This hasselback butternut squash with maple brown butter is a fun and flavourful side dish that is perfect with your Sunday roast, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or any special occasion. Simple to make, it looks a little fancy and is a bit of a show-stopper side dish in my opinion!
Sides are always an important aspect of my plate! If you love them too, then you may like to see my sweet potato wedges with paprika and tropical mango coleslaw. Both work perfectly with so many hot and cold dishes!
A vegetarian, gluten free and a low histamine recipe, this easy hasselback roast butternut squash works perfectly alongside meat, fish or plant-based dishes.
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Why this recipe is so good
- It's easier than it looks to do! Honestly, as long as you have a sharp knife, work slowly and do the spoons trick (more on that below!), you can make this fun vegetarian side dish.
- Versatile - it can work as a side dish for your Sunday roast, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner or other holidays. Or just a Tuesday night if you're feeling fancy . . .
- The brown butter sauce is full of flavour - this herb butter is quick and easy to make, and really elevates the dish.
This is a simple vegetarian side dish, with a fairly short list of ingredients. You will need:
- Butternut squash: I suggest a small to medium size squash. Choose as fresh as you can, with smooth not wrinkly skin.
- Butter: this is a brown butter hasselback butternut squash, and the butter forms the basis of the dressing / marinade.
- Sage: the 'big' herb flavour of the brown butter sauce. Adjust the quantity to taste preference.
- Rosemary: always goes so well with roasted squash and other vegetables.
- Maple syrup: adds an indulgent touch of sweetness.
- Olive oil: to roast the squash, you want a touch of oil. I use the Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and pepper: to season, the black pepper is optional if on a low histamine diet.
Step by step instructions
Making this hasselback butternut squash with sage is quite simple. It requires a bit of prep with peeling the squash, but then you essentially just roast the squash and make the brown butter to drizzle over it.
Begin by preparing the butternut squash. Cut lengthways so it is cut into two pieces. Then peel, and remove the seeds with a spoon.
Drizzle olive oil over the squash and season with salt and black pepper (if using). Roast in an ovenproof dish lined with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes (20 minutes if your squash is on the larger side).
Once you are able to handle the squash (be careful - it will be hot coming out of the oven!), place on a chopping board with a spoon or chopstick either side.
Make cuts into the butternut squash, horizontally, a couple of mm's apart. The spoons or chopsticks will help prevent you from slicing all the way through.
Melt the butter in a pan to make your brown butter / herb butter sauce. Heat gently for a few minutes so the butter starts to foam and bubble and gives off a nutty aroma (a bit more foamy than the photo below). Stir continuously until the butter turns light golden brown, and then add the sage and maple syrup.
Return your butternut squash to your baking pan and spoon over about three-quarters of the brown butter and sage sauce. If you can, use a spoon or tip of a knife to push some of the herbs into the cuts in the squash.
Add some rosemary sprigs around the squash.
Roast, and then add the remaining herb butter. Use a spoon to (carefully!) spoon over any melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Roast for a further 15 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender.
Frequently asked questions
The key tip for making hasselback squash is to place either wooden spoons or chopsticks either side of the squash. Then slice down, and they will prevent you from cutting all the way through. Don't use your best spoons as they may get little cut marks in them!
I suggest using a pastry brush, small spoon or the tip of a knife to 'push' the brown butter into the cuts of the butternut squash as best you can. That way the flavour will be in the middle of the squash and not just as a marinade on the outside.
Yes of course! Brown butter lends itself quite nicely to sage, but you could also use thyme.
More tasty sides to enjoy
Hasselback butternut squash with maple brown butter
- Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Halve the butternut squash lengthways and remove the seeds. Peel the squash so you remove the white layer and the orange flesh can be seen. Drizzle olive oil over the entirety of the squash and season with salt and pepper (if using). Bake for 20 minutes (15 minutes if your squash is smaller).
- Remove from the oven and once cool enough to handle, place on a chopping board. Place a wooden spoon (or chopsticks) either side of the squash and then make horizontal slices into the squash. Go as deep as you can without piercing through the bottom of the squash. The spoons should stop you from slicing right through.
- Melt the butter in a pan to make your brown butter / herb butter sauce. Heat gently for a few minutes so the butter starts to foam and bubble and gives off a nutty aroma (a bit more foamy than the photo above). Stir continuously until the butter turns light golden brown, and then add the sage and maple syrup.
- Place your squash back on the baking tray, so it is cut-side up. Spoon about three-quarters of the melted herb butter over the squash, and if you can, try and push some of the butter and herbs into the cuts in the flesh with a small spoon or the tip of a knife. Add a couple of rosemary sprigs to the tray. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and spoon over the remaining butter. Bake for a further 15 minutes or until the squash is tender (cook time will vary slightly depending upon the size of the squash).
- Use spoons or chopsticks either side of the squash to help prevent slicing all the way through.
- Push the herbs and sauce down into the squash with the tip of a knife or small spoon.
- Adjust the amount of herbs and maple syrup to taste preference.
- black pepper, which scores 2.