Sweet Soy Butternut Squash

with hot chili oil

Hello ladies and gentlegerms. I hope that everyone had a great weekend because mine was pretty epic. I definitely indulged a bit more than I’d usually allow myself, but it’s okay every so often, isn’t it? Don’t answer that. Anyway, we got things going a little early on Thursday night with Mexican food and margaritas, accompanied by plenty of guacamole. I would have been plenty happy with just that, but we were able to score a reservation at The Smile, thanks to our friends Matt and Amanda. I had wanted to check it out for a while, but I had always wandered into Mile End for a smoked meat sandwich before I could sit down at a table with a tablecloth for dinner. The meal was fantastic. We had minted snap peas, marinated goat cheese, beet cured salmon with ricotta, fresh dill and rye, mussels in a lemongrass and coconut milk broth, Moroccan meatballs, and cous-cous with raisins and pistachios. I’m still thinking about that beet cured salmon. Next time I go to The Smile, I am just going to order three of them and stuff myself silly. We had great cocktails, too – they made a mean old fashioned and a lovely mezcal cocktail that was just the right amount of smoke. We finished the meal with coffees (I had some excellent espresso) and rhubarb-strawberry pie with fresh whipped cream. Not too bad for a Friday night dinner, is it? Amanda even got me a copy of Modern Mediterranean, which is the cookbook by The Smile’s chef Melia Marden. I am going to have to borrow their grill later this summer to make the crispy little grilled sardines that are featured in the book, among other things. Getting a new cookbook is always so exciting – there are so many possibilities, I love reading about the inspiration behind various dishes, and, of course, I tend to lose myself in the beautiful photos. I’m getting to the point where I need to figure out where to put the rest of my cookbooks, as my shelves are overflowing at the moment, but that’s not stopping me from acquiring more. My dad’s coworker even sent me three Chinese cookbooks that you can’t get in the United States – I can’t wait to break those in, either.

Sweet Soy Butternut Squash

Tom’s baby mask is the creepiest and coolest thing ever.
On Saturday, we slept in a bit, got dressed, then headed out to brunch in Long Island City at The Ale Wife with a bunch of friends for brunch. The deal at this place is that for $25, you get an entree and unlimited drinks from 12-3 PM. Well, we were sold! I ordered a big, delicious Irish breakfast, complete with beans, tomatoes, blood pudding, fried eggs, and sausage, then proceeded to drink my $25 worth of draft beers and prosecco. It was just what the doctor ordered. We were even able to sit out on the deck in the sunshine on a beautiful 70-degree day – it really doesn’t get better than that. We headed back to our friend Valerie and Tom’s apartment after brunch to enjoy their roof, play some card games, and sip on some margaritas. We stayed outside until the sun went down and it got chilly, then wandered down to the water for Maryland-style crabs and peel-and-eat shrimp at The Waterfront Crab House, which is one of our favorite restaurants despite its old school appearance. The staff is a little gruff and nobody is trying to add any flair or style to the food’s presentation, but that doesn’t matter because the crabs are plentiful and tasty, the shrimp is spicy and juicy, and there are always big baskets of garlic bread to go around.

Sweet Soy Butternut Squash

By the time we got home on Saturday night, we were absolutely exhausted, but in the best way possible. On Sunday, we slept and slept, watched some movies, napped, and ordered in Indian food for dinner because I couldn’t even be bothered to toil away in the kitchen. We’ve all had those days. It was nice to just relax on the couch and do nothing (except, of course, update the blog and prepare for my demo on Wednesday). Last Sunday, though, I cooked a big meal for dinner (the rest of which is to come), which included this sweet soy butternut squash. Whenever I make butternut squash (which is often when it’s in season), I feel like I always do it the same way – olive oil, herbs, maybe a bit of pepper flakes. I figured that squash is on its way out until we find ourselves in September or October again, so I wanted to do something different. Kecap manis is one of my favorite ingredients; it’s a thick, sweet Indonesian soy sauce that tastes good on just about anything. I like to put it on my eggs, but if that’s not your thing, it’s fantastic when paired with tender butternut squash. I used a dash of sesame oil and some hot chili oil for a punch of flavor, all of which is an unexpected take on my favorite kind of squash. You can use sweet potatoes or acorn squash or anything that’s similar to butternut, but we all know that butternut’s the best, isn’t it? Break outside of your roasted veggie shell with a sweet soy sauce mixture that pairs well with whatever you’re having for dinner that night.

Sweet Soy Butternut SquashMe being super pumped for brunch.
Sweet Soy Butternut Squash
A perfect Saturday ending in dozens of Maryland style crabs.

Sweet Soy Butternut Squash
Dice your squash, toss it in your soy sauce mixture, and roast at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until tender.

Sweet Soy Butternut Squash
Sprinkle with crushed pepper flakes and scallions, then serve warm.

Sweet Soy Butternut Squash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 as a side
Roasted butternut squash tossed in a mixture of sweet soy sauce and chili oil.
  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce - if you don't have it, replace it with regular soy sauce and double your agave or honey)
  • 2 tablespoon regular soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • red pepper flakes, for garnish
  • sliced scallions, for garnish
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and set aside.
  2. Peel and cube your squash, scooping out and discarding the seeds. Place the squash on your prepared baking sheet. Whisk together your kecap manis, soy sauce, olive oil, honey, chili oil, and sesame oil and toss the squash in it. Place the squash in the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and sliced scallions, then serve warm.


12 Responses

  1. Anthony says:

    Okay, that baby mask is going to give me nightmares, tonight. Meanwhile, this butternut squash looks delicious. What main course would you pair it with?

  2. I had to look twice when I saw the baby face mask in your photos. I was like pretty, pretty WHOA…

    This reminds me the chilli eggplant dish my mother use to make for me as a child. I love love to cook this when pumpkins are in season, then serve it over a bowl of soba. Yum Yum

  3. Holy moley…I totally thought that baby head was real until I started reading the post…haha. What an interesting looking friend you have! So happy you had a fun weekend – this recipe is lovely!

  4. Tieghan says:

    Geez, that thing is creepy! LOL

    Butternut squash is my favorite! Seriously, I eat it at least once a week!! This look so yummy!

  5. Yea, the baby mask wins creepiest thing I’ve seen so far this week. Sounds like an awesome, amazing and perfect weekend. Color me jealous. Squash looks great too!

  6. Your weekend sounds PERFECT. Is it bad that I now want a margarita?

  7. Trish says:

    this sounds fantastic!! just when I was looking for something to do with my 3 remaining butternut squash. I have a serious addiction to soy sauce. I used to consume about a quarter of a bottle a day on veg until I became an old lady with high blood pressure.

  8. Cindie says:

    Oh my goodness, that mask is frightening!

    This recipe looks delicious though, and really easy to make. Will definitely be saving it!

  9. I want to come to NY and spend a weekend with you. It always sounds like you have so much fun!

  10. […] minutes until the skin was a deep, golden brown. I then finished the duck off in the oven with my sweet soy butternut squash and spread some of the chimichurri on top. The dish came together so well and I was really happy […]

  11. Nancy says:

    I just made this as a side to your delicious bacon-wrapped pork chops. So good!

  12. […] a little kick to your squash this year with this Sweet Soy Butternut Squash with chili […]

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