Pesto Butternut Squash with Oats

I’ve been hanging onto the right time to share this recipe and in doing so, I fell into spring. So consider this my last winter recipe. From here on out it’s all asparagus and strawberries. However, I wanted to share this recipe just incase you happen to have one last lonely squash hanging around.

This is a riff on a sandwich I had but instead of sandwich form, I tossed everything into a grain bowl with oat groats. I don’t use whole oats enough. Their flavor is a bit more than other grains but can be perfect for adding a touch of warmth to the overall meal.


Pesto Butternut Squash with Oats

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings


An easy and delicious whole grain butternut squash salad with fennel and pesto. A great side dish or picnic salad!


½ cup uncooked oat groats

1 ½ pounds butternut squash

½ medium fennel head

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons homemade or store-bought pesto

Vegetarian parmesan, for serving


  • Heat a pot over medium-low heat. Add the oat groats and toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the oats with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the oats are tender; 45 to 55 minutes.
  • While the oats are cooking, peel and cut the butternut squash into ½” cubes and the fennel cored and chopped into ½” sized slices. Place on a roasting pan with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat. Roast until the squash is tender; 30 minutes or so.
  • When the oats and squash are done, place together in a bowl along with the pesto. Toss until everything is well combined. Grate parmesan on top before serving. Serve warm or save and place in the refrigerator to serve as a cold salad.


Tips + Tricks: You could make this recipe ahead of time by cooking the oats and roasting the squash. If you want to serve it warm, gently reheat the grains and stick the squash back in the oven until warm.

Use up leftover items: oat groats, butternut squash, fennel

Pesto Butternut Squash


Vegan: Drop the cheese from the pesto and the topping.

Sweet Potatoes: Swap out the butternut squash for sweet potatoes.

Grains: Use any hearty grains in place of the oat groats. Farro, Spelt, or sorghum are my top choices for replacing the oats.