Baby Butternut Roast
90 Min

Baby Butternut Roast

For the last few weeks, I’ve been spotting tiny little butternut squashes at the farmers market at various tables from Plant-it -forward to the smaller individual farmers to Animal Farm in Cat Springs, Texas. Knowing that butternuts are nutritional powerhouses of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, not to mention how delicious they are, I brought a few home, cut them in half and simply roasted them in the oven, cut side up with olive oil, salt, and cumin seeds. They are fresh, tiny, and tender, about the size of an apple and the knife slides right through them. For a larger butternut, I’d discard the seeds along with the stringy tissue around it but with these little beauties, I leave them in. Less than an hour later, I devour these shockingly delicious squashes, seeds, and all, with golden brown edges, and a just a squeeze of lemon juice. But there is so much you can do with these! Top them with yogurt, cheese, tahini, peanut butter, herbs or nuts and seeds of your choice. Here I make a masala with caramelized onions and top them with an herbed yogurt sauce. Go look for these little butternuts before they are gone for the season!

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Cook Time

90 Minutes



Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the butternuts in half and place them cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with cumin seeds, a generous sprinkle of salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Step 2
In the meanwhile, in a small saute pan over high heat, warm the remainder of the olive oil, and cook the onions until golden brown. Lower the heat once the onions have sweated, turned translucent, and start taking on some color. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes.
Step 3
Turn the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the chile powder, coriander, ginger puree, and remaining salt. Set this masala aside until the squash is ready.
Step 4
To make the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt with cilantro, serrano, lime juice and salt. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the yogurt if you like.
Step 5
When ready to serve, spoon the masala over the squash, top with the herbed yogurt and serve. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.  

6 tiny butternuts or 1 medium

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

1 cup minced onions

1 cup minced fresh tomato

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder

1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds

2 teaspoons ginger puree

Herbed Yogurt:

1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk or nonfat)

1 cup minced cilantro, mint, or an herb of your choice

1 small serrano, minced

Juice from one lime

Generous pinch sea salt

Handful of cilantro for garnish 

Notes & Variations

  • The squash is best eaten soon after it is roasted but the masala and the yogurt sauce can be made a day or two ahead.
  • If you don’t like cumin, try using mustard seeds, fennel seeds or just leave them out entirely.
  • These squashes were bought at the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market at their Saturday morning market in the St. John’s school parking lot.
90 Min

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