This Stuffed Honeynut Squash recipe is one of the prettiest, most unique and delicious Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Really, it's lovely for any meal during the fall and winter.
My mom used to set the table a couple of weeks out for Thanksgiving. (No joke.) And she'd begin caramelizing onions for the stuffing one week out. The whole house would smell amazing! 🙂
It's always a good time to caramelize onions. Let's jump into this delicious dish, shall we?
What is Honeynut Squash?
- Honeynut squash are mini Butternut squash.
- These winter squash are about ½ to ¾-pound each, just a few inches tall, and have a super delicious sweet flavor.
- Honeynut squash have only been around since about 2007, and in Farmers Markets since about 2015.
- You can read about the (brief) history of the Honeynut squash here.
- They are in season typically September through November.
I fell in love with them at first sight. Really, I had to create a Honeynut Squash recipe!
Please remember to stop and admire the beauty of your ingredients.
This recipe is perfect for either a side dish, or a beautiful first course.
It's simply a stunning recipe for any occasion. It exudes warmth and bursts with seasonal flavors.
Not only will these darling Honeynut squash dress up the table -- but, they're also packed with a unique blend of ingredients, ranging from sweet and spicy to buttery and rich to tangy and earthy.
What's in the Filling?
- cayenne pepper
Is your mouth watering? 😉
How to Cook Honeynut Squash
Preheat the oven to 425°F
Wash and dry the squash, and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds, and place them, round side down on a sheet pan.
Drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Flip the squash over.
Roast until the thickest portion of the squash is very tender, about 30 minutes. A fork should slide in and out very easily
(Stuffing instructions and more detailed roasting instructions are below.)
Altering this Recipe For Special Diets and More
You can certainly make changes to this Honeynut squash recipe . . .
Vegetarian. Omit the bacon. Start with olive oil for the sautéing process instead.
Vegan. Omit the bacon and cheese. Start with olive oil for the sautéing process instead of the bacon.
Don't like Roquefort? Try it with a cheese you love. Gruyère, Asiago and Pecorino Romano would also be delicious.
Want to use frozen cranberries? Do it. Just be sure you thaw and drain them of any excess liquid first.
Can you use Butternut squash? You can absolutely make this with butternut squash. Each half of a Butternut squash will obviously hold more of the stuffing than a Honeynut, and should therefor be sliced into serving portions once it's cooked.
Where can you find Honeynut squash?
When they're in season, which is typically late September through November.
You can usually find Honeynut squash at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco and at your local Farmers Markets.
Can you make this ahead?
- Yes you can make 90% of this recipe ahead.
- 2 days ahead: Make the stuffing minus the cheese. After it's cooked, let it cool completely, and refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before adding it to the squash.
- 1 day ahead: Roast the squash. To do this let them cool completely, wrap each half individually in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Take them out of the refrigerator an hour before assembling them.
- about 15 minutes before serving: Add the stuffing to the squash, add the cheese, and heat in a 375°F oven for about 10 minutes.
I hope you'll serve this awesome Honeynut Squash recipe for Thanksgiving, or anytime.
Stuffed Honeynut Squash Recipe
- 6 (approximately ½ pound each) Honeynut squash
- olive oil for the pan and for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
- 3 strips bacon
- 2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (frozen and thawed is okay)
- 1½ cups fresh spinach leaves washed and dried, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F and adjust a rack to the center. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Prepare the squash. Wash and dry the squash, and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and any stringy membranes with a spoon, and place them, round side down on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the squash generously with olive oil and then sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar. Turn them over, round side up, on the sheet pan.
- Roast the squash. Roast in the preheated 425°F oven until the thickest portion of the squash is very tender, about 30 minutes. (A fork should slide in and out very easily.) Remove the sheet pan from the oven, set aside, and turn the heat down to 375°F.
- Cook the bacon. While the squash is roasting, place the bacon in a large sauté over medium heat. Cook until it's golden and crispy, a few minutes per side. Set it aside on a double layer of paper towels to drain.
- Make the filling. Add the onions and garlic to the pan. (If there isn't a thin layer of bacon grease in the pan, add a bit of olive oil.) Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cloves, cayenne and cranberries. Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until the cranberries are soft and broken into small pieces, about 15 minutes. (If the cranberries are soft but not broken, you can help them along with a fork.) Add the spinach and cook until it's wilted, about 2 minutes. Crumble the bacon into tiny pieces and add it to the sauté pan. Stir and then season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Fill the squash. Turn the squash halves over, so the opening is facing up, and evenly divide the mixture among them, filling each one as much as possible. Now use your fingers to break the Roquefort into tiny pieces, and evenly distribute it on top of each one.
