Savory butternut squash and mushrooms studded with sweet-tart dried cranberries is a perfect holiday side dish. Make it in the oven or in the air fryer!
The recipe below includes oven and air fryer directions, but I definitely prefer making this recipe in the air fryer.
If you've never roasted vegetables in your air fryer, you are in for a treat! The butternut squash and mushrooms cook in about half the time that it takes in a regular oven, and the results are tender and so flavorful.
Start by making the quick blender dressing by blending up olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. Toss that with diced butternut squash and quartered button mushrooms.
If you're baking, spread the squash and mushrooms onto a lined baking sheet, and bake. To air fry, transfer to your air fryer basket and cook until browned on the edges and tender on the inside.
When the squash and mushrooms are done cooking, toss them with dried cranberries and chopped green onion.
Serve this up as a healthy holiday side dish or even as the veggie star of a weeknight meal. It's that quick and easy to make!
Tips for success
This dish is super simple to make and very hands-off, once you're done prepping. The prep is pretty simple, though you do need to do a careful job with the squash.
The key to this recipe is prepping your squash properly, so the pieces will cook through evenly. Here's what you need to be sure to do:
- Peel it thoroughly. Butternut squash skin is thick, so your vegetable peeler may not get all of the skin off on the first swipe. Keep peeling until the outside of our squash is the same, vibrant orange as the inside with no green strips visible. Any tough skin will stay hard in the air fryer.
- Dice it well. The recipe calls for a ½" dice, and that is important. What's even more crucial, though, is that you keep your pieces relatively uniform in size. Otherwise, the larger pieces will not cook through, and I don't want you to have undercooked squash!
If you're new to working with butternut squash, it's really not hard, but it can be a bit time-consuming. Make sure to peel thoroughly and dice evenly, and you'll be in good shape.
To save time and effort, you can often find pre-cut, fresh squash at the grocery store. It's normally in the same section as the other pre-cut veggies.
The pieces may be a bit bigger than you need, but it's much faster to cut those down to size than to start with a whole squash.
This recipe will not work with frozen butternut squash. I have tested it with frozen several times, and it always turns into a mushy mess.
How to serve and store
Need some ideas for what to serve with air fryer butternut squash? Try some of these holiday faves!
It also makes a great addition to a salad! This squash recipe is the base for my hearty butternut squash kale salad.
Any leftover squash and mushrooms will keep for three to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can serve leftovers hot or cold.
Butternut Squash and Mushrooms Recipe
- 4 cups diced butternut squash - You're going for ½" pieces. A 2-pound squash should do the trick.
- 8 ounces button mushrooms - stemmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil - You can substitute another tablespoon of maple syrup or use spray oil, if you prefer. Just spray after transferring the mixture to the basket.
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- ¼ cup chopped green onion - green parts only
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- If you're baking, preheat the oven to 400° F.
- In a large bowl, combine the squash and mushrooms. Set aside.
- Combine the olive oil (if using), soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, and garlic in your blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the squash mixture, tossing to coat well, then transfer to your air fryer basket. If you're opting for spray oil, this is when you'd spray to coat. Make sure you're not using an aerosol sprayer, as this can damage your air fryer basket. Instead, use a manual spritz bottle to spray on the oil.
Air fryer directions
- Cook at 400° F for 20-30 minutes (see note), shaking every 5 minutes, until the squash pieces are browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Spread the squash mixture on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the squash is browned on the edges and tender on the inside. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your squash pieces and how browned you want it.
Assemble the dish
- Toss in the green onion and dried cranberries, and serve.
- Air Fryer optional
Frequently asked questions
I do not recommend using frozen squash in this recipe. It just turns to mush.
You can! Replace the oil with an extra tablespoon of maple syrup.
As long as you choose gluten-free soy sauce, this recipe is gluten-free as written.
I love this as a holiday side dish. Try serving it up with your favorite veggie loaf and a side of mashed potatoes. It's also great on top of massaged kale.
It usually takes around 20 minutes at 400° F. It can take longer, depending on the size of your pieces and the size of your air fryer.
Yes, definitely. The peel on butternut squash is pretty thick, and it won't cook to a good texture.
If you have a nonstick air fryer basket, do not put aluminum foil or use metal utensils in it. Treat it like a nonstick pan.