How to Cook Butternut Squash in Chunks

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Butternut squash sort of looks like a nose from the front.
Butternut squash sort of looks like a nose from the front. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Butternut squash is an odd-looking vegetable with a long straight neck and bulbous end. While it may be odd looking, it is very versatile -- especially when you cut it into chunks before cooking. You might think it would be a challenge to cut a round squash into chunks, but it's not, once you know the tricks. Mash the chunks with butter and salt for a change from mashed potatoes. Bake the chunks with pineapple and pecans for a dish that's almost dessert.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrubber
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

Chunk It Up

Scrub the squash and dry. Place a towel under the cutting board so it doesn't slip around. Cut off each end of the squash. The flat ends make it easier to peel the vegetable.

Place the broad end of the squash cut side down. Peel the squash with a sharp vegetable peeler, using long strokes.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and then into one-inch slices or however thick you want the chunks. Start at the neck and work down toward the bulbous end. The slices will end up being half circles. Scrape the seeds out of the bulbous end with a spoon before you slice that end.

Cut the half circles into strips and the strips into chunks.

Wonderfully Roasted

Brush the chunks with butter or cooking oil.

Season the squash to taste. You can sprinkle on a little brown sugar and cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy squash. A squeeze of lemon juice and lemon thyme brighten up the flavor of baked squash.

Place the squash in a roasting pan in a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Exactly how long depends on the size of the chunks. Smaller chunks cook faster than larger chunks.

Slowly Simmered

Put the squash in a pan. Barely cover the squash with water or broth.

Place the pan on medium-high heat until the water boils. Lower the heat to a simmer until bubbles just break the surface of the water.

Cook for 30 to 45 minutes until the squash chunks are fork-tender.

Sensationally Sauteed

Pat the squash chunks dry. Any surface moisture splatters when it hits the hot oil. Put enough cooking oil in a saute pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Put the saute pan on medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Add the squash. Move the squash chunks around so all sides get exposed to the heat.

Saute for 15 to 20 minutes until the chunks are soft, but not mushy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose butternut squash that have long necks and a smaller bulbous end.
  • Do not refrigerate butternut squash. It will keep in a cool dry place for up to a month.

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