This Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Walnuts is the ultimate holiday and fall-inspired side dish. It's easy to make, unique, and a great alternative to traditional mashed butternut squash.
If you love butternut squash, then you need to try this Maple Roasted Squash with Apples. The sweetness of the apples, the crunch of the walnuts, and caramelized butternut squash are a dreamy combination.
Truth time. I have never ever made a Thanksgiving turkey. To be honest, the idea of it kind of petrifies me since I have read way too many articles and blog posts about dry, uneventful, flavorless turkeys. While you may be expecting this post to be about overcoming my fear and finally making a turkey, it's not.
Instead, it's about how every year I volunteer to be in charge of side dishes like today's maple roasted butternut squash and apple dish.
I have one other ulterior motive when volunteering for side dishes and it has to do with trying to stick to some semblance of a healthy diet during the holidays. While my personal philosophy isn't to track holiday meals, I do like to try to make healthier choices.
If I know I can load up my plate with healthier side dishes like today's fall-inspired roasted maple squash dish, then I can balance out more indulgent dishes or desserts. It's all about balance on the holidays and letting myself enjoy the meal while also feeling good about my choices.
What You'll Need
- Butternut squash: This nutty, slightly sweet winter squash is the main ingredient in this recipe. It gets browned and caramelized when it is roasted. Look for a small to medium-sized butternut squash for the best flavor. The peel is edible, especially when roasted, but I prefer my butternut squash peeled so I always recommend peeling it before cooking.
- Apples: This recipe works with almost any apples but heartier apples that bake well like Gala, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith are the ones I use the most often.
- Maple syrup: To bring out and enhance the sweetness of the butternut squash and apples, maple syrup is the perfect ingredient. Honey would work as well.
- Walnuts: This dish is so good with some crunch! Walnuts work great but you could swap in pecans, almonds, cashews, or seeds.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: To balance the sweetness in this dish, it needs some acid as well. Apple cider vinegar complements the flavors in the apples and squash, but you could also use balsamic vinegar or even lemon juice.
- Thyme and Parsley: To brighten up the dish and add some herbal flavors, thyme and parsley is the perfect combination. Rosemary would also be delicious.
Recipe Tips and Ideas
Here are some fun ideas and tips to make the most of this recipe.
- Use two sheet pans if needed so that the pan isn't overcrowded. This is critical to get those brown, crispy, caramelized edges.
- This dish is delicious without maple syrup if you want something without added sugars.
- Play up the fall flavors with some cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, turmeric, or even some curry powder.
- To add a savory element to this dish, add sliced red onions or shallots.
- Finish this dish with tons of bright flavors by drizzling it with some homemade chimichurri.
- If your home is nut-free, leave out the walnuts or replace them with some roasted pumpkin seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about making this roasted butternut squash recipe.
Butternut squash has fibrous and tough skin so it is best to peel it before roasting. This can be done using a sharp vegetable peeler. You can also loosen the skin on the squash by piercing it with a fork and microwaving it for 3 minutes. Then cut off the two ends and carefully peel.
Technically speaking, the skin is edible so you can also leave it on if you choose.
This dish can be made in advance and then reheated in the oven to serve. Since roasted vegetables soften when they are prepped in advance, I recommend undercooking them slightly and then finishing them right before serving.
Sure! This recipe works great with or without the apples. It could also be made with pears or cranberries if you prefer.
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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