I present the most delectable autumn-inspired side dish of all time: baked buttercup squash with goat cheese!
It’s both sweet and savory, studded with juicy pomegranate seeds, and unbelievably delicious. It looks super fancy, but it’s surprisingly pretty simple to make!
This would be a perfect side dish for gatherings, especially during the holidays. I mean, just look at those colors! They deserve all the heart eyes.
Oven Roasted Buttercup Squash
Who else is pumped that it’s squash season?!
First off, let’s talk about buttercup squash. It’s in season during fall and winter. While it may not be as well-known as some other winter squashes, like butternut squash or acorn squash, it’s just as delicious!
It’s a sweeter squash that tastes somewhat similar to pumpkin. And just like pumpkin, you can eat the seeds. In fact, roasting the seeds makes an amazing snack.
Plus, buttercup squash is nutritious: it’s packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and beta-carotene.
Roasting buttercup squash makes it sweet and caramelized – exactly the kind of autumn vibe we’re going for here.
Related post: Tasty Squash Recipes for Fall & Winter!
This dish is a tasty blend of sweet and salty, bursting with autumn flavors.
I love the combination of textures and flavors with the toppings: rich, sweet roasted squash with tangy and creamy goat cheese, tart-sweet pomegranates, nutty and crunchy pepitas, and fresh parsley to brighten everything up.
It’s a super easy side dish and would be great for Thanksgiving or weeknight dinners!
Baked Squash Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this baked buttercup squash:
- buttercup squash (whole or pre-sliced, not pureed)
- goat cheese
- pomegranate seeds (you can buy these pre-seeded at most stores, or seed a pomegranate yourself – here’s how to peel a pomegranate and seed it without a big mess)
- pepitas (if you don’t have these, you can toast pumpkin seeds yourself, or use roasted pecans instead)
- maple syrup
- olive oil
- fresh parsley
How to Prepare Buttercup Squash
To make this baked buttercup squash, start by poking the squash in several places with a fork. Then, microwave the whole squash for 3 minutes to soften it up.
Next, using a large knife, cut the squash lengthwise in half (through the stem). Be sure to also cut off the knobby root at the bottom.
Next, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut the squash into wedges (leaving the skin on).
Then, spread the wedges out in one layer over a baking pan. (Tip: lining with parchment paper helps with cleanup!).
Toss the squash wedges with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper (exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of the post).
Then, roast at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, until nice and caramelized.
Lastly, add goat cheese crumbles, pomegranate seeds, pepitas, fresh parsley, and optional additional olive oil, then serve!
What if I can’t find buttercup squash?
Buttercup squash can usually be found at most grocery stores during fall and winter or at your local farmer’s market.
But if you can’t find it, a good substitute would be kabocha squash, delicata squash, or acorn squash. They have a similar rich texture and sweetness, and also all have edible skin.
Butternut squash can also work, but it’s is a little less starchy and more watery, and you’d have to peel it before roasting.
Is the skin edible?
Buttercup squash (and kabocha, delicata, and acorn squash) skins are thinner than butternut so they’re totally edible. I cut off any knobby parts on the outside, but otherwise don’t bother with peeling.
If you don’t want the skin, I’d recommend peeling the skin back after roasting. It’s much easier than trying to wrangle a peeler around the skin while raw.
I hope you get a chance to try this fabulous autumn side dish – I have a feeling you’ll love it!
Do you have a favorite side dish when fall/winter rolls around? Share it in the comments! And check out my Best Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes post for some more holiday side dish inspiration.
Looking for more delicious squash recipes? I’ve got you covered:
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Lentil Bolognese & Spaghetti Squash (Instant Pot)
- Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins
- Butternut Squash Parmesan Biscuits
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries
- Butternut Squash, Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Strata
- Butternut Squash Turkey Chili
- 1 whole buttercup squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- about 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (yield from 1 medium pomegranate)*
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Poke the squash all over with a fork or paring knife, being sure to pierce the skin. Set the whole squash on a paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes. This softens the squash slightly to make it much easier to cut.
- Starting at the stem that's in the middle of the light blue "cup" on the squash, cut the squash in half. Cut off the knobby root at the bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Most of the seeds are gathered towards the light blue cup, so you can cut away and discard the cup if there is no flesh left in that part after scooping out seeds.
- Cut the squash into wedges, leaving the skin on, and arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
- Toss the squash with the olive oil and maple syrup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until squash is tender.
- To serve, arrange squash on a serving plate and top with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, pepitas, and parsley. Drizzle with additional olive oil and top with additional black pepper, if desired.
*Here's how to peel a pomegranate (and seed it without making a huge mess).