Butternut squash is a popular and versatile winter vegetable that can work as a great side dish. It is important to keep in mind that it does have the potential to be starchy and bland. As with any other variety of squash, you get the best results when you season it properly. Below are some of the best spices to go with your butternut squash.
Table of Contents
- Garlic and olive oil
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
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Garlic and olive oil
Garlic goes well with almost any savory food. The addition of garlic tends to improve meats, vegetables, and starches. Garlic brings a pungent umami note that complements the sweetness of butternut squash. When combined with the astringent and savory properties of olive oil, it gives butternut squash a rich and flavorful quality when it is used in soups and other applications.
While spicy heat might seem like an odd pairing for a vegetable like butternut squash, cayenne pepper is actually an excellent option simply because its heat plays off the sweetness of butternut squash so well. It can also enhance the deep orange color of a baked butternut squash while also improving its flavor.
Oregano’s bright and savory quality along with its minty intensity makes it a great complement for a sweet vegetable like butternut squash. Oregano works especially well with grilled butternut squash since grilling keeps the sugar content from being lost, unlike other cooking methods.
As far as traditional combinations go, sage and butternut squash appear to be made for each other. The concentrated earthiness of sage perfectly complements butternut squash. Sage is an especially great butternut squash seasoning when you fry it in olive oil or butter. You can toss cubed butternut squash or butternut squash ravioli in your sage-flavored butter or oil.
Like garlic, basil is one of those seasonings that go well with a large number of different foods. When it comes to butternut squash, basil’s minty and herbaceous qualities go well with the vegetable’s rich sweetness. It also helps that butternut squash has a mild flavor; basil pairs well with mild-flavored foods. Basil and the other herbs on this list all work best when they are combined with garlic and cayenne or black pepper.
Like basil and oregano, rosemary is a member of the mint family. While it has a lot in common with its aforementioned relatives, it brings a sweet and resinous intensity that they do not possess. The tea-like flavor of rosemary lingers in a way that basil and oregano do not. Combining rosemary with garlic and olive oil is a great way to enhance roasted butternut squash.
Black pepper offers a piney and woodsy note that is a great complement to many foods, but especially ones that are sweeter, like butternut squash. As with cayenne pepper, its heat plays well with the sweetness of baked or grilled squash resulting in a savory and flavorful dish.
Cumin is a spice that is not often associated with cold-weather vegetables like butternut squash. It offers a warm spiciness but is not hot like black pepper or cayenne pepper. Its bitterness allows it to contrast well against sweeter seasonings and ingredients such as rosemary, nutmeg, and other similar spices.
Chives bring a mild onion note that can enhance many savory dishes. Its herbaceous qualities combined with the onion note allow it to blend well with the mildness of butternut squash.
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