I recently decided that I needed to roast my way through ALL the fall and winter squash varieties that I can find, and I’m kicking this series off with a super simple but super delicious one: Easy Roasted Honeynut Squash! This one’s been kissed by the warmth of butter, a dash of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and crowned with a drizzle of maple syrup. It’s like a cozy autumn hug on a plate.
Honeynut squash is a petite, sweeter variety of butternut squash, and it’s perfect for roasting to caramelized perfection. The addition of butter, salt, and cinnamon enhances its natural goodness, while that drizzle of maple syrup takes it to a whole new level of deliciousness. This recipe is a perfect side dish for any fall gathering (hi, Thanksgiving!) or a weeknight dinner, and it’s so easy to make that anyone can master it.
What is Honeynut Squash?
Although the shape and color look a lot like a butternut squash, honeynut squash is quite different. It’s a hybrid of butternut squash that was bred for more concentrated flavor, so it’s a much smaller and sweeter squash, with thinner skin that can be eaten. As the name suggests, it has a flavor profile that combines elements of sweetness and nuttiness. This natural sweetness becomes more pronounced when the squash is cooked. The sweetness can be reminiscent of sweet potatoes or butternut squash, making it a great choice for both savory and sweet recipes. After roasting, the flesh becomes super tender and sort of self-caramelizes – much like a roasted sweet potato.
A ripe honeynut squash will have an orange/tan skin. They turn from green to orange when they’re ripe, so look for one with the least amount of green streaking. They can last for 2-3 months from harvest when stored in a cool, dry place, but be sure to cook them as soon you can once the skin starts to wrinkle.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this Easy Roasted Honeynut Squash:
Honeynut squash – These cute little squashes usually weigh between 1/2 and 1 pound each. You can cut the stems off to make them easier to halve, but I tried to keep them on for looks.
Butter – I like to use butter instead of oil with these squash since it has the opportunity to start browning a little bit in the seed bowls. The flavor is just so good! Use salted or unsalted butter.
Maple Syrup – Honeynut squash already has pretty concentrated flavor and a good amount of natural sweetness, but I added a touch of maple syrup to help bring that sweetness to the forefront. This is totally optional, or you could use some brown sugar instead – just sprinkle it over the cut side of the squash before baking.
Salt – Don’t be shy with the salt! It really helps bring out the natural sweetness and flavor of the squash.
Cinnamon – Just a pinch of a warming spice like cinnamon or nutmeg will help channel those fall vibes and really push the flavor profile toward the sweet side.
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Easy Roasted Honeynut Squash Recipe
- 2 honeynut squash, halved and seeds removed, (720 grams)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, (1 oz)
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, (0.75 fl oz)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Line a quarter size baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Halve the squashes and scoop out the seeds. Rub a small amount of butter on the exposed flesh of the squash, then season with salt and cinnamon. Divide remaining butter evenly among the hollowed out sections of the squash.
- Roast at 425°F for 30-35 minutes. The squash should be fork-tender but not mushy. Remove squash halves to a serving dish.
- Dip a spoon into the butter in the seed bowl and spread the butter over the cut side of the squash. Drizzle squash with maple syrup. Garnish with pecan pieces and fresh thyme before serving, if desired.