This Roasted Honeynut Squash has a cornucopia of textures and flavors: bacon, cranberries, pecans, crispy shallots, goat cheese, and maple syrup. This easy side dish is perfect for any fall dinner or holiday.
These mini-butternut look-alikes are just about the cutest squash I've ever seen. And they are as sweet-tasting as they are cute. Roasted honeynut squash can simply be drizzled with maple syrup for a fuss-free fall side. But we're not going for simple here. I'm going to stuff this petite gourd with a cornucopia of flavors and textures.
What is honeynut squash?
Honeynut squash looks like a miniature version of butternut squash. With a similar shape to butternut, it's actually a cross between butternut and buttercup squash. It has vibrant orange flesh and is sweeter than butternut. This squash started appearing in my local supermarket about two years ago. Its smaller size makes it easy to work with and perfect for one or two servings.
How to roast squash
Preparing squash can seem a little daunting. Cutting larger squash in half can be tricky, but this smaller variety is much easier to handle.
To prepare, cut the squash in half, lengthwise (from stem to base). Using a sharp knife, start in the middle of the squash and slice down towards the base. Turn the squash around, and slice from the middle towards the stem.
Scoop out the seeds and any loose stringy membrane. Brush the flesh with oil (season with salt and pepper if desired) and place face-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
Do I have to peel the squash?
There is no need to peel the squash. The skin holds the squash together while it roasts. And, once roasted, the flesh scoops out very easily. The skin is also edible if you wish to eat it.
Cornucopia of flavors
This roasted honeynut squash is delicious as is, but we're going to stuff it with wonderful flavor and texture. Bacon, cranberries, pecans, crispy shallots, goat cheese, and maple syrup add a mix of salty, sweet, tart, tangy, and crunchy.
- bacon - I love the salty, meaty bite. If you'd like a vegetarian option, simply omit the bacon.
- cranberries - slightly sweet, slightly tart. and a little chewy. Dried cherries work great too.
- pecans - toasting the nuts enhances their flavor. Walnuts or pistachios are delicious too.
- shallots - saute the shallots in the bacon drippings until golden and crispy. These are absolutely addicting! Make extra to allow for nibbling! These crispy shallots are perfect on top of a burger.
- goat cheese - I love the tangy creaminess. If you're not a goat cheese fan, feta is a great substitution.
While the squash is roasting (see above), prepare the toppings. These ingredients can be prepped in the time it takes the squash to roast - and we're going to do it with just one skillet for easy clean-up.
- Toast the nuts - add the nuts to a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, tossing occasionally, for 2-4 minutes until the nuts are fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a cutting board. Cool and chop.
- To the warm skillet, add the bacon. Cook over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the shallots to the bacon drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. The shallots will continue to crisp as they cool.
- When the squash is done, transfer to a serving plate, cut side up.
- Top the squash with the pecans, bacon, cranberries, shallots, and goat cheese. Drizzle with the maple syrup. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. I highly recommend adding the thyme. Its aroma and flavor in this dish are just beyond!
As a main dish, serve one squash per person. As a side dish, one squash serves two people. If serving as part of a holiday meal alongside other side dishes, figure one squash for four people. Roasted honeynut squash pairs well with almost anything - beef, pork, poultry, or fish.
More squash recipes you may enjoy
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Pancetta
- Spaghetti Squash with Creamed Spinach and Pancetta
- Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage Brown Butter
- Sausage, Butternut, and Gruyere Quiche
Roasted Honeynut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans and Bacon
- 1 honeynut squash
- 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or similar)
- ¼ cup pecans
- 2 slices bacon (cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 1 shallot (sliced)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise. (Note 1) Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Brush the cut side of the squash with the oil and place, cut side down, on the prepared pan.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes until soft and tender.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, add the pecans. Heat, tossing occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board. Cool and chop. Set aside.
- To the same skillet, add the bacon. Cook over medium heat until brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
- Add the shallots to the bacon drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are brown and crisp. Transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Transfer the roasted squash to a platter. Top with the pecans, bacon, cranberries, shallots, and goat cheese. Drizzle the maple syrup over the top. Garnish with fresh thyme. Serve immediately.
- To cut the squash in half, lengthwise (from stem to base): using a sharp knife, start in the middle of the squash and slice down towards the base. Turn the squash around, and slice from the middle towards the stem. The squash does not need to be peeled. The skin helps to hold the squash together during roasting.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.