- Bake. Place the sheet pan in the preheated 375°F oven and heat just to melt the cheese and bring the flavors together, about 6 minutes. Serve!
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Oh, Valentina, this post was pure click bait, from the title to the photos. Can't wait to try it! (PS, Roquefort, is that still a thing??) 🙂
I love to have something be "click bait!" Thank you. Enjoy! Oh, and Roquefort is definitely still a thing! 🙂
Clever use for the cute little squash. GREG
Thank you, Greg!
Wow that is a very interesting recipe to try on a weekend! Thank you so much for coming up with such a lovely combination of tasty ingredients!
Thank you so much! Hope you try it!
You make the most fabulous vegetable side dishes - seriously, how lucky is your family?
Oh, you are very kind David. Hopefully they think so too. 😉 xo
David Scott Allen
I’m thinking that, minus the bacon, this will be a great vegetarian entrée for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, our Trader Joe doesn’t seem to carry them…
Yes, lots of possibilities to change it up. Bummer about the honeynuts not being at TJ's. You could ask if they might get them -- I only started seeing them at ours about 2 weeks ago. You can also do this with a wedge of a butternut. 🙂 ~Valentina
Igor @ Cooking The Globe
One of the most awesome ideas I've seen lately. This squash is fantastic and tastes amazing too.
Thank you! I hope you try it and love it as much as I do. 🙂 Happy Holiday season!
This looks amazing V!! So so perfect fr fall .. I totally get you about stopping to admire the produce. It IS like stopping to smell the roses indeed!
I love when people get that. Thank you! Enjoy! 😀
Another new recipe winner for my "save" list. I absolutely love the idea of adding caramelized onions!
Thanks so much! Hope you love it. 🙂
This looks and sounds out-of-this-world delicious! Oh, they're beautiful too. Basically, this is recipe perfection! What a perfect dish for the holidays! XO
You are so kind, Sarah. Thank you! Happy Holiday's and enjoy! 🙂
Wow Never heard of the honeynut squash! Sounds awesome! Need to find these. As you say they must be great as a sidedish. Those regular butternut squashes tend to be a lot at the side of some meat when grilling. I would really like to try these!
Thanks so much for checking out my recipe! 🙂 Hope you find them near you and try it.
John @Preppy Kitchen
I don't do the bacon (any substitution ideas?) part but caramelized just about anything is amazing and this is such a fun spin. Thanks for sharing!
Hi John! You can skip the bacon and it's still delicious. I actually served it both ways, as I had a few vegetarians over when I tried it. 🙂 You can maybe use some smoked salt for seasoning instead of regular, to add a bit of the smoky flavor. Enjoy and thanks!
Not a fan of bleu cheese, so I will be sprinkling some grated Asiago and Romano cheeses on top instead. Can't wait to try it!
Aisago is a great idea. It will be delicious! Enjoy! 🙂
Did you try this with asiago? I’m curious how you liked it as I’m not a fan of blue cheese either but the rest of this sounds amazing and I have a few of honey nut squash waiting to get in my belly!
Hi Susan, I haven't tried it yet with Asiago, but I do think it would be delicious. I also think Gruyere would be lovely. Thanks for writing in and I hope you love it! 🙂 ~Valentina
Hi Valentina! I'm planning to dive into this recipe with a couple of changes...let me know what you think...I would like to change the Roquefort to Feta. Also, I have some little pie pumpkins that I've been decorating with and would like to now eat them! Those would work in the same way, don't you think? Thanks for the beautiful photos! Cris
Hi Cris! So nice to hear from you. I think of you and Tom/the Pepper Project every time I turn my pepper mill. 🙂
Both of the changes you want to make to the Honeynut recipe sound great. This filling is great with almost any orange winter squash. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. ~Valentina
Sadly I have not seen such small pumpkins in our supermarkets but butternut pumpkin is certainly available. I do like your stuffing with its spices and the cranberries which again are not very commonly used locally. Would love to see how the marriage twixt the berries and Roquefort cheese tastes . . . and there is only one way to find out 🙂 !!! As naturally we do not celebrate Thanksgiving may try to stuff another vegetable with the same mixture . . .