Crisp and both savory and sweet, these butternut squash chips are an irresistible snack. Made in a dehydrator, these are much healthier than conventional chips and skip the expense and grease of deep-fried versions.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste (optional)
- Cut off the round, seed-containing part of the squash and reserve it for another recipe. Cut off the stem end of the squash's neck. Slice off the thick skin.
- Cut the butternut squash into very thin rounds or slices. They should be almost transparent. You can use a mandoline, the slicing blade of a food processor, a vegetable peeler, or a knife (be careful!) to do this.
- Toss the squash slices with the oil, if using. Use your clean hands to separate the pieces and coat each of them with the oil.
- Arrange the butternut squash pieces on the trays of your dehydrator, making sure that none of the pieces are overlapping.
- Dry the squash at 145F/63C (the highest setting on most dehydrators) for 2 hours. Reduce the heat to 110F/43C and dry for an additional 8 - 10 hours.
- The squash chips should be crisp and curling up (like conventional fried chips), but still bright orange and not showing any signs of discoloration.
- They may not seem fully crisp while they are still warm: let them cool for 10 minutes with the dehydrator turned off. They will crisp up the way cookies do after they come out of the oven.
- If after the cooling off period they still aren't crisp, turn the dehydrator back on at 110F/43C and dry them for an additional 1 - 2 hours.
- Sprinkle the salt, if using, over the chips. Eat immediately or transfer, once cooled to room temperature, into airtight containers.
The chips will retain their crunch for up to a week, but can be stored for up to a month. If they start to lose their crispness, put them back into the dehydrator at 145F/63C for 15 minutes, or in a 250F/120C oven for 5 minutes.
Play around with seasonings in addition to, or instead of, the salt. Add a sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. Try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a savory, cheese-y flavor. Dried sage goes well with butternut squash. A pinch of curry powder is also good.
Try this method with other varieties of winter squash. Pumpkin and acorn squashes work well. Thinner fleshed winter squashes such as Delicata are tasty but don't yield as many chips for the same amount of prep time. The only winter squash that is a total no-go for chips is Spaghetti squash.