Mildly sweet and nutty butternut squash is one of many reasons that I look forward to fall produce every year. Here are 15 wholesome vegan butternut squash recipes that celebrate this versatile and nutritious ingredient!
There’s nothing that makes me more excited for fall cooking than the site of winter squashes piling up at farmers markets. There are many wonderful varieties to choose from, but butternut squash will always be a favorite.
Butternut squash is so versatile. As I was rounding up the recipes below, I came across plenty of soup, which is how I first got comfortable cooking butternut squash.
I love surveying the many ways that butternut squash can brighten recipes with its golden color and contribute to their wholesomeness with its good nutrition.
Butternut squash health benefits
Butternut squash, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables with orange color, butternut squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted in the body to Vitamin A, at which point it acts as an antioxidant.
Vitamin A plays an important role in cell growth. It’s associated with eye, heart, lung, and skin health and function.
In addition, butternut squash is a very good source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, along with the Vitamin A that beta-carotene is a precursor to, supports immunity
Butternut squash is also rich in electrolytes, including magnesium and potassium. These minerals play a role in hydration status and muscle function.
Lastly, butternut squash has dietary fiber, which helps to keep our digestive tracts and cardiovascular systems strong.
How to break down butternut squash
Health benefits, sweet flavor, tender flesh—butternut squash has so much to offer. But it comes with a considerable downside, which is that it’s a bit of a pain to break down and cube.
Most of my butternut squash recipes call for peeled and cubed squash. (You don’t actually have to peel the squash, but I find it a lot more appealing from a texture and appearance perspective to do it.)
It’s possible to purchase pre-peeled, cubed squash in a lot of grocery stores these days. When that’s not an option, it’s time for some squash butchery. This post is a good primer on how to break down butternut squash for recipes.
How to roast butternut squash
Many of my recipes, including some of my salads, call for using roasted squash.
Bake your squash cubes for 25-35 minutes, stirring them on the sheet once halfway through baking. When the roasted squash is ready, the cubes will be lightly browning along the edges and fork tender.
15 Wholesome vegan butternut squash recipes
Once you have a squash cut and seeded and ready to go, you can use it in any one of these seasonal, satisfying, wholesome vegan butternut squash recipes.
Vegan butternut rice recipe
This gingery, savory, salty sweet vegan butternut rice is an old recipe. Like, 2011 old!
I loved the rice when I first made it. And when I made it again last week, for the first time in a while, I was still a huge fan. In spite of the fact that my cooking has changed a lot in the last ten years, this recipe has stood the test of time.
To make the rice, you’ll roast butternut squash and apple together, along with onion. It’s one of those sweet and savory pairings that I love so much.
The roasted vegetables and apple are folded together with cooked rice and bright green peas. (I always have a bag of frozen peas in my freezer, so it’s easy for me to use them even when they’re not in season).
I originally used pink rice, which I had just tried for the first time, in the recipe. Now when I make the dish I tend to use short or medium grain brown rice. However, you could use pink rice, wild rice, black rice, or white rice and the dish would still work.
A little dressing of oil, tamari, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar bring the butternut squash rice to life. As does some fresh ginger, which I use to roast the vegetables. These seasonings elevate an otherwise simple grain dish, making it more than the sum of its parts.
I hope you’ll think so, too. The rice can be enjoyed as a side dish, or you can have a larger portion and add something else—maybe some greens, maybe a plant protein you love—to make it a meal.
15 Wholesome Vegan Butternut Squash Recipes: Butternut Squash Rice
- 16-20 ounces cubed butternut squash (1 medium sized squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed)
- 1 white or yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large apple (any variety), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil (divided)
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup short grain brown rice (medium or long grain rice will also work)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted green peas
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Place the squash, onion, and apple on the prepared sheet and drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the avocado oil. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the mixture for 20. Sprinkle the vegetables and fruit with the ginger, stir them on the sheet, and then continue to roast for another 10-20 minutes, or until the squash and apples are gently browning.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the brown rice. Boil the brown rice for 35-40 minutes, or until all of the grains are tender. Add the peas to the pot and let them boil with the rice for 1-2 minutes, till bright green and tender. Drain the brown rice and peas, then return them to the pot. Cover the pot and let the mixture steam for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, fold together the cooked rice, peas, and roasted vegetables. Whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil, tamari, and vinegars. Pour this dressing over the rice, mix again, and serve warm.
I hope you’ll have a chance to try some of these satisfying, cozy vegan butternut squash recipes while the energy of harvest season is still all around us! Enjoy them, friends.