Raise your hand if you’re always and forever ISO that recipe. You know, the one that can feed pretty much anyone? As in the recipe that’s allergy free and easy to make and a crowd-pleaser? Well, friends, this Pepita Pesto Roasted Butternut Squash Dip Recipe is just that.
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 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.
How To Safely And Easily Prepare The Squash
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 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.
Tips For Making This Dip
This dip is pretty simple to make but here are a few key tips I’ve learned in the tens (if not hundreds!) of times I’ve made it:
Opt For Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We know, we’re a broken record about the importance of extra virgin olive oil, but there are very few ingredients in this recipe so you really want the best olive oil you can get in order to get max flavor happening in the final dip.
Pay Attention To The Water-iness Of Your Squash
Depending on the time of year and the type of squash you use, your squash may be drier or more watery once it’s roasted. To be sure you don’t end up with a watery, loose dip, start blending by using half the measured amount of broth. Then stop blending after a minute, check it out, and only add the rest if needed (you want the dip to resemble mashed potatoes in texture).
Change Up The Squash
Yes, you can use a variety of squash in this recipe. Aside from butternut squash, we like it made with acorn, kabocha, or even some of the pumpkin varieties like Fairytale.
And Vary The Herbs
Also feel free to use what herbs you have on hand. Say, a mix of parsley and cilantro (but don’t roast either of those), or sage and marjoram and thyme, or parsley and chives!
Use Tahini Instead Of Pumpkin Seeds
FYI, tahini is a great substitute for the pumpkin seeds so you can use it if you have it on hand and don’t want to make a trip to the store just for the pumpkin seeds. Yes, the tahini will give it a bit more of a hummus-like flavor but it will still be delicious!
See The Recipe Made Step By Step
Heads up that Aida made this recipe on her IGTV so head there to check it out!
PIN IT FOR LATER
Pepita Pesto Roasted Butternut Squash Dip Recipe
- 3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 medium squash) halved and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
- 1 medium garlic head top of garlic cut off
- 3/4 cup pepitas (raw hulled pumpkin seeds) (about 4 ounces), plus a spoonful more for garnish
- 12 medium sage leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
- 1 handful packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Roast The Squash: Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in middle. Place the squash cut-side down (with nothing on it!) on an aluminum foil silicon mat-lined rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven. Place the olive oil and the head of garlic in a small ovenproof saucepan covered 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.the
- 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, half of the broth, 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 it 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.