The seeds inside a butternut squash are absolutely edible. Butternut seeds are comparable to pumpkin seeds in that they are usually harvested from the flesh, cleaned, and roasted before eating. Eating butternut seeds is a great way to reduce waste in the kitchen while making a quick, healthy snack.
Winter squash such as butternut or pumpkins have fairly large cavities inside that hold numerous seeds. While the cavity and number of seeds in butternut squash are generally not as large as in pumpkins, the yield is usually significant enough to justify the time spent cleaning a roasting the seeds. To get to the seeds, simply cut off the base and stem end of the butternut squash to create a sturdy surface. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop the seeds and membranes out of the cavity with a spoon and place them in a bowl of water.
Soaking the seeds in water helps facilitate removing any flesh or membranes that are stuck to them. After soaking, run the butternut seeds under water and pull away any remaining flesh or membranes. Then, dry the seeds by placing them in a single layer over some paper towels until any excess liquid is gone.
At this point, the butternut seeds are technically ready to eat. The seeds can be consumed raw, and in fact proponents of raw diets commonly eat them this way. Some people, however, may find the seeds hard and difficult to chew or digest in their raw state.
Roasting butternut seeds is one of the most common preparations. The cleaned seeds are coated with cooking oil and any number of possible seasonings, placed in a single layer on a sheet pan, and roasted in the oven. Seeds are finished roasting when they are golden brown and emit a strong nutty aroma. Alternatively, the butternut seeds can be dry toasted in a skillet on the stove. Simply turn a dry skillet to medium heat and add the butternut seeds, stirring frequently until toasted.
Eating butternut seeds is a good way to introduce fiber and protein into the diet. An ounce (28g) of butternut seeds is approximately 150 calories before oils or seasonings are added. The same serving size contains an impressive 7g of protein and 13g of heart-healthy fats. Seeds can be eaten plain as a snack, sprinkled over greens as a crunchy salad topping, or added to cereals or granola. Additionally, butternut seeds can be incorporated into casseroles, rice or grain dishes, or stuffings.