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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