Oven Roasted ((Brown-Sugared)) Butternut Squash with Bacon and Fresh Herbs
If all sides were judged solely for appearance, this one would be the all around winner. I mean really, can there BE a prettier side dish ((said in the best Chandler Bing voice ever)). The color of the herb seasoned butternut squash, coated in a light brown sugar crust & adorned with beautiful crispy bright red bits of sweet and salty candied applewood smoked bacon – this dish SCREAMS “Serve me at your Thanksgiving AND Christmas Feasts!! ((please))”.
Keeping it simple allows each ingredient to shine perfectly while, at the same time, supporting each other to achieve new flavor heights. This recipe’s a family thing, so it seems – all for on and one for all, ha! Perfect for Thanksgiving!
Can you tell I liked this one?
Here are the few things you need to know to make this side dish a success in your home:
- Select a butternut squash that has a large round seed end ((it will yield more of the pretty rings when cut))
- Wash, rinse and dry the outside of your medium-sized butternut squash before cutting ((using warm soapy water))
- Prepare the baking sheet with butter and then line it with parchment ((the brown sugar may ooze under the parchment paper when it combines with the bacon grease – and this extra step will make cleanup easier))
- flip the squash halfway through cooking to ensure even browning
- fresh herbs are the secret weapon that take this dish to the next level, don’t leave them out ((you can use sage or parsley if you don’t have chives and thyme))
I estimate one butternut squash will serve 4 to 6 people. This is an easy recipe to double or half depending on the number you will be serving. If reducing the serving size, just slice half of the squash and bag (and refrigerate) the remaining for another use.
One of my favorite parts of actual recipe making is no peeling required! Really, butternut squash is one of the hardest things to peel EVER. Leave the peel on and allow your guests to remove while eating. It’s no big deal!
- 1 butternut squash, washed and patted dry
- 4-5 slices of high quality applewood smoked bacon
- 3-4 T chopped fresh chives
- 10-15 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed
- 2 T brown sugar
- s & p to taste or (McCormick's Montreal Steakhouse Seasoning Blend)
- Preheat oven to 400°. Grease with butter and line a baking sheet (half sheet size) with parchment paper.
- Slice the butternut squash into 1/2" rings. Once you reach the seeds, stop and scoop them out. Chop bacon into 1/2" chunks. Lay the squash slices out on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with herbs (reserving a T of each for the other side), scatter bacon evenly over the squash, top with 1 T of brown sugar and season.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven, turn rings over & top with remaining herbs, brown sugar and season again.
- Bake for 15-18 additional minutes. When brown sugar caramelizes, the squash is cooked through & the bacon is crisp, remove and serve immediately.
- *Depending on the size of your squash, you may need to increase the other ingredients proportionately. This recipe is intended to fill one half-sheet in a single layer.