Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods on the planet, but peeling and chopping it can be a real drag. Sometimes I’ll actually avoid cooking it if I’m not feeling up to the challenge — and I’m also not willing to pay 5x more for the pre-chopped version at the grocery store. Any butternut squash lovers out there feel my pain?

If so, you’re going to love this butternut squash hack that I’ve recently discovered that totally eliminates the need for peeling and chopping – and most importantly, it’s ridiculously delish.

ps – if you are peeling and chopping your squash for a recipe, here’s a great how-to.

How to roast a butternut squash without peeling or chopping:

Start by standing the squash upright on a cutting board, then stick a sharp heavy chef’s knife straight into the middle, and make one long cut down the middle from top to bottom.

Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringy pulp from the squash cavity, then you’re ready to roast – peel and all!

The roasted squash halves are delicious as a simple side dish, served with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh herbs and seasonings of your choice. OR you can stuff them with yummy ingredients: either vegetarian like I did here, or you can get super hearty with an enchilada-inspired stuffing.

The end result is beautiful enough for a dinner party or the Thanksgiving table, and no one will know you only spent about 10 minutes of hands-on time and spent the rest of your prep time sipping pinot noir and reading cookbooks. Err, that was just me, but you get the idea. Scroll on for the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Figs, and Pesto

Serves 2


1 butternut squash

extra-virgin olive oil

flaky sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

6 fresh figs, halved or quartered

1/2 cup goat cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup pesto, store-bought or homemade

basil or mint, torn for garnish



  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°. Stand the squash upright on a cutting board, then stick a sharp heavy chef's knife straight into the middle and make one long cut down the middle from top to bottom.
  2. Drizzle squash halves with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place flesh side down on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until very tender (knife should slide easily through the flesh), between 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and flip halves over so flesh side is up.
  3. Stuff with figs, goat cheese, and pine nuts, and drizzle with pesto. Return to oven just until goat cheese starts to melt, about 5 - 10 minutes. Garnish with herbs, then sprinkle with a little flaky salt and eat!
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Hannah Haston