Roasted butternut squash with sticky-sweet maple walnuts, orange, cinnamon, and crispy sage. This showstopping side will be become an instant favorite on your table this holiday season.I’ll be honest, I never get overly excited about a lot of traditional Thanksgiving food, but WHOA baby did this recipe change that. I am fully anticipating half of my plate being this side dish and not apologizing for it. (The other half will likely be kale salad and biscuits, because #balance.)
I know sweet potatoes are usually the starchy star on such holiday, but I bet your table is big enough to fit two humble orange vegetables. Plus, you can never have enough beta-carotene, amiright?This holiday-worthy recipe starts with cubes of butternut squash (buy pre-cubed to make your life easier!) roasted with a trio of spices (smoked paprika, cinnamon, and ginger) and finishes with a sticky-sweet maple walnut topping embellished with hearty sage and an invigorating hit of citrus. Butternut squash browns beautifully when roasted, enhancing its sweet, nutty flavor.
The maple syrup compliments the sweetness of the squash, while sage and smoked paprika give the dish a savory backbone. If you and your family appreciate a kick of heat, you can substitute the smoked paprika for a pinch of cayenne pepper. Walnuts add rich taste and crunchy texture, plus a hit of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (a key nutrient you typically won’t find in abundance among standard Turkey Day fare). Just please save the marshmallows for the spuds.
This recipe masters the balance of sweet and savory with the perfect accents of smoky, earthy flavor. I’m kind of going nuts over it (pun intended) and I know your tastebuds will too.Plus, can we agree that Thanksgiving is all about the sides? Let’s celebrate fall’s bounty deliciously. Cheers!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Candied Walnuts and Sage
- 5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon divided
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika divided
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice from 1 orange
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss squash with oil, salt, 1/4 tsp. of the cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of the smoked paprika, and ginger. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
- Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. (do not burn!). Add maple syrup, orange juice, sage, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and smoked paprika. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until syrupy, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Arrange roasted squash on a platter. Spoon walnut mixture over squash.