Winter squashes are, to me, the chicken of the vegetable world. They’ve got a nice flavor, but are a mostly blank slate that’s delicious with lots of different seasonings and preparations. They can be sweet, savory, or spicy. They can be diced and roasted, added to soups and pureed, or baked into desserts. As an added bonus, you can even eat the seeds!
This maple pecan butternut squash recipe was born out of a desire for a savory/sweet mix. It’s easy and delicious. It works great as a side for dinner, but I prefer it for breakfast on cold winter mornings!
Roasting Winter Squash
The most common types of winter squash are acorn, butternut, and spaghetti. I love cushaw squash, but it’s a bit harder to find. All of the winter squashes are great roasted.
Sometimes, especially when I’m using a really large squash, I peel and dice them before roasting. They also cook faster if they’re chopped up, so if I know I’m going to be busy around dinner time I do a little prep work earlier in the day. I’ll chop them up and then season and roast them while I’m working on the rest of dinner.
More often, I just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast them with the skin on. Scooping out the flesh after they’re cooked is so much easier than peeling and chopping beforehand.
The most obvious choice for roasting is the oven of course, but recently I’ve enjoyed using my multi-function air fryer for it. I especially like using this method when I’m roasting the squash for breakfast or when the rest of the meal will be made on the stove. No sense in turning on the oven if I don’t need to.
Sweet and Savory Maple Pecan Butternut Squash
To make this squash I use the cut-in-half-and-roast method. First, bake it upside down in a baking dish with a little water in it. While it’s cooking, mix together chopped dates and pecans in one bowl and maple syrup and melted butter in another.
Next, flip the squash over, fill it, brush it with the syrup/butter sauce and cook it some more. Finally, brush it with the rest of the syrup/butter sauce and cook it until it’s nice and soft. Serve and enjoy.
There are instructions for the dice and roast method in the notes below the recipe. Also, feel free to mix up the dried fruit to suit your preferences. I’m sure it would be equally delicious with dried cranberries or raisins.
More Tasty Winter Squash Recipes
I truly have made winter squashes in a lot of different ways over the years. Here are some of our favorites:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Chicken Carbonara over Spaghetti Squash
- Lemon Pepper Cushaw Squash
- Loaded Sweet Potato Soup – I know sweet potato isn’t a squash, but I use winter squash in this recipe as well so the soup is not so sweet
- Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash
- Pumpkin Pie Spiced Squash
- Pumpkin Soup
- Sausage Stuffed Winter Squash
- Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats – dinner and an art project all rolled into one!
- Bacon Butternut – this one’s not mine, but how can you go wrong with bacon, garlic, and Dijon mustard?
Maple Pecan Butternut Squash Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
- Place the squash halves facedown in a shallow baking dish. Add about an inch of water and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, melt the butter or coconut oil in a small bowl. Whisk in the maple syrup and set aside.
- Chop the pecans and dates into equal-sized pieces before transferring them to a bowl and set aside.
- When the 30 minutes is up take the squash out of the oven, remove it from the bakind dish and pour out any remaning water.
- Return the squash to the baking dish face up. Brush each half generously with butter/maple sauce and sprinkle with salt.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Stuff the center cavity of the squash with the pecan/date mixture.
- Drizzle with the remaining butter/syrup sauce and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
- Remove and enjoy.
Do you like to stuff winter squash? Do you like sweet or savory? What’s your favorite combination?