With Thanksgiving coming up, here’s a recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash featuring goat cheese, fresh thyme, toasted walnuts, and maple syrup. The combination is delicious and your family will love it.
When I was growing up, the only squash I ever remember my mom making was acorn squash. She always made it by cutting the squash in half horizontally, scooping out the seeds, then baking it upside down until it was soft. She would scoop out the flesh and add butter and brown sugar and mash it by hand. We’d have it with pork roast or chicken. Pretty simple to make.
The Roasted Squash Recipe
This roasted butternut squash recipe is a grown-up version with flavors that complement each other perfectly. The squash is sweetened with maple syrup. The walnuts add a nice crunch. The tangy goat cheese tames the sugar of the maple syrup and the fresh thyme adds beautiful flavor.
Butternut squash is low in calories but high in nutrients like vitamins A and C, and potassium. Also, it has a great, smooth texture. They are readily available in the fall and keep for a long time in a cool room.
Choose a squash that has smooth, even skin with no bruises or dark spots. When you pick up the squash, it should feel heavy for its size then you’ll know that you’re getting a good one.
Preparing the Squash
Use a knife to cut off the stem end. You can then use a knife or a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the skin. I use a Swiss peeler (#ad) as in the picture. They work great.
Butternut squash is easy to cut into cubes or slices once it’s peeled. Rock your knife back and forth to cut the thicker parts. Keep your fingers out of the way…the squash can be kind of hard to cut.
Cut the squash in half between the neck and the bulb. Then halve those two pieces vertically. Chop the butt end off and remove the seeds and fibers. Then cut the squash into 1/2″ slices.
Prepping the Squash for the Oven
Place the squash slices into a large bowl and add melted butter and salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil then place the squash in the pan in one layer. Place the sheet into the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the squash to the other side with a small turner.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can get the squash baking, and then prep the other ingredients and not feel rushed. Toast and chop the walnuts….strip the thyme leaves from their stems…measure out the maple syrup. Next, get your platter ready so you can serve this right out of the oven.
Drizzle on the maple syrup and top with chopped walnuts, goat cheese, and thyme.
And the flavor of the roasted butternut squash is unbelievable with the creaminess and tang of the goat cheese, crunch of walnuts and the sweetness of the maple syrup…and the slight bit of heat you get from the cayenne pepper. This is definitely a super kicked-up version of roasted butternut squash, worthy of your Thanksgiving table.
Keep your uncut squash in a cool dark location.
An uncut squash should last for 2 to 3 months when kept out of light and in a cool location.
It can be kept in a sealed container for 3 to 5 days refrigerated.
You can freeze both cooked and raw squash. Defrosted cooked squash may have some water which should be removed before using.
Serve this with your Thanksgiving turkey or it would be great with chicken, ham, or pork. I hope you try this with your family.
MaryJo and I thought this was delicious…we had it with baked chicken thighs and oven-roasted green beans. Triple whammy out of the oven and oh so good. Winner, winner, roasted butternut squash and chicken dinner.
Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe
- 1 butternut squash, 2 to 3 lbs
- 3 tbsp butter
- cooking oil spray
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, (big pinch)
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Peel the outer skin and light colored flesh from the squash, cut off the stem end, then cut into two pieces at the waist, (this will make it much easier and safer to halve the squash lengthwise).
- Halve the two sections, lengthwise and cut off the bottom end and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into 1/2" slices.
- Melt the butter, and put the squash into a large bowl. pour in the melted butter, salt and pepper and toss by hand to fully coat the pieces.
- Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet lightly with cooking oil, then lay in the slices of squash, preferably so that they are not touching. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the sheet around after 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and use a small metal turner to flip each slice to the other side. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender.
- While the squash is baking, mix the maple syrup and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Strip the leaves of fresh thyme off the stems. Toast and chop the walnuts. Crumble the goat cheese.
- Remove from the oven and layer the pieces on a serving dish then drizzle on the maple syrup, sprinkle with the walnuts, goat cheese and thyme leaves.
- Serve right away or at room temperature.
- Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated.
Here are some more great Thanksgiving recipes to try: