Autumn is finally here, and it’s time to enjoy the rich colors of the changing leaves. I’m one of those people who always gets a bit nostalgic in October because that means it’s Thanksgiving season! This year I want to share with you a delicious side dish recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s Butternut Squash with Apple Pecan Stuffing!
Butternut squash is a common Thanksgiving side dish, and it’s so easy to make. I usually cook my butternut squash in the microwave or on the stove top before adding some of your favorite spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. For this recipe though we’re going to do something a little different – we’re going to cook our butternut squash in the oven with a little olive oil and apple juice instead.
This dish is great because it combines both my favorite autumn flavors – apples and nuts! The stuffing part of this recipe comes from two sources: one being homemade bread cubes, which take on that perfect crispiness when they get mixed with browned butter and chopped pecans, and the other being an egg mixture that we’ll pour over top of our cooked butternut squash.
A word about the ingredients:
-Apples: The tart flavor of apples balances the sweetness of this dish. You can use any type, but Granny Smith are typically a good choice because they hold their shape well when cooked and don’t get too mushy like other varieties may do.
-Pecans: Pecans add texture to the stuffing as well as give it some much needed protein and dietary fiber! They also help keep things moist while in the oven.
Instructions on how to make Butternut Squash with Apple Pecan Stuffing recipe:
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds from each with a spoon or melon baller if you have one available. Wipe it down with some olive oil, salt and pepper then place skin side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
-Bake for 30 minutes until softened (it is important not to over cook). Remove from heat when done cooking and let cool so that it isn’t too hot to handle before handling any further instructions below!
Step One: Assemble apple pecan stuffing ingredients by chopping an onion, apples, celery stalk and pecans using either your hands or a knife–whatever feels best at the time.
-In a bowl, mix the onion and apples together in one part of the bowl while in another small saucepan over medium heat sauteeing celery stalk with some more olive oil until softened.
-In a third smaller frying pan toast pecans by cooking on low for about three minutes to char them slightly then turn off the stovetop and add back into mixing pot with other ingredients. Add salt, pepper (to taste), sage leaves from fresh sprigs or dried ground sage if you don’t have any on hand as well as crumbled butter pieces to coat before letting it cool down enough so that it doesn’t melt when added to your squash mixture below!
Step Two: Scoop out the middle of your squash by either using a spoon or your hands.
Step Three: Fill with stuffing mixture and top off with more butter for some extra flavor!
- You can substitute the apple for persimmon, pear, or dried apricot; and the pecan for walnut.
- You can use white onion instead of red.
- Omit celery leaves if you do not have them handy because they are used to add a little spice to this dish; substitute apples for persimmons, pears or dried apricots; omit walnuts if you’re using white onion.
- Serve this dish with a salad and bread or rolls for an easy Thanksgiving meal, or serve it as a side dish to roast turkey.
- The squash can be cooked ahead of time up until the point when you are ready to add the stuffing mixture; use leftover butternut squash in soup recipes that call for pumpkin puree.
- If making this Butternut Squash recipe specifically for Thanksgiving dinner:
- Measure out all ingredients beforehand so your cooking doesn’t turn into a chaotic whirlwind (unless chaos is what you want). Make sure all surfaces are clean before starting any preparation – nobody likes scrubbing pots after they’ve been baked on by boiled vegetables!