Roasted Butternut Squash Will Be Your New Favorite Pizza Topping

Butternut squash isn't just for puréeing into soup. It's also the perhaps unlikely topping that your homemade pizza has been crying out for. When it's time for potlucks, holiday parties, or other gatherings, home cooks are always looking for an economical, quick, and easy dish that'll please a crowd – and nobody's ever disappointed to see pizza on the food table. As its name suggests, this "buttery," "nutty" winter squash adds sweet-savory complexity to any pie, instantly elevating your go-to pizza crust recipe to the sophisticated echelon of "you made this?"

It works so well thanks to the squash's natural texture. This dense, starchy vegetable retains its moisture during roasting but doesn't get soggy, either — an ideal fit for a flavorful pizza topping. The most labor-intensive part here is cutting and peeling the squash. To cut down on prep time, you could also totally use frozen butternut squash, which can be found in the freezer aisle of many grocery stores.

To do it, roast your butternut squash in the oven as normal and slam it on your pizza before baking it (twice-cooked). You could also cube it or shred it with a fork for different textural aspects. For an extra impressive presentation, whip out your veggie peeler and slice that tender squash into ribbons before roasting it. If you go this route, keep in mind that you'll need to reduce the baking time to avoid overcooking the squash ribbons into mush.

Squash boring pizza toppings into the past

Keep the roasting simple to let the natural sweet-savory flavor of the butternut squash shine through. A light olive oil drizzle over the squash on the baking sheet gets the job done. You could also add in some complementary flavorful spices like garlic powder or red chili flakes to tailor the profile of the squash toward your pizza's savory palate. Or, for a sweet kick, you could try adding this maple-roasted butternut squash. The name of the game for making homemade pizza is "customization," and on that note, we've rounded up a few "pie-deas" (sorry) to get your brainstorm rolling.

You could whip up a flavorful vegetarian-friendly pizza with roasted butternut squash, fresh ricotta cheese, sage, and crispy shallots. Or, top it with squash, Swiss chard, and burrata for a brunch pie. To amp up the heartiness, try making a pizza with roasted squash, crumbled sausage, rosemary, fontina, and hot honey. You could also pair your butternut squash with roasted apples, bacon, and caramelized onions for a super autumnal profile. 

Gluten-free foodies, fear not — you could make a cauliflower pizza crust and top it with your roasted butternut squash, shaved pecorino, freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of high-quality olive oil. Roasted butternut squash pizza is a great way to incorporate more winter vegetables into your diet (or sneak a veggie past picky eaters). Plus, the ingredient also makes a killer excuse to swing by your local farmer's market before it closes for the season.