Baked Butternut Squash Fries

Baked Butternut Squash Fries with Ketchup

It wasn’t until this past weekend that I even gave a second thought to the fact that I rarely serve you side dishes. It’s been a hair over a year and I’ve barely given you a french fry.

So Saturday I found myself  staring deep into the freezer case of Whole Foods, half my life savings stacked neatly in the carriage to my left, and there they were: frozen french fries. You’d have thought I was marveling at a modern art installation. There were tater tots, waffle fries, and those of a curly persuasion. White ones, yellow ones, sweet orange ones.

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

 

I wanted each and every one of them, sprinkled with two days’ worth of recommended sodium intake, dipped in ketchup, and in my belly.

I do like frozen fries. I like how easy and fast they are. How much they remind me of fish sticks and fries and the Gorton’s fisherman and being eleven. But what I don’t like is paying upwards of $4 for a bag of potatoes cut bluntly into sticks and coated with god-knows-what from heaven-knows-where.

I could make these, I say to myself. Yes I could. I could buy a big russet, or garnet yam, heck I could buy a bulbous butternut squash, peel it, cut it up, bake it, and have a heaping plate’s worth of fresh hot fries for a fraction of the calories of the pre-made kind. I could also organize my cabinets so I wouldn’t buy a new jar of relish every week of my life. Some things are easier said than done.

What did I do with these thoughts? I made fries.

I’d like to say it was an iron will that tore me from those frosty glass doors and back to the produce for a smooth-skinned winter squash, but really, it was the low-grade hypothermia just setting in.

Butternut squash

 

Either way, I’m glad I brought that butternut home and made friends, then fries, with her. They’re such a deliciously different take on traditional crispy white ones. These come out of the oven soft and tender, mashy in the middle with a slight crusty coating. I’d call their slight sogginess a plus, along the same lines as how good those last few fries in a McDonad’s bag are, warm and mushy with oil and salt.

Butternut squash fries are nutty and sweet, and when generously salted, the play of flavors is just lovely. They’re light and wholesome. This is not much of a recipe, given that there are three ingredients and minimal effort involved, but I want you to know how to make healthy fries at home. Feel free to substitute white potatoes or sweet potatoes, both work equally as well! Here’s how they’re made:

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel a large butternut squash, slice it width-wise down the center and then length-wise so that you have 4 equal quarters. Scoop out the fleshy, seedy centers of the two bulbous ends. Cut the squash into even, thin sticks, about 1/3″ thick.

 

Place the cut squash in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons canola oil, and use your hands to rub the oil on each fry shape. Then, salt them to high heaven.

Butternut Squash Fries

 

Here’s the key: Bake them on a wire cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. The air will be able to circulate around all sides of the fries and they’ll develop a much more even crisp. I’ve experimented with both methods of baking the fries: one where the fries laid on the cooling rack (as pictured and directed), and one where the squash laid directly on a cookie sheet. The cooling rack is far superior.

They’ll take about 40  minutes in the oven. Flip them halfway.

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

 

 

Sprinkle with extra salt and serve immediately with ketchup!

 

 

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

 

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

one 2lb butternut squash

2 tablespoons canola oil

salt

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and cut the squash into long, thin french fry shapes (roughly 1/3″ thick). In a large bowl, toss the squash with oil, using your hands to evenly coat each one. Lay them on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and salt them generously. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway for even crispness. Serve immediately with extra salt and ketchup.

 

 

Nutrition info for 1/4 of the entire recipe:

Calories: 151.9, Fat: 7.2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carb: 23.6g, Fiber: 6.6g, Protein: 2.0g

Comments

  1. says

    I am so going to try these! And with the rack :) I always wondered why my sweet potato fries never worked out (been crispy enough) but I’m willing to bet that’s why!

  2. Cindy says

    YAY!!!!

    I have a butternut squash with nothing to make!

    and yes, a few more sides would be so fun!

    can you make me some udon noodle soup?????

    I think Daniel said he wanted some!

    heheheheheh
    que evil blogger!
    xo

  3. says

    Ohhh fries. I’m a sucker for a big pile of fries, too. These look awesome and the wire rack is a great tip. I hate peeling and slicing butternut squash, though. I can almost hear the blade of my knife dulling when I’m cutting through it! :)

  4. says

    I *knew* I was saving that butternut squash for a reason!

    Confession: I’ve never peeled a squash.. Do you use a carrot peeler or a paring knife?

  5. says

    I’m just learning to like squash. I’ve made butternut squash soup and risotto. It started with a sweet potato fry recipe from Bon Appetit a few years ago, but I never thought about using squash! Oh you have such excellent ideas. Thank you!

  6. budgeteats says

    Looks great. I tried this once but did a bad job cutting my sweet potatoes. They are also good with a brown sugar on top!

  7. Molly says

    Oven roasted butternut squash is one of my most favourite foods, but I never thought of having them like chips! (I mean, fries… I’m English).

