In my mind, no Thanksgiving table is complete without something orange on the table, whether that be sweet potatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash. And if you’re searching for that perfect orange side dish, then look no further than this roasted butternut squash with pecans, cranberries and maple syrup!
It’s simple to make and packed with delightful autumnal flavours and warm spices that it’s welcome at any meal – not just for a major holiday!
Roasting the butternut squash until it’s tender and caramelised and then topping with some browned butter, pecans, dried cranberries and maple syrup works perfectly and the flavours all blend really well together. Once you may this recipe, it’s sure to become a favourite way to prepare this squash.
So if you’re looking for an impressive side dish that really stands on its own, this is sure to be the butternut squash of your dreams!
Butternut Squash with Dried Cranberries, Pecans & Maple Syrup
You’ll start first by prepping your squash. If you’re making this for Thanksgiving or for a special occasion meal, this is a great step to do a few days in advance – just keep the prepped squash in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel and any white pith from the flesh of the squash. Then, split the squash in half width-wise.
Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and discard. Then, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the squash into half-moons that are about 1 centimetre thick.
Moving on, add your prepped squash to a large mixing bowl. Melt a bit of unsalted butter (I prefer to use unsalted butter to be in complete control of how much salt is added to the final dish) and pour it over the squash. Also, add in a few warm spices.
This is a bit of a sweet-salty dish and the warm spices really add something special. I like to add a bit of ground cinnamon and ground allspice.
I also recommend grating a bit of whole nutmeg (don’t buy preground nutmeg – it loses its flavour incredibly quickly). Of course, also make sure to season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss this all to combine and then arrange the slices on a baking tray. Try to make sure that each piece of squash is flat against the bottom of the pan and that nothing is overlapping. This will encourage optimal caramelisation and flavour in the finished squash.
Roast your squash in a hot oven (220°C) until it’s very tender and there is little to no resistance when you prick it with a fork – about 20 to 25 minutes. You will notice that the squash is very golden brown and smells fantastic once it’s done!
While you roast the squash, it’s time to put together the topping. So first, you need to brown your butter. We’ve discussed how to do this in my banana bread recipe and the process is the same regardless if you’re using it in sweet or savoury applications.
Add some butter to a small saucepan and set it over medium heat. Melt the butter and keep an eye on it as it starts to foam.
Once you see the foam begin to dissipate, you will notice that the milk solids begin to toast and smell nutty.
Remove the butter from the heat once it has the appearance of vanilla seeds settle at the bottom.
To the browned butter (off heat) add in some unsalted pecans that have been toasted and roughly chopped along with some dried cranberries. Then, stir in a bit of maple syrup and stir everything together to combine.
Once your squash is done, take it out of the oven and transfer it to a serving dish. Then, pour the pecan, cranberry and brown butter mixture over the butternut squash, ensuring everything is evenly distributed. Give the squash a bit of a taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Now all there is left to do is serve and enjoy!
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, split, seeds removed and cut into half-moons about 1/2 (1cm) thick
- 4 tablespoons (50g) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 cup (100g) pecan halves, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (50g) dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a large mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons (25g) melted butter, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, a generous few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until the spices are evenly distributed over the squash slices.
- Spread the squash over a large baking tray with the flat sides facing down ensuring everything is evenly spaced. Move to the oven and roast until the butternut squash is tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally, until it begins to foam, the foam dissipates and the milk solids begin to brown and it takes on a pleasant, nutty aroma, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the pecans, cranberries and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
- When the squash is done, transfer it to a serving dish and pour the pecan mixture over it, ensuring even distribution. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This butternut squash with cranberries, maple syrup and pecans is the perfect side dish for a special occasion. Using lots of warm spices and flavours found in a holiday meal, it’s the perfect way to enjoy this delicious winter squash!
Are you searching for a great roasted butternut squash recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!