear gloves when handling, or just not touch raw squash.
Yes, I get Squash Hands. That's why I wear gloves when handling butternut squash!
Is Butternut Squash Healthy?
Yes! Butternut squash provides vitamins and other nutrients that can contribute to good health! According to the USDA, one cup of cubed, cooked butternut squash (~200g/7 ounces), which is considered one serving, has:
- only 82 calories
- almost zero fat
- 6.6 g fiber, which is considered a lot
- as much potassium as one banana
- 31 mg of vitamin C, which is more than 40% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women
- the most impressive vital stat: ~ 1100 mcg of vitamin A, which is 127% more than the recommended daily amount for women! For reference, an equivalent of carrots provides 510 mcg of vitamin A.
Those nutrients are what make butternut squash good for:
- Gut Health from both soluble and insoluble fiber
- Controlling Blood Sugar with soluble fiber
- Eye Health from the beta-carotene that the body converts into vitamin A
- Immune function
- Anti-inflammation from the beta-carotene and vitamin C
- Reducing the Risk of Cancer from antioxidant activity of vitamin A, C, and E
Ingredients Notes, Resources, and Substitutions
Butternut Squash: Use a large butternut squash that is about 2½-3 pounds. You can also use other large, hard winter squash like acorn and Kabocha squash. There is also a butternut variety called "Honeynut" that is smaller and with more pronounced vertical striping, the size of a very large avocado. The small butternut squash I used this time (see photo below for scale) are "Kindernut" squash from specialty farm, Girl n Dug Farm in San Diego, CA.
Whipped Feta: If you don't have the time to make Whipped Feta, it's okay to use plain crumbled feta. However, you should absolutely make the Whipped Feta, and make a lot. You will use it with any- and everything.
Pomegranate Salsa: Pomegranates for the Pomegranate Salsa are from farms in Central California.
All fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on Wednesday, or Whole Foods Market when I can't find what I need at the farmers' market.
Tools and Equipment
- all-purpose vegetable peeler
- non-latex gloves (if you get "squash hands")
- sturdy all-purpose baking sheet
- favorite all-purpose 7-inch chef's knife (expensive but worth it!)
- favorite multi-purpose small condiment bowls for salsa on the side
- I have a gajillion of these tiny spoons for dips, dressings and spreads on boards
More Ways to Cook and Eat Butternut Squash
Can you tell we love butternut squash in this house?
- Roasted Honeynut Squash with Kale Pesto
- Butternut Squash Carbonara Pasta
- Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili
- Butternut Squash and Ricotta Toasts
Roasted Butternut Squash with Feta and Pomegranate Salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash wedges on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with oil, then move the squash wedges around and flip over to coat all sides. Sprinkle with salt.
- Roast squash for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes, until the wedges caramelize around the edges and the squash is completely cooked through. Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool.
- To serve: Place greens on serving platter if using. Arrange cooked squash on platter. Spoon Whipped Feta over squash, about 1 tablespoon per wedge. Spoon pomegranate salsa over the whipped feta and squash. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if using. Serve extra Whipped Feta and Pomegranate Salsa in small bowls alongside.
- Leftovers of the roasted squash can be stored for 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.