Well, friends, this Roasted Butternut Squash Dip is that recipe. It's suitable for a range of diets because it's vegan, nut free, gluten free, and dairy free. Also, it's really easy to prepare and it keeps for days meaning you can make it days ahead of a big celebration like Thanksgiving or keep it the in the refrigerator as a go-to healthy snack.
Tbh, I can't really imagine a time before this Roasted Squash and Pepita Pesto Dip was in my life. Okay, that sounds dramatic, but I'm really happy it's in my life because it's a go-to recipe that you can always rely on to get the job done. Not to mention it's chock-full of all the Fall flavors but not heavy the way so many butternut squash recipes tend to be.
The number one question we get whenever we publish a recipe that uses winter (aka hard) squash? How to safely get it open!
My trick is to warm up the squash for a few minutes (either by microwaving the entire squash or putting it in the oven as it preheats) and then it's much easier to open. Yes, you should still be careful and work slowly and intentionally but you won't need to exert nearly as much pressure on your knife, which all in all is safer.
As for getting all the seeds out? I turn to an ice cream or cookie scoop (as in a spring-loaded scoop) and essentially work like I would with a melon baller and I can usually get all the seeds out of one half of squash with just one pass.
This dip is pretty simple to make but here are a few key tips I've learn in the tens (if not hundreds!) of times I've made it:
(about 1 medium squash) halved and seeds removed
plus more for garnish
top of garlic cut off
(raw hulled pumpkin seeds) (about 4 ounces), plus a spoonful more for garnish
Roast The Squash: Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in middle. Place the squash cut-side down (with nothing on it!) on an aluminum foil silicoln mat-lined rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Place the olive oil and the head of garlic in a small ovenproof saucepan cover with an ovenproof top and place it on the baking sheet next to the squash in the oven.
Roast the squash until it is easily poked with a fork and the garlic until it is soft and golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. If the garlic is ready before the squash, remove the garlic and oil from the oven and set aside to cool and continue to roast the squash until it is fork tender. Once the squash is tender, add pepitas and sage and roast another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the seeds are toasted and sage is crisp but not brown.
Process The Dip: Remove everything from the oven and set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop the squash out of the skin and place in a food processor fitted with a metal S-shaped blade.
Squeeze the garlic cloves out into the food processor and add the garlic infused oil, the pepitas, crisp sage, parsley, salt, and lemon juice and process until everything is broken down, about 1 minute. Stop to scrape down the insides of the food processor and look at the texture. You want the final dip to have the consistency of mashed potatoes. If i t is dry, add the remaining broth.
Let the food processor run again until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes more. Taste and add more salt or pepper, as desired.
To Serve The Dip: Place the dip in a serving bowl and garnish with a pinch of pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Serve the dip with cut up vegetables (we like it with cooked fingerling potatoes, radishes, cauliflower, or carrots), root vegetable chips, or crackers.
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