Baked Butternut Squash Fries

by Andie Mitchell on February 22, 2011

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

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth February 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

What an awesome idea! I need to get a wire cooling rack – I bet that will help a lot with all types of oven fries!

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Omega February 22, 2011 at 8:57 am

If you disregard the oil, wouldn’t these be 0 WW points (on the new PointsPlus system)?

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Wow, best 0 point food ever I imagine!

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Katie April 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I thought the same thing! They’re in the oven right now. I sprayed a little butter flavored Pam on them and sprinkled with a little salt. I tasted a couple, and they taste great!

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Can You Stay for Dinner April 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Awesome Katie! Thanks!

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McKick January 13, 2012 at 7:15 am

And actually, you’re allowed up to two tsp of *healthy* oil a day without counting it. So you could use 2 t olive oil cooking spray and they’d still be zero pts. Going to make for dinner :-) Thanks for this great idea!!

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Bonnie P February 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

The 2t of oil is only “free” if doing SFT- If counting points, count the points!

Peggy January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

I heard of this recipe at ww but they said to use spray oil lightly and put in plastic bag and add chili powder then bake. I am making them for lunch today.

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Kathy February 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

As a WW leader, I would like to encourage you to use a healthy oil, and meet the Good Health Guidelines of 2 tsp. of oil a day.

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Delectable Dinners February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

Clever idea!! I often make butternut squash fries as a side, but I never used a wire cooling rack-I will have to give it a try.

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Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 22, 2011 at 10:29 am

Yum! I make an awesome recipe like that with cinnamon ;)

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

mmm, cinnamon adds a whole ‘nother dimension of flavor that I love…

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Evan Thomas February 22, 2011 at 10:45 am

Yum! I just threw half a butternut squash in the oven, but now I know what I’m making with the other half.

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Shanna, like Banana February 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

I’m thinking these would also taste good with BBQ sauce!

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Oh I bet the smokiness of barbecue sauce goes perfectly!

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McKick January 13, 2012 at 7:16 am

Or I’m going to use italian seasoning and dip in marinara! I will let you guys know how it is!

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Sarah February 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

ah, this is why my bnut squash fries always fail — the cooling rack is KEY.

thank you for changing my life. Thank you very. very much.

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snackgirlgoeshealthy February 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Those look so good and crispy! and the nutrition stats are great!

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MelissaNibbles February 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I make these all the time. They’re amazing. I’m glad someone else likes them too!

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm

The other night I mixed a Laughing Cow into my sweet potato skin and thought of you- it was awesome.

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Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) February 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I love the idea of cooking them on a cooling rack on a baking sheet! I always burn my fries!

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Meaghan February 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm

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!

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Thanks Meaghan! Yes, they get much crispier on the cooling rack. I often had a problem with the fries sticking to the cookie sheet before, but I never have that now. You must try it!

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Cindy February 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

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

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thecompletecookbook February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Aah yes, the infamous crispy fries that we know are not good for us yet we keep on eating them, but NOW, comes your perfectly healthy and equally yummy butternut fries – YUMMY. :-) Mandy

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Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) February 23, 2011 at 5:08 am

This looks so delicious! I’m a huge fan of anything in fry form (parsnips, turnips, carrots, etc.) I’ve never tried butternut squash like this but I’ll be trying it this week. Can’t wait! :D

(p.s. thanks once again for the inspiration! :D )

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 23, 2011 at 7:20 am

Oh I looove carrots and parsnips as fries! Never tried turnips, but now I will!

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Stephanie October 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Never heard of parsnips & turnips as fries! All these great ideas. Great way to get veggies into kids too. If they get to eat it with thier hands and dip it into some sort of dip its golden! :)

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Megan (Braise The Roof) February 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

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! :)

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Oh it’s so true- the cutting of butternut squash has to be one of the most unpleasant things to do! Hope you’re doing great, Megan!

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sara February 24, 2011 at 8:38 am

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?

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Can You Stay for Dinner February 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

Just a regular ol’ peeler! The skin is so tough, I wouldn’t recommend using a knife because of the chance of slipping!

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sara February 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thanks, dear!

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Decor Girl February 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

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!

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budgeteats March 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

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!

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Molly April 19, 2011 at 7:09 am

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?

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Can You Stay for Dinner April 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

Hey Molly! I think you might be able to freeze them after you cut them into fry shapes but before you bake them. Then, bake them straight from frozen when you’re ready! Good question :)

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ilona October 10, 2011 at 7:53 am

has anyone tried this? I know when I do potatoefries, I parfry them before freezing. I don’t know how long you would have to parbake these.

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Kim May 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

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.

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Erin @ EKat's Kitchen May 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

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.

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Barb Scott June 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

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??

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Monika July 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

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!!!!

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ilona October 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

I was wondering if you can freeze the fries after you make them…. also can you fry them as you would french fries? I have a fryer…

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Alison October 26, 2011 at 7:01 am

Amazing! I can’t wait to try these out. I’m going to use this recipe in my menu plan next week. Thanks for sharing!

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GiGi December 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

By far my favorite snack on the planet! I love em with cinnamon!

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Misty December 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

They look delicious!! I just found your blog on Pinterest and so love it…you have such an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

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Shae December 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm

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 ;)

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Diane January 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

These sound absolutely delicious!
Definitely going to try them out!

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Heidi January 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm

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

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Andie January 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm

That sounds delicious!!

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Damyon January 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I can’t wait until my garden yields its bounty this summer. Winter squash fries, yum!

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Jan MacKay February 10, 2012 at 6:00 am

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.

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Erin February 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

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!

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Suzanne February 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Found this via Pinterest and I love them! My 3rd batch this week is in the oven.

Thank you!

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Cynthia March 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

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…

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Lisa March 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

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!

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Ryan March 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I am a huge fan of winter squash, yet all of this time I have never thought to make fries with it; go figure. Thank you for sharing this exceedingly fantastic recipe. I have it pinned on Pinterest, and I even featured it on my site at http://fitnessemu.com/baked-butternut-squash-fries/.

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Kathy September 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

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.

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victoriaco September 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm

GREAT idea! Thanks!

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JL Hodgins October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

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

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Nikki October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Would these work without any oil?

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Porsche November 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

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!

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Nikki November 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

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!!

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Eri April 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I’m in love with all your recipes. I’m making these fries for dinner! Thanks!

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Ginna January 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

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.

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Ginna January 24, 2014 at 8:04 am

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.

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