This Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans is like dinner and dessert in one dish! It makes the perfect Thanksgiving side dish because it can be made ahead and kept warm until you need it. What makes it so delicious? Fried pecans, spiced with cinnamon and clove, mixed with caramelized squash and drizzled with maple syrup, orange juice, and zest. Scatter the dried cranberries like rubies over this colorful and crunchy side dish. If you want to take things to the next level, slightly salt the pecans for that ultimate sweet and salty crunch.
Why Make This Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans?
It includes butternut squash. Need I say more? Once you get over the hurdle of peeling and cutting this hard squash, you fall in love. If you are really pressed for time, you can often find pre-cut squash at the grocery store. Butternut squash is so versatile; it can be used to make delicious soups, a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, and even risotto. It’s hearty and naturally sweet, and no one will even notice that it happens to be low in calories and packed with vitamins.
This recipe has so much going on between the spice, citrus, and sweetness, so you may feel unsure about how to creatively reuse the leftovers. It turns out this Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans makes a ridiculously good salad.
Roughly dice up your leftover squash and toss it with arugula, baby spinach, and goat cheese. The crunch of the pecans with the sweet squash, spicy arugula, and creamy goat cheese makes this salad the hero of Thanksgiving. What about dressing? Take some cranberries, garlic, and a shallot, and pulse them until everything’s finely chopped. Then, add Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper and pulse until smooth.
Although I think this Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans makes a perfectly acceptable fall dessert, you might want some more healthy Thanksgiving-inspired dessert inspiration. Check out this Pumpkin Cheesecake or this Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt. Want to stretch the limits of Thanksgiving dessert beyond the humble pumpkin? I don’t know why you would, but okay! How about Cardamom Pecan Pie or Slow Cooker Bananas Foster.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Spiced Pecans
- 1 large butternut squash peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries chopped
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the butternut squash cubes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt together. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
- While the squash roasts, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the pecans. Sprinkle the nuts with cinnamon and clove. Toast, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned at toasty. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Remove the squash from the oven. Add the pecans to the squash and drizzle with the syrup, orange juice, and zest. Stir well to coat the butternut and pecans in the juice and syrup. Serve hot.
Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Take a look at our fun Guide to Creating a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table!