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Butternut Squash Recipe from The Naughty Gourmet Traffic School

Roasted butternut squash

A few years ago I got a traffic ticket for running a stop sign. First, I want you to know, I never intentionally run stop signs. I don’t even roll through them. Being a frequent pedestrian, occasional runner, and generally a decent person who does not wish to kill or even frighten others, I do have respect for stop signs. So I was taken completely by surprise one day when, driving through a sleepy residential San Francisco neighborhood with no other humans or cars in sight, I suddenly heard the sickening half-bleat of a pissy police car’s siren right behind me. I don’t doubt that I had driven through the stop. I do doubt that it was clearly visible. Given that I am not a deliberate scofflaw, and this was not a bustling thoroughfare requiring heavy patrolling, and there was apparently a stealth police car waiting right there at the intersection in question…well, I’ve always suspected the cops might have been filling their quotas with the help of an overgrown sign-obscuring tree, or something like that. (It didn’t occur to me to check until later, and I never did go back to do so.) Or maybe I was just driving like a jerk! Who knows.

Anyway, here is where I almost start to get to the point. At around this same time, my dear friend Betsy had had an unpleasant encounter with a left turn lane and she’d gotten a ticket too. So naturally, we both decided to do online traffic school, together, at Betsy’s house, with hors d’oeuvres. I’d never been so excited about punishment! We picked a time, planned our menu, and counted down the days. And thus was born the “Naughty Gourmet Traffic School.” The traffic school part was actually way more challenging and irritating than we had anticipated—but the food was divine!

So today, from the Naughty Gourmet archives, I share with you Betsy’s Spiced Butternut Squash recipe. It pairs perfectly with any kind of online testing. As we all know, peeling, seeding, and cubing butternut squash can be a hassle, so feel free to use pre-cubed squash, like naughty and lazy gourmets do.

Spiced Butternut Squash

Peeling, seeding, and cubing butternut squash can be kind of a hassle, so feel free to use pre-cubed squash, like Lazy Gourmets do.


  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 - ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups (about 1½ pounds) peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and sugar in a small dish.
  3. In a large bowl, toss squash with the oil and spice mix until coated.
  4. Arrange squash in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven, stirring once or twice, until squash is tender and starting to brown (40 to 50 minutes).


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By on May 16th, 2011

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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5 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Recipe from The Naughty Gourmet Traffic School”

  1. This is THE cutest confession I have ever heard. So much to be learned at naughty-girl school. I went once and loved it. But to work in hors d’oeuvres is a stroke of genius.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Just found you via a newsletter from our local bookstore in downtown Pleasanton, where you will be soon! Eagerly exploring the blog and hoping to make it down that night. They were nice enough to do a book thing for me several years ago when Digital Dish came out, a/the first collection of food blog writings that made it into print.

  3. A better way to be lazy (without committing seppuku) and not pay premium veg prices for pre-cubed anything: microwave the butternut squash in big chunks if it’s ripe enough or whole if it’s too hard to cut. About 10-12 minutes on HIGH in a dish with a quarter inch of water and either some microwaveable plastic wrap or a big microwaveable bowl over the top to steam it. It’ll cook most of the way if not all, and it’s a lot easier to cube or scoop the cooked squash from the shell–it also beats peeling. Though you might need asbestos fingers to handle it if you’re impatient like me. Fry the amount you want with the spices, garlic, onion, whatever–it’ll brown them in a few minutes without heating the whole house.


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