Butternut Squash Is a Winter MVP
Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter vegetables, and for a good reason! The flavor is sweet with layers of nuttiness, making it perfect for oven-roasting, soups, and even ravioli. Whole squash can last up to three months when properly stored, making it ideal for bulk purchases when on sale. If you took advantage of post-thanksgiving markdowns and are looking for some new recipe inspiration, a few added ingredients can create a transformation.
It's Time to Give Butternut Squash A Glow Up
While plain butternut squash is an excellent side dish for dinners, a variety of recipes on hand lends to flavor diversity. That’s especially true around the holidays when it’s a frequently featured menu item. Adding extra ingredients can bring the flavor to the next level, and they don’t have to be complex, either! Cranberries, pecans, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon create depths of flavors your family will love. And best of all, only one pan is required for cooking, meaning you can spend less time washing dishes. If you’re looking for an easy butternut dish packed with flavor, this recipe is for you!
The Flavors Added
- Butternut squash is the star of this recipe, creating a nutty base flavor and a slightly denser texture than a baked potato. Select a medium-sized squash weighing about two pounds. You can also purchase pre-cut squash. Choose a package that weighs between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 pounds (or 24 to 28 ounces), compensating for removing the skin and seeds.
- Dried cranberries add layers of tartness and additional sweetness without breaking down as fresh cranberries would.
- Pecan halves add crunch and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with roasted notes.
- Unsalted butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon create a sauce with notes of sweetness and spice that, as it cooks, absorbs into and enhances the other ingredients.
- 2 lb. whole butternut squash
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut it in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Dice the squash into one-inch cubes, and set aside.
- Place a large cast iron (or another oven-safe) pan on a stovetop over low heat. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Increase the heat to medium-low, stirring as the sugar and cinnamon melt. Once the sauce begins to simmer, remove it from the heat.
- Add the butternut squash, cranberries, and pecans to the pan. Fold the ingredients to coat evenly with the butter sauce.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a fork or knife easily pieces the butternut squash. Remove and serve immediately.
- Nutrition facts are calculated by WP Recipe Maker using an AI generator. Nutrition information will vary based on the brands and ingredients selected. The nutrition information is a general guide.
- When selecting whole butternut squash, select squash with smooth skin, no soft spots, and an even color. When ripe, butternut squash will turn amber or orange in color. Avoid picking squash that has gouges or cracks in the skin.
- When shopping for peeled or cubed butternut squash, avoid packages with pieces that are not firm or appear mushy or slimy.
- If you don't have a cast iron or other oven-safe pans, heat the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepot. Add the squash, cranberries, and pecans to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Bake according to the recipe instructions above.
Leftovers of this recipe may be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to three days. Before transferring, I like to stir the squash, cranberries, and pecans to redistribute the sauce. As this recipe cools, the sauce will sink to the bottom. Without mixing, single portions will have more sauce than others. For more extended storage, this recipe may also be frozen!
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the squash to the lined baking sheet and spread it in a single layer.
- Place the tray into a freezer.
- Once frozen solid, transfer the squash to a freezer-safe container. To make reheating portions easier, you can divide the squash into single-serving containers.
- For the best flavor, use frozen butternut squash within six months of the frozen-on-date.
Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Pecans Tips
- When selecting whole butternut squash, select squash with smooth skin, no soft spots, and an even color. When ripe, butternut will turn amber or orange in color. Avoid picking squash that has gouges or cracks in the skin.
- When shopping for peeled or cubed squash, avoid packages with pieces that are not firm or appear mushy or slimy.
- If you don’t have a cast iron or other oven-safe pans, heat the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepot. Add the squash, cranberries, and pecans to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Bake according to the recipe instructions above.
Whole Butternut Squash Storage Tips
If you purchase bulk squash for storage, the following tips will help extend the life of your vegetables.
- Choose squash with the stem attached. If the stem has broken off, the exposed flesh will increase the rate of squash spoilage.
- Store winter squash in a root cellar or other area that is dark and cool. Avoid areas where the squash will be exposed to light or moisture.
- For the longest shelf life possible, the ideal temperature of your storage area should be between 50° and 55° Fahrenheit.
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