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Roasted winter squash recipe with cranberries, pepitas and honey-lime vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}

Roasted winter squash

A great side dish doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, its glory lies in simplicity, so as not to outshine the entree, and this recipe for roasted winter squash is a perfect example. Roasting draws out the natural sweetness of the vegetable -- try butternut, buttercup, acorn or delicata -- and when you marry that with the tart lime in the dressing, and a bit of honey or agave nectar for balance, it makes an ideal companion for a roast chicken or pork tenderloin, or a piece of steamed cod. If you're cooking with kids who aren't too keen on vegetables, let them help with the plating; it's fun and easy to make faces with the slices of squash, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Roasted winter squash with cranberries, pepitas and honey-lime vinaigrette

Roasted winter squash with cranberries, pepitas and honey-lime vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: dried cranberries, lime, olive oil, honey or agave nectar, extra virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 4.


1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch half moons
2 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar, or to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste
2-3 Tbsp dried cranberries
2-3 Tbsp raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Spread the squash slices on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat both sides. Roast for 20 minutes; then, turn the slices over and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and turn on the broiler. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for 2 minutes, until the squash begins to brown on the edges.

While the squash is cooking, combine lime juice, honey or agave, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the dressing comes together. Taste, and adjust to your taste. The dressing should be more tart than sweet.

When the squash is cooked, arrange the slices on a serving plate, Sprinkle the dried cranberries and pepitas all around, and spoon the dressing over the top, using only as much as you need (you can save any extra vinaigrette for another recipe).

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Warm salad of kamut, cranberries and feta
Butternut squash macaroni and cheese
Squash, sweet potato and carrot soup
Polenta, squash and cheese loaf
Dried cranberry and pear chutney

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Borlotti bean mole with roast winter squash, from 101 Cookbooks
Zucchini cookies with chocolate chips and dried cranberries, from Two Peas and Their Pod
Cranberry nut bread, from Simply Recipes
Jalapeño and lime hummus, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Grilled or pan roasted pork tenderloin in honey lime chipotle marinade, from Chaos in the Kitchen

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Another snow storm day, and I can almost make this from the pantry. Lime is the missing item -- maybe sub the golden balsamic? I don't have a feel for its character. And cranberries? I have cran/orange/pineapple relish, not too sweet, left from the Day. It won't be the same but I'm liking it already. (And the squash, some kind of acorn which I refuse to peel, just separate as we eat.) Isn't the genius of "pantry cooking" in the outcome?

Now what if you're cooking for ADULTS who don't like vegetables? I wonder if the making faces trick will still work...

Seriously though this sounds delicious and is exactly the kind of side dish I could fall in love with. Thanks for sharing!

This looks wonderful. I agree that simplicity is best. My favorite squash recipe is steamed butternut squash pureed with just a little maple syrup and butter. It's so flavorful and couldn't be easier.

Wow! This looks really great. I've been cooking a lot of butternut squash lately, and am always looking for new ideas. Even have all the pantry ingredients.

I think I'd eat this with some wild rice and call it a meal. It looks entirely too good to be relegated to the side!

Susan, it sounds like you have the making of a beautiful improv! Let us know how it turned out.

Joanne, yes indeed, let those adults play with their food.

TW, squash loves maple syrup, doesn't it? Add a bit of cinnamon, and for me it's heaven.

Julia, peeling, cleaning and slicing the squash takes almost as long as cooking it, which is to say, not very long! The lime dressing makes all the difference.

Toni, that sounds like an absolutely great vegetarian main dish.

I am with Toni - serve with rice! Yum!

This looks so tasty. I love roasted butternut squash.

no pepita here, but i wonder if pine nuts might do... and a small handful of raisins? i do love squash with raisins...

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