Easy Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme

Monday 27 September 2021


Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
One thing I am really loving about being back in Canada is the huge variety of Winter squashes which are available for cooking.  

In the UK, we basically had one. Butternut Squash. Don't get me wrong, I adore Butternut Squash, but I also love other types of Winter squash, and its nice to have a variety to choose from!

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
Squash was not something which I really enjoyed when I was growing up. My mother only had one way of cooking it, boiling.  

And, as they did in them there days, she boiled it to death.  I think most vegetables had the life boiled out of them!   

In any case, mom boiled the squash and I could take it or leave it. It was always too squishy and lacking in flavor. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 

Winter squash is one of those vegetables, however, whose flavor is greatly enhanced when you use other method to cook it. Like roasting for instance.

Roasting Winter squash really heightens the sweetness of them as well as the natural nuttiness.  Well, most Winter squashes anyways. 

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
Long about this time of year I start looking at contenders to serve as side dishes for my Thanksgiving feast.  In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, which is a month earlier than they do in the United States.

I have my favorites, dishes that I do every year and always do the same, such as the swede, potatoes, carrots and stuffing.  But sometimes I like to switch out the others a bit if I can. 

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
My favorite way of roasting my turkey will always be my Herb Roasted Turkey, and that applies whether it is a breast/crown or the whole beast. 

For me, turkey doesn't get much better than that, and the gravy that you end up with at the end is magnificent.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 

My favorite stuffing is Mary Berry's Sage & Onion Stuffing.   Stuffing just could not be any more delicious than this one.

Its a beautiful mix of butter, herbs and bread, stuffing perfection.  For me the best part of the meal is always the stuffing, and this one does not let you down. not ever!

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
All the other sides I like to play with a bit and love trying out new ways of preparing them. This recipe for Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme comes from a cookery book by Diana Henry, entitled "Pure Simple Cooking."

It is filled with lots of lovely simple recipes for cooking everything from soup to nuts.  This was one of the sides in the book and the photograph for it had me drooling. 

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
I love dishes like this that use simple ingredients and very few of them.  Things that most people have in their homes most of the time.

And this recipe does just that. Its simple and almost pure in what it requires and how it is cooked.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme  

Other than the squash which you may have to go out and buy, you will probably have most everything else already in your kitchen.

  • Winter Squash
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Seasoning

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
What I love most about roasting things like this is that you get all of that beautiful caramelization on the edges of the vegetables. Nutty and brown and slightly sticky.  

Herby from the liberal use of fresh thyme, and then the savory sweetness of the garlic.  You can totally leave the garlic out if you want to, but I found that it added  a lovely additional layer of flavor.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 

The hardest part of this recipe is probably cutting the squash in half and scooping out the seeds. Some winter squashes can be extremely hard and difficult to cut in half.   Here are some of my tips which will make that process a bit easier.

1. Use a large, sharp, heavy duty knife. This is no time to break out the paring knives. You want to bring out the big guns for this, and do make sure it is really sharp.  A dull knife is a dangerous tool in the kitchen. 

2. Trim off both ends of the squash first, the stem end and the root/blossom end.  You are not going to be eating those parts, and trimming these off will give you a bit of stabilization. In other words, your squash should stay better in place while you are cutting with no rolling around.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme  
3. Cut vertically through the squash.  This just makes sense and allows for better shapes when it comes to portioning it than if you were to cut it horizontally.  If your knife gets a bit stuck, use something to lightly hammer the back handle of the knife, like a mallet.

4.  Peel with a knife and not a vegetable peeler.  Using a paring knife gives you much better control.  Squashes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  For this recipe she left the skin on the squash for roasting, but I will tell you that when I make it again, I am definitely peeling it. Its a lot easier to eat with the peel already removed.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 

5.  The easiest way to scoop out the stringy bits and seeds is with a melon baller. You could also use a grapefruit spoon. They just make a messy job a whole lot easier.

That is just a few tips to help make cutting your squash a tiny bit easier.  Above all use caution!  We don't want anyone slicing off their fingers!

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 

You will need to cut your squash into 3/4 inch wide slices for this recipe. Diana did not peel her squash  and neither did I, but if I made it again, it is important to note that I would peel it. 

I found it quite difficult to remove the peels when eating it.  At least they were with this particular squash.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme 
Diana also thinly sliced peeled garlic and scattered it over the roasted squash wedges for the last 15 minutes of roasting.  Personally, if I do this again, I am going to leave the garlic cloves whole and unpeeled.

I will give them a slight bashing to crack them, but I plan on putting them in with the squash right from the get go.  That way you will end up with lovely roasted cloves of garlic, in which case you may even want to use more than six cloves.

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme  

Roasted garlic is beautifully mellow and not at all harsh.  I could find nothing totally redeeming about thinly slicing it.  

It was cooked, but there was none of that beautiful sticky mellowness that you get from roasting whole cloves. And if I am going to use that many cloves of garlic I would prefer it to be a bit more than a garnish that isn't even all that attractive.

Just a suggestion on my part. 

Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme

In any case, with my suggested changes, this could very well be a contender for a side dish for my Thanksgiving feast.  I will probably only have my daughter and son in law here,  so not a huge crowd.

My first Thanksgiving on Canadian soil in over 20 years. If that isn't a cause for a celebration, and a great excuse to pull out all the stops,  I don't know what is!

Roasted Squash with Garlic & Thyme

Roasted Squash with Garlic & Thyme

Yield: 6 as a side
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 55 Min
You want to use the sweeter varieties of squash for this recipe. Butternut, Buttercup, Kabucha. All work really well.


  • 2 pounds of winter squash (wash well)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F/190*C/ gas mark 5.
  2. Halve the squash and scoop out the fibers and seeds in the middle. (you can save these, wash them off, dry and use them to plant more squash next year!)
  3. Cut the squash into ¾ inch slices (at the thickest part of each wedge).
  4. Place the butter and olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Pop into the oven and heat gently until the butter begins to foam. (about 5 minutes) Remove from the oven. Carefully add the squash slices, turning them to coat them in the butter/oil mixture. Pull the leaves from the thyme and scatter them over top, along with a goodly seasoning of salt and pepper.
  5. Return the squash to the oven and roast for a further 20 to 25 minutes, turning them every so often.
  6. Scatter the garlic slices over top and roast for a further 15 minutes until the squash pieces are soft and slightly caramelized.
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Roasted Winter Squash with Garlic & Thyme

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  1. Roasted squash is very, very good. I never peel the squash before or after I roast it as long as I slice it thinnly into half-moons. It's a pretty thin skin so we just eat it. It looks so pretty on the platter. Sage and onion dressing is my favourite, too. I must look up Mary Berry's recipe and see how it compares to mine. Enjoy your Monday. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. Thanks so much Elaine! I think you would like the sage and onion dressing. Its so delicious. I never made any other kind now if I can help it! I could eat it by the spoon full! I hope you had a great Monday! Love and hugs, xoxo

  2. I envy you being able to get all these lovely winter squashes. I'm here in Butternut land (and not always available at that). I particularly miss the beautiful Queensland Blue pumpkins I used to buy back home, as well as the variety of different pumpkins. It's not a vegetable that is eaten here.

    Unlike you, I loved squash as a kid, but mum often roasted it, so maybe that was the difference. She also made the most delicious soup from it, as well as pumpkin scones which we all loved.

    That said, this looks and sounds delicious - such a perfect balance of flavours.

    1. My mom used to boil most of her vegetables to death, that or we had canned vegetables. So none of us were overly fond of most vegetables I guess. I am intrigued at the thought of a Queensland Blue. I will have to look that up! Thanks so much Marie! xoxo


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