Butternut squash appetizers can be the perfect start to an Autumn dinner party. Butternut squash is such a versatile ingredient with a mild yet slightly nutty taste that can be paired with so many different flavors. I've rounded up 31 of the best butternut squash appetizer recipes from around the internet, all with a delicious twist. Think butternut squash bruschetta, butternut squash crostini, soup and butternut squash fritters with sage leaves.
What is Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, is a Winter squash that grows on a vine. While it is widely considered a vegetable, butternut squash is actually a fruit. They come in a range of sizes, with a large butternut being around 1.2kg.
It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that is quite mild. Butternut squash at the very beginning and end of the season tend to not be as flavorsome as in season butternut squash. Butternut squash is widely available during the Autumn and Winter months, making it a popular holiday appetizer. Though in Australia you can usually find butternut squash at the grocery store at any time of the year.
With some squash and pumpkin the skin is fine to eat. While, technically you can eat the skin of the butternut squash, it tends to not have a very nice texture when cooked, so I always prefer to remove the skin.
Butternut squash is a highly nutritious food that is low calorie yet contains a lot of beneficial nutrients! Some of the key nutrients in butternut squash are:
- Beta Carotene and Vitamin A - this is the standout nutrient in butternut squash, with 1 cup providing 457% of your recommended daily intake! Vitamin A is essential for the immune system as well as having benefits for the lungs and vision.
- Vitamin C - 1 cup provides over 50% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the immune system, skin health, collagen synthesis, iron absorption and much more.
- B vitamins - B vitamins are well known for increasing energy and helping to manage stress.
- Dietary fiber - A diet high in fiber helps to promote a healthy digestive system, which promotes general health and wellbeing.
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash
- Cancer - some of the nutrients found in butternut squash, particularly vitamin c and carotenoids, have been shown to reduce the risk of developing some cancers.
- Heart health - eating a diet rich in antioxidants and fiber help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Mental decline - a diet rich in carotenoids and antioxidants has been associated with an increase in memory recall, visual attention and verbal fluency. While a diet rich in Vitamin E may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's in the elderly.
- Weight management - eating foods that are low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients can help to maintain a healthy weight. This is because these foods are providing us more of the nutrients we need, helping us to feel more full and satisfied.
How to Use Butternut Squash
This fruit is extremely versatile and can be used in a range of different dishes such as the perfect appetizer, soup or side. Here are some of my favorite ways to use butternut squash:
- Oven Roast Butternut SquashHalves or Whole - roast until fork tender, golden and delicious with a little olive oil to bring out the sweetness of the squash. Serve as a side dish to your main meal.
- Roasted Butternut Squash in the Air Fryer - whether you're roasting butternut squash in the oven or air fryer, roasting brings out a lot of flavor in butternut squash.
- Roast cubed butternut in a single layer to add to Roasted Butternut Squash Salad or my Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad.
- Boil with stock and puree for a smooth Butternut Squash Soup
- Make my Easy Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
- Use to make pumpkin puree.
Ingredients that go with Butternut Squash
As I mentioned earlier, butternut squash has a subtle flavor that goes with so many different ingredients. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some of my favorite ingredients to use with butternut squash:
- pure maple syrup
- goat cheese
- sea salt & cracked black pepper
- balsamic glaze
- brown sugar
- ricotta cheese
- apple cider vinegar
- cayenne pepper
- ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- fresh herbs
31 Butternut Squash Appetizers
Read onto see a collection of delicious butternut squash appetizers. All of these recipes would make for a perfect festive appetizer for your holiday table, to ensure you have a great Thanksgiving or holiday party!