Fall definitely is my favorite season of all!
Even though the days are getting shorter, I just love how the air feels so much fresher and I can’t get enough of all the delicious, earthy aromas that it carries to your nose as it brushes past your nostrils. The beautiful vibrant yellows and reds and oranges that the leaves display – like so many jewels – are so pretty to look at, I could just stare at them for hours.
Apple trees are filled with delicious, juicy, crisp fruits, just waiting to be picked up by our eager hands, and consumed on the spot by our hungry tummies. While I’m not all that big on Halloween, apple picking would be my ultimate favorite thing to do in the Fall. And I can’t wait to go with this little one!
But really, what I like most about Fall is that it also happens to be squash season!!
I can’t believe that I used to hate squash when I was a kid… now that I’m all grown up, I get super excited as soon as I see them at the market and usually get carried away and buy way too many with each new visit.
Good thing is I’m also usually super inspired to turn them into all kinds of delicious dishes, like this amazing Candied Butternut Squash – with pecans and raisins.
Brace yourselves, I get the feeling that this is the first of MANY butternut squash dishes to come this season…
Seriously, I might not be the best person to say this because my love for squash knows no boundaries, but this brilliant side dish is so good, I’m convinced that you don’t even need to be a fan of squash to enjoy it!
You know how I haven’t been all that hungry lately, yet this dish I practically inhaled in just a couple of days. I had some of it, fresh out of the oven, with a side of Roasted Chicken, then reheated the rest to enjoy alongside a couple of pan fried eggs the next morning for breakfast, and repeated the experience the following day…
Really, this stuff is so delicious and so versatile, it goes good alongside practically everything, any time of day!
I mean, it is kinda sweet, but not overly so! Sure, the maple syrup and raisins definitely add a layer of sweetness to the already sweet butternut squash, but the pungency of the rosemary and buttery nuttiness of the pecans really balance things out.
You’re looking at a side dish that’s totally easy on the palate and that I am certain will be well accepted even by those who don’t (or think they don’t) care much for squash.
The hardest thing about preparing butternut squash would be the part where you have to peel it and cut it into little cubes. Lucky for you, I made a quick video to show you how to get this done super easily and efficiently.
Take a second to check it out, it’ll no doubt make your life a whole lot easier!
When you’re done prepping your butternut squash, preheat your oven to 425°F; also, line a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the butternut squash, raisins and pecans in a large mixing bowl
Add the rest of the ingredients to a smaller, separate bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk or fork until well combined; pour over the reserved squash.
Toss well, until all the pieces are evenly coated…
Transfer to the reserved baking sheet and spread the mixture in a single layer, then bake for 15 minutes at 425°F.
After that time, set the oven to broil and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until the squash and nuts start to caramelize.
Keep a close eye on things to make sure that nothing ends up burning on you! Under the broiler, this can happen FAST!
Once the squash has reached the desired color, remove it from the oven and immediately hit it with a light sprinkle of salt. Let it cool for a few minutes and then serve.
Like I said earlier, this is a fantastic and versatile side dish that goes good with just about everything and that’s also accepted well any time of day. It’s brilliant in the morning, alongside a couple of pan fried eggs, but would be equally delicious at lunch or dinner, right next to a juicy piece of grilled meat, roasted chicken or piled right over a nice piece of salmon.
Oooh, I don’t know about you, but my mouth is definitely salivating!
And THAT can’t be bad a bad thing…
- 1 medium butternut squash, cut into roughly 1" cubes (about 1kg / 2.2lb)
- ½ cup (65g | 2.2oz) organic raisins
- ½ cup (55g | 1.9oz) raw pecans
- ¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (you'll need about 2 sprigs)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F; line a 9" x 13" baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the butternut squash, raisins and pecans in a large mixing bowl;
- Add the rest of the ingredients to a smaller, separate bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk or fork until well combined; pour over the reserved squash and toss until all the pieces are well coated.
- Transfer to the reserved baking sheet and spread the mixture in a single layer, then bake for 15 minutes at 425°F.
- After that time, set the oven to broil and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until the squash and nuts start to caramelize. Keep a close eye on things to make sure that nothing burns!
- Once the squash has reached the desired color, remove it from the oven and immediately hit it with a light sprinkle of salt. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve.