Dinner Plans: Butternut Squash

Prep 3 Delicious Meals From 3 Butternut Squash

Whole and Halved Butternut Squash
Butternut Squashh. MIXA/Getty Images

Butternut squash lends itself to all kinds of savory preparations. For this dinner plan, you make one into tasty, gluten-free “noodles” with a spiralizer, then cube and roast two more. Serve one with roast turkey for an “any day’s a holiday” meal, and the other in a healthy grain salad that’s perfect for dinner or packable lunch.

Game Plan

Prep Time: 2 hours

  1. Peel 3 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
  2. Make 1 squash into noodles with a spiralizer and refrigerate.
  3. Cube the remaining 2 squash and roast on 2 large baking sheets.
  4. Serve half the roast squash for the prep day dinner, then refrigerate the remainder in an airtight container for the grain salad.
  5. Cook the wheat berries and refrigerate in a tightly packed container.
  6. Chop herbs and vegetables, rinse, dry, and slice the kale leaves, then roll in paper towels, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate until serving.
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See How to Cut a Butternut Squash Without Fear

Prep Day Roasted Butternut with Turkey

Time: 30 minutes (plus 6 hours in a slow cooker)

This is like a taste of Thanksgiving dinner, with roasted butternut squash and an easy slow-cooked turkey breast, but one that you can prepare any time of year. Add a 15-minute cranberry sauce if you have time.

Roasted Butternut Squash
The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Begin to cook the turkey about 6 hours before dinner in a slow cooker.
  • Roast butternut squash in the last hour of cooking the turkey.
  • Serve half the squash with the turkey. 
  • Use leftover turkey breast for sandwiches to pack into lunch boxes throughout the week.

Butternut Squash Noodles Night

Time: 25 minutes

You can find veggie noodles in most supermarkets, but it’s easy to make your own with a spiralizer. Homemade squash noodles are fresher and more affordable. These butternut squash noodles are tossed with a creamy sage and garlic sauce that comes together in less than a half-hour. We like a kale salad on the side.

Butternut Squash Noodles
The Spruce / Anita Schecter 

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use the squash noodles you prepared on prep day.
  • Substitute finely grated pecorino romano cheese for the parmesan, if desired.
  • Reheat shredded leftover turkey breast and fold into the dish to add protein.
  • Serve the noodles just after tossing with the sauce for the best results.

Grain Bowl Night

Time: 15 minutes

This wheatberry pear salad features roasted squash, sliced pear, and hearty wheat berries, all tossed together in an easy vinaigrette. You can find wheat berries in almost any supermarket, or substitute another hearty whole grain like farro or barley. Any type of pear will work; use your favorite, or whatever you are able to find at the market.

Wheat berry grain salad with sliced pears in a blue bowl
The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use the remaining roasted squash and wheat berries that you made on the first day. Both can be reheated for a warm salad.
  • Cook the wheat berries in chicken or vegetable stock for deeper flavor.
  • Thinly slice the pear just before serving to keep it from browning. (Tossing the slices with lemon juice also helps.) 
  • Experiment with other cheeses in place of the goat cheese; crumbled blue cheese or parmesan make fine substitutions.

Essential Info

Making quick weeknight dinners is easier when you start with a few building blocks. Dinner Plans is a realistic roadmap to help you achieve that goal, by putting in a few hours of work (planning, shopping, and prepping) at the outset. Preparing a big batch of one ingredient (protein, vegetables, or grains) gives you the flexibility to plan a variety of meals. And who knows? You just might discover your new favorite weeknight recipe in the process!

Show everyone how together you are: Instagram your meal prep photos and tag them #thespruceeats.