Recipe – Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Red Onion, Spinach & Orzo

Now that the weather is changing, I’m feeling nostalgic for childhood things like walking to school on misty, damp mornings with the smell of wet golden leaves all slick on the pavement, of bonfires and chrysanthemums – and the carpet of windfall apples that littered the lawn, far more than we could ever eat so they ended up as compost. Anyway, I’m now craving something with loads of autumn flavors and color.

Butternut squash, apples and maple syrup make me think of fall; add a few fresh herbs, onion, spinach and some really good olive oil and you have a side dish that would be excellent served with roast pork or poultry and one that also works very well on its own.

Buy ready-prepared butternut squash if you’re really pushed for time but it doesn’t take long to do it yourself and it’s more economical.

You can prepare the vegetables ahead of time but don’t add the apples until you’re ready to stick it in the oven –  the spinach and orzo pasta go in at the very end.

The dressing would also go very well with a simple salad of mixed greens, toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts), dried cranberries and crumbled soft goat cheese.

Warmed-up leftovers with a poached egg on top is pretty darn good too.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Onion, Spinach and Orzo

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Onion, Spinach and Orzo


(Serves 4-6)


2.5lb (1.2k) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch (3cm) chunks

1 medium-sized red onion, peeled with some root left attached and cut into eighths

2 apples (braeburn, pink lady, honeycrisp or English cox) peel left on, cored and cut into eighths

1 tablespoon of runny honey

A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off the stalks and chopped

A few fresh sage leaves, chopped

4 bay leaves, preferably fresh

2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil

5 oz (150g) of dry weight orzo pasta

7 oz (200g) of ready-washed baby spinach leaves

Sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing –

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic, crushed


Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

butternut-orzo-salad-005In a large bowl, toss the butternut, apple, onion and fresh herbs with the honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Arrange in an even layer in a roasting pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and tinged with brown here and there, stir everything around about halfway through.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo pasta according to instructions so that it’s ready and drained at the same time the squash comes out of the oven.

Take the vegetables out of the oven and add the spinach, tossing it around until it wilts. (Put it back in the oven for a minute or two if it’s resisting the wilt).

Stir in the orzo, transfer everything to a warm bowl then add the dressing, giving it a good toss before serving.


About edibletcetera

I'm passionate about food; I cook, photograph, eat...then writes about it in that order. I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and caterer; a former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
This entry was posted in Salads & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s