Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash

I often get asked by people if my kids eat everything. Well, everything is a big word. I'm sure if I sat them down with a big plate of chopped liver and super stinky cheese they would opt to starve, but overall they're both pretty good about eating a diverse range of foods. Still, that doesn't mean there are not times of major protest.

As babies, the both of them could not get enough of my butternut squash puree. Naively I assumed they would be fans of it for a lifetime. Nice try. Somehow as they entered toddlerhood their tastes changed and squash lost its luster. I'm an obsessive squash eater -- acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, you name it, I love it -- so having two children who apparently did not inherit my taste for it was all the more bewildering to me.

Squash recently started showing up again at our farmers' market and I've been buying and cooking it non stop. I never give up on trying to get Kenya and Chloe to eat it, but for about two weeks I was met with the same turned up noses and choruses of "I don't want it" and "I don' like that". Then one night, I had an idea. I pulled both kids' stools up to the kitchen counter and told them they were in charge of making this dish. I put some diced squash on a baking sheet and let them toss it with a bit of oil. Then a few minutes before it was ready I let each one go nuts with the cinnamon shaker before having them pour on a good amount of maple syrup and use their "pinching fingers" to sprinkle on a bit of salt. Minutes later the kitchen smelled like just how you'd imagine fall should.

Yet even after all that, they still resisted eating their creation. I don't like to push them, so instead I put out two little dishes drizzled with a touch of maple syrup (my husband claims it was more like a full pour, but who's counting) and suggested they try dipping their squash into it. Four helpings later, Kenya declared that he loved butternut squash and has requested it several times since.

The moral for me? Just when you think it's time to give up on your kids tastes and throw in the towel with a certain food, it's always worth one more try!

For more Squash inspiration, check out these awesome recipes!

Feed Me Phoebe_ Baked Acorn Squash with Maple-Siracha Glaze
Jeanette's Healthy Living_ Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash
The Lemon Bowl_ Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Winter Squash
Big Girls, Small Kitchen_ Provencal Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas
Weelicious: Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash
Elephants and the Coconut Trees_ Creamy Squash Rigatoni
Blue Apron Blog_ Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Taste With The Eyes_ A Hearty Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash
Devour: Winter Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes_ Roasted Acorn Squash Crescents with Sage Pecan Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885_ Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Slices with Maple Syrup
Red or Green_ Butternut Squash Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Cayenne
Virtually Homemade_ Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Basil Walnut Pesto
Domesticate Me_ Chipotle Pork Tenderloin and Butternut Squash Tacos
Daily*Dishin: Kahlua Baked Acorn Squash
FN Dish_ Comforting Winter Squash Sides

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Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash (makes 2 cups)

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 45 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
  • 2 teaspoons Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet, drizzle or spray with oil and toss to coat well.
3. Bake for 40 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with the maple syrup. Toss to coat, return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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25 comments

  • Laura

    I'm assuming this can be done with any kind of squash? My son devoures about 1/2 a squash a day, so I am always looking for new ways to prepare it!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes, this will work with any squash!

      leave a comment

  • Ruth

    This recipe sounds delicious and I'm looking forward to trying it!

    The scenario you described plays out almost daily in our house, and most times my 5-yr old son decides not to try some portion of our meal. But every once in a while we get a small victory and my son discovers he actually likes something he thought he didn't, so there's always hope!

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  • Adayla

    I just made butternut squash last night and my 17 month old refused to eat it. I too am a huge lover of squash so, I was a little surprised he didn't want to try it. I have leftovers so I may be cubing it up and adding cinnamon and syrup and seeing if that gets him to at least try it! Thanks for the recipes!

    leave a comment

  • Kathryn

    What fun! And it answers my prayers for a good autumn breakfast vegetable for my 2 year old. I'll try putting it out alongside pancakes or french toast fingers. Thank you. <3

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  • Julia

    I now roast my butternut squash too and love it! It really brings out the flavors. I love the addition of maple syrup to this!

    leave a comment

  • Jessica

    You should try this recipe.

    He said you marinate it in
    2 parts olive oil
    1 part honey
    1 part red wine vinegar

    I usually use about a tablespoon as my measure so 2 tbsp oil; 1 tbsp honey; 1 tbsp vinegar Marinate it for about 30 minutes or so. I grill mine.

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  • Karen

    Catherine - I really am glad you said that your kids don't eat everything. Sometimes I have watched your videos and thought that you have to be bribing Kenya and Chloe! I feel like I have tried so many of these techniques (keep presenting the food, let them help make it, give them something new as well as something familiar) and really have very little success getting my son to eat ANYTHING. Its not just that he only wants chicken nuggets or mac n cheese, even if I give him those he will only eat a bite or two (sigh).

    Anyway, thanks for letting us know there are sometimes food battles at your house too. That gives me new resolve!

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  • Laura Glutton For Nourishment

    this looks delicious! i might have to make some and puree it for my 9 month old :)

    leave a comment

  • Karey

    I've been making something similar for my daughter with all the lovely squash at the grocery store and farmers market. It's amazing to me that she did the same thing. She loved the puree with cinnamon and now, at 11 months she didn't like the small cubes of it I was giving her. The teeniest bit of maple syrup and roasting turned her around!

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  • ojacobs08

    Seriously, so incredibly delicious!!!!!!!! It's almost like eating dessert!! Love this and making or Thanksgiving!!!

    leave a comment

  • Kellie

    What kind of maple syrup do you use? Is it different than what you would buy for pancakes?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I use the same as I use for pancakes! I buy pure maple syrup from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and sometimes the Farmers Market when they have it!

      leave a comment

  • Tracy

    So my 14-month old, totally picky eater LOVES this!! I'm so happy -- its actually helped him eat other things.
    Questions -- can this squash be frozen after roasting?
    Would this work with sweet potatoes?

    Thanks!!!!

    leave a comment

  • Leannetuttle

    Will olive oil work for this?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes!

      leave a comment

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  • Sarah

    I made this for my picky, vegetable-hating 16 month old son. He would start making his \"ewwww\" face, then do a double take and start shovelling the cubes into his mouth! Thanks for a great recipe!

    leave a comment

  • RStockwell

    How not to do it: I cut the squash into \"toddler bite sized pieces\" and didn't check on it until the 40 minutes was up. I don't think I'll be serving my son the black charred squash I ended up with:) Our oven does run a LITTLE hot, and I used sunflower oil. I loved the last 2 recipes from this website though!

    leave a comment

    • Andrea S

      I wish I had read your comment before doing the same thing. Looks like my twins will not be having squash charcoal for lunch. :(

      leave a comment