    Could you freeze them? Or would that ruin them? If so/not, before or after baking?

  8. says

    Another great way to make nice fries is to mostly bake your potato (I use the microwave because it’s quick). Then you slice the potato into fries, and lightly spray them with oil (I have an oil spray bottle) – and then you can then season them with salt & pepper, or get creative with chili powder, garlic powder, etc. Just bake them like the butternut squash fries, but it only takes 15-20 minutes in the oven – and they taste a bit more like “real” fries because the inside is soft and fluffy, but the outside crisps beautifully. It’s my new favorite way to make homemade fries with potatoes.

  9. says

    You’re my hero! I’ve been searching for a great recipe for butternut squash fries… mine always tank, and though flavorful, are a bit soggy. Brilliant… using a wire rack. Lovely post… I wonder how it would work on a grill… since I’m fresh out of wire racks right now. HMMM worth a shot.

  10. says

    I made these for my granddaughter and had a bunch left after they were cooked Why couldn’t you freeze them after being cooked Has anyone tried it??

  11. Monika says

    I am so excited to try these. I’ve had a goal to start trying new veggies and bought a butternut squash. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but now I do. I can’t wait to make it, is it tomorrow yet? Is it wrong to bake them at 11:30 at night and eat a second dinner? Okay, I’ll be good and wait!!! AND wait!!!!

  12. Shae says

    Made these tonight! I was REALLY wishing I had a wire rack to cook them on, but even though they were soggy, they were DIVINE! Thanks for the great post! I can’t wait to try the Petite Lasagnas and thanks for sharing your inspiring story 😉

  13. Heidi says

    When I use sweet potatos I put Itilian Seasoning on it and a some time even a little bit of paramasan cheese sprinkled.

  14. says

    Going to try it tonight. Bought my butternut yesterday and going to give it the good ole college try. I may even use some of those seasons you but to sprinkle on potatoes with oil before I bake them. Ummm… will let you know how they turned out.

  15. Erin says

    These were great! Saw this on Pinterest and it reminded me how much I like butternut squash and sweet potato fries. I rarely make them because I hate how mushy they get in the oven…using a wire rack totally fixed that problem. Thanks!

  16. Cynthia says

    Well I tired, they tasted good, but not really crispy…and to try to cut and peel them is a nightmare. I’ve used butternut squash before but I’ve used the already cut up the butternut squash. I don’t know if I’ll make them again but they were tasty…

  17. Lisa says

    Try using the Large Pampered Chef Barpan to make all types of fries..it tastes as if it’s been fried, but its been baked! Delic!

  18. Kathy says

    Here’s a quick time saver when making these. Use an extra large jellyroll pan for the bottom pan. Place another wire rack on top of fries just before turning. Holding the ends of both wire racks, flip them over and replace in pan. Remove original rack that is now resting on top. This way you only have to turn them once instead of individually.

  19. JL Hodgins says

    I don’t see HOW ‘salting to high heaven’ could in any way in any universe be a healthy idea. ??!! Translate: heart attack.

  20. Porsche says

    Found you on Pinterest. So I made this recipe, but I threw the entire squash in the microwave for 5 or so minutes so I could at least cut and peel the thing. Still hard, but much easier than before. Also my fries were not crispy, but I still loooved them! And I do NOT eat squash. So in my book, it’s a winner!

  21. Nikki says

    For everyone who talks about hating the whole peeling ordeal, I have GOOD NEWS for you… The peel is COMPLETELY EDIBLE! It becomes soft with the cooking. Don’t get me wrong, there is added texture, and you do know the skin is still on, but I love it, and love that it saves me the trouble of trying to peel the little sucker!!

  22. Ginna says

    I thought 40 minutes was too long, I baked them for 20 min., so now I can freeze some of them and then reheat them again without drying them out further. I live alone so a whole squash would be overkill for a meal. I also used Buttercup squash as I have used many different types and they all work well. You can also bake them on parchment paper if you have problems with adhesion. Try something different: Nutmeg, Cardamom, Mace, etc…sprinkled on slices AFTER they come out of the oven. High heat affects the flavor of herbs and spices so its better to put them on after removing from the oven. A bit of olive oil spray with make the herbs or spices adhere to squash.

  23. Ginna says

    The first batch I made I followed your instructions to the letter and the fries were not crispy except for the burned tips which I broke off. Unfortunately deep frying is still the best method for really, truly crispy items. Once in a great while you should treat yourself. I did find I liked the idea of roasting squash pieces as I have roasted many other vegetables as well. Most recipes tend to have long baking times and the vegetables are overcooked. I prefer them a but under cooked so they still have some crunch.

  24. Melissa says

    Love reading thru all the recipes! Love making fries out of vegetables! Have you tried Jicama? Will absolutely love them! peel, slice thick, spritz with EVOO add seasoning and bake!

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