Salt & Wind Travel

Baked Butternut Squash Parmesan

What’s that? You’re in search of a vegetarian version of Chicken Parm? Well let us present this Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe that has all the flavor but is healthier. Fall might just be our favorite season — whether it’s pears, apples, squash, or even herbs like rosemary and sage, we’re all about it. Hence the creation of this Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe

What Is Butternut Squash Parmesan?

As you probably know, the casserole we call Parmesan or parmigiana is a recipe with Italian roots. Most classically made with eggplant and known as parmigiana di melanzane, it’s believed the traditional recipe comes from the south of Italy with the regions of Campania and Calabria both laying claim. 

True, the classic Eggplant Parmesan is made with, well, eggplant, which is very much a summer ingredient. But, if you swap out the eggplant for squash, it’s just as perfect during the colder months.

In this recipe, we took that a step further and nixed the frying. The result is a baked Butternut Squash Parmesan recipe that’s easy to assemble and less messy, yet just as comforting.

Adding cheese to butternut squash parmesan
Cut sliced squash with garlic oil

How to Make Butternut Squash Parmesan

For this recipe, we wanted to show off our seasonal finds, while still keeping things relatively simple. The whole recipe comes together in just a few steps.

Make The Garlic Oil Ahead

First, you make the garlic oil, which brings a load of flavor. You could make this weeks ahead of time and use it in everything from roasting vegetables to garnishing hummus FYI.

Prep the Squash

Next, you cut the squash. If you’re having a hard time cutting it open, go ahead and put it in the oven while it preheats for 5 to 10 minutes or microwave it for 3 to 5 minutes. Then place it long-side down on a cutting board (put a dish towel underneath to keep it from slipping) and carefully use a serrated knife to cut it in half. 

Assemble The Parmesan

Now assemble the vegetarian Butternut Squash Parmesan – a task made so much easier thanks to the use of store-bought pasta sauce. Yes, pasta sauce is a year-round pantry staple. But its rich, robust flavors pair especially well with cooler-weather autumn comfort foods.

Make The Optional Garnishes

While the lot of it is roasting, you can make the optional garnishes, which include flash-fried sage and herb-infused cream. They take only a few minutes to make and make the recipe restaurant-quality.

The result is a mix of fall flavors – squash, sage, tomato sauce, and herbed cream — that is just the right mix of healthy and decadent.

Finished butternut squash parmesan dish

What To Pair With This Recipe

This recipe really is a one-dish meal but it is only made better by the addition of a salad. Here are a few we’d pair with this Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe:

Go stock up on all your cooking essentials then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Baked Vegetarian Parm Recipe
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe

{Parmigiana di Zucca} Butternut Squash Parmesan Recipe

A healthy-ish recipe for a baked take on classic Parmigiana made with butternut squash, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and fried sage. With this {Parmigiana di Zucca} Butternut Squash Parmesan recipe you will definitely impress even your most Italian friends!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 338 kcal


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves smashed and peeled (optional, for garlic oil)
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 (23.5-ounce) jar FarmToFork™ Tomato Basil or Spicy Marinara Sauce
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese or high-quality whole milk ricotta cheese (if using mozzarella, slice into 1/4-inch half moons)
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 small fresh sage leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream for garnish (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts for garnish (optional)


  • Make The Garlic Oil (optional): Heat oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and cover (use aluminum foil if the pan doesn’t come with a lid).
    Place in the oven and cook for at least 45 minutes until the garlic is soft and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before using.
  • Assemble The Butternut Squash Parmesan: Heat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Meanwhile, cut the ends of the butternut squash off so that it can sit upright, then cut the bulb off of the neck (set the bulb aside for another use). Peel the butternut squash, then cut the neck in half lengthwise, placing one half cut-side down on a cutting board.
    Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (they should look like half-moons). Repeat to use up all the squash neck (you should end up with around 24 to 30 half-moons of squash).
    TIP: If the squash is hard to cut, you can microwave it for 3 minutes or put it in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes (even while the oven is preheating) to make it easier to slice.
  • Place all the squash pieces in a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil (or olive oil), a pinch of salt, and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat.
    Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil (or EVOO) in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or in a few individual baking dishes like we’ve done here. To assemble the Butternut Squash Parmesan, evenly spread 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the oiled baking dish, then arrange 6 to 8 pieces of the squash over the sauce (the pieces may overlap a bit).
  • Evenly distribute half of the mozzarella or ricotta and one-third of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top of the squash, then add another 1/2 cup of the sauce. Repeat with the squash, the remaining half of the mozzarella or ricotta, one-third of the Parmigiano Reggiano, and 1/2 cup of the sauce. Repeat with a final layer of squash, 1/2 cup sauce, and the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. 
    Cover pan with foil and bake until the sauce is just starting to bubble, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes more.
  • Make the Garnishes (optional): Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes if making. For the fried sage, add 1-inch of the garlic olive oil (or olive oil) to a small pot and warm over medium-high heat. Clean and dry the sage leaves and make sure you have a paper towel-lined plate nearby.
    To check if the oil is ready, dip the tip of a leaf into the oil – tiny bubbles should form around the edge of the leaf. Add a handful of the leaves and remove once they crisp up and become darker green (but aren’t yet brown), about 15 seconds.
    Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the leaves to the paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.  
    Place the cream in a small pan, add the rosemary, and cook over medium-high heat until it’s reduced by half to just 1/4 cup, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
    Add the pine nuts to a small frying pan over medium-low heat and toast them until just golden brown, about 10 minutes. 
  • Serve The Squash Parmigiana: Remove the Butternut Squash Parmesan from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving. Before serving, top with the fried sage leaves, the toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of the cream.



Serving: 1 servingCalories: 338kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 10gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 300mgPotassium: 409mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 10404IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 302mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy vegetarian recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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