Creating this hasselback butternut squash recipe
This dish was inspired by a year-old recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. You’ve heard of hasselback potatoes, right? They were all the rage a few years back. It’s this idea of creating layers in food (initially potatoes) where you can build flavors from the inside out and manipulate the texture during the cooking process into something… new. Bon Appetit featured a hasselback butternut squash with bay leaves and, until now, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind.
I’m just gonna say it: my version is better. I stuffed the squash with thinly sliced garlic cloves and fresh sage leaves (my absolute favorite herb). The glaze, which is brushed on the squash during roasting and then poured lovingly over the finished product, is laced with bourbon. You’re welcome.
But to contrast all those naturally sweet flavors, I made a savory panko topping, crushed some spicy pecans on top (Trader Joe’s!), and finished it off with tangy goat cheese. If there is a more perfect side dish for fall, I challenge you to share it with me.
What’s in this hasselback butternut squash?
I’ll admit, the ingredients list for this hasselback butternut squash is a bit lengthy. But I pinky promise the end result is worth it!
To make the hasselback squash itself, you’ll need butternut squash, olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh sage leaves, and fresh garlic.
For the apple cider glaze, you’ll need unsalted butter, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, more fresh sage and garlic, cinnamon, and a splash of bourbon.
Rounding off this truly phenomenal hasselback butternut squash is the crunchy panko topping. To make it, you’ll need panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, olive oil, spiced pecans, scallions, and goat cheese.
How to make hasselback butternut squash
To make this hasselback squash recipe, you’ll first need to halve and peel the butternut squash. Scoop the seeds out, then rub it all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash in a baking dish until it’s just beginning to soften.
Transfer the squash to a cutting board and cut rounded slices of squash cross-ways. The goal is to cut as deeply as possible without going all the way through the squash. Return squash to baking dish, then stuff with sliced garlic and fresh sage leaves.
Baste the squash with the apple cider bourbon glaze, then roast until tender. (You’ll need to baste the squash every 10 minutes).
Sprinkle the panko topping over the hasselback butternut squash in the last 5 minutes of baking, then return it to the oven until the topping is golden brown.
Can I use regular breadcrumbs?
Technically, yes. However, I highly recommend using panko breadcrumbs if possible. Panko breadcrumbs make for a lighter, crisper topping.
Can I omit the bourbon?
If you don’t drink alcohol, you can omit the bourbon if needed. But note that the alcohol cooks out of the glaze, and imparts a rich flavor.
Tips for making hasselback butternut squash
You must use fresh sage in this hasselback butternut squash recipe. Dried sage won’t work in this recipe and will result in the wrong flavor and texture.
Also note that you should use pure maple syrup in this recipe, not pancake syrup. Pancake syrup is mostly corn syrup — don’t use it.
This hasselback butternut squash is best enjoyed immediately, as the topping loses its crunch over time.
If you make these Hasselback Butternut Squash, please let me know by leaving a review below!
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For additional butternut squash recipes, check out the following:
This post was originally posted in November 2017 and has since been updated.
Sage and garlic hasselback butternut squash with apple cider bourbon glaze
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 10-12 sage leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
For the glaze
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 8 large sage leaves
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
For the topping
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup spiced pecans (crushed (Trader Joe's, but you can use regular toasted pecans tossed with ¼ teaspoon cayenne))
- 2 scallions (thinly sliced)
- ⅓ cup goat cheese (crumbled)
- Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425 F. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Using a peeler, remove skin and white flesh below (you should read the deep orange flesh). Rub all over with oil; season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a baking dish just large enough to hold halves side by side until beginning to soften (a paring knife should easily slip in only about ¼”), 15-18 minutes.
- Combine butter, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When butter has melted and sauce begins to boil add sage, garlic, and cinnamon, then cook for 5 minutes. Add bourbon and cook for another minute, then turn the heat down very low.
- Transfer squash to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, score rounded sides of squash halves crosswise, going as deep as possible but without cutting all the way through. Return squash to baking dish, scored sides up, and tuck sage leaves and thinly sliced garlic between a few of the slices; season with salt and pepper.
- Roast squash, basting with glaze every 10 minutes or so and using a pastry brush to lift off any glaze in dish that is browning too much, until tender and glaze forms a rich brown coating, about 45 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, combine panko, parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly on top of both butternut squash halves. Return to oven and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, just until panko has browned. Top with crushed pecans, scallions, and goat cheese. Serve immediately.