Hasselback Butternut Squash is a beautiful and delicious vegetarian side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. This Hasselback squash recipe is half roasted for easy slicing, then basted with maple sage brown butter and roasted again. It’s fairly simple to make, but is impressive looking enough for the high holidays!
Listen you guys, I’m not in the business of telling people what to do, but I’m going to need you to do this: Hasselback Butternut Squash.
A few years ago my friend Kellie posted a recipe for Maple Pecan Hasselback Butternut Squash, and I thought it was so beautiful and so fancy looking I’d surely never make such a thing. I think I waited a full years to make it, which makes me a damn fool because it’s much, much easier than it looks.
Now Hasselback Squash has become a regular part of my holiday menu. I’m offering up my own riff on this easy and delicious recipe, with the divine nectar of the gods known as brown butter.
If you haven’t had browned butter before ohhhhhhhhhmg are you ever in for a treat. If you have had brown butter before you already know what’s up so just give me a fist bump and start browning.
We’re going to balance the nuttiness of the butter out with a bit of maple syrup, and festive up the whole situation with some fresh sage leaves. The whole thing comes together in a vegetable side dish that you will not believe you made.
It’s so, so, so, so good. And I promise you, the whole hasselback situation isn’t nearly as much of a hassle (see what I did there?!) as you think it might be. Follow the step-by-step instructions below and you’ll have this beauty on your table without even breaking a sweat.
What do I need to make hasselback squash?
The ingredients list is short and sweet! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Butternut squash –> A nice medium-sized one will do.
- Butter –> For browning. So good. I die.
- Maple syrup –> Just a touch of the good stuff.
- Sage –> I used fresh sage leaves but dried is also A-okay.
- Salt and pepper –> As we do.
How do you make hasselback butternut squash?
I’ll talk you through the steps, but rest assured it’s all in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. So just sit back, relax, and see how it’s done.
Get started by slicing your squash in half, scooping the seeds out, and peeling the skin off with a vegetable peeler.
Next we’re par-roasting the squash. This will make it MUCH easier to slice all those thin slices into it than attempting to hasselback a raw squash. If you value your fingers, do not attempt the slicing without roasting first.
Rub your squash halves with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and nestle into an oven-proof baking dish. You’ll roast the squash for about 15 minutes at this point.
It should still be quite firm, but you shouldn’t have much trouble slipping the tip of a sharp knife into the flesh.
Do ahead: you can par-roast your squash up to a day ahead of making the hasselback squash.
How to make brown butter
While the squash is pre-roasting, make your brown butter!
Add your butter to a small saucepan and place over medium heat to melt. Once melted, continue to simmer on the heat, swirling often.
The butter will get a bit foamy, this is normal. Continue to simmer the butter, swirling often, until it gets nutty and fragrant and a nice deep brown colour.
Transfer the butter to a small bowl to cool slightly; discard the sediment at the bottom of the pot.
Pro tip: choose a saucepan with a light coloured bottom so you can keep track of the colour of the butter as it browns.
Do ahead: the butter can be browned a day in advanced and re-heated if necessary.
How to slice a hasselback squash
The trick to hasselbacking squash (or hasselbacking anything, for that matter) is to make thin, uniform slices that go about 3/4 of the way through.
Since we’ve already par-roasted our squash, the slicing will be much easier. The other trick I like to use is lining up a wooden spoon on either side of the squash to act as guides for the knife. This will ensure you don’t accidentally slice all the way through.
I also recommend starting your slicing at the thinner, more stable end of the squash and finishing with the wider, hollow end which will be a bit tricky.
Return the sliced squash to the baking dish and repeat with the other squash.
Whisk the brown butter together with maple syrup and finely chopped sage leaves. Using a silicon brush, liberally brush the squash with this mixture, trying your best to ensure it dribbles between all the cracks.
Place the baking dish back into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes, until soft and golden. I like to kind of baste the squash with the maple brown butter mixture once or twice during the roasting time.
Remove the squash from the oven, let cool ever so slightly, and serve.
(I’ve read some recipes that suggest you should transfer the cooked hasselback squash to a pretty serving dish before serving. This is insanity. Serve it in the dish you made it in, for the love of all things good and pure.)
Can I make this dish in advance?
You sure can! You can prepare the components in advance, like par-roasting the squash and making the brown butter, and then slice, baste, and bake when you’re ready.
Alternately, you can make the whole thing in advance, cool and keep in the fridge until you’re ready, and then simply re-heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes when you’re ready to serve.
Can I make vegan hasselback squash?
Yup. Just replace the brown butter with 2 Tablespoons of olive or coconut oil.
How long will leftover squash last?
You’re looking at a window of 3-5 days if stored in an air-tight container in the fridge. You could certainly freeze leftover squash and give it a new life as a soup in the future, or mash it up and put in a sandwich.
Can I hasselback other things?
You bet you can! You can of course do the classic Swedish Hasselback potatoes. My friend Christine does Mini Hasselback Fries, which are cute and delicious!
You could also hasselback beets, carrots, parsnips, or really any root vegetable.
What have you tried to hasselback?
Is butternut squash healthy?
Oh dear me, yes it is!
Winter squash are rich in carotenoids, a precursor to vitamin A, and are a good source of vitamin C.
The seeds, when consumed in moderation, are a great source of healthy oils including linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (the same monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil).
Winter squash also contains a good dose of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese.
Other recipe you might enjoy:
Hasselback Butternut Squash
- 1 medium butternut squash about 2lbs
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped sage leaves or 1 tsp fresh sage
- pinch fine grain sea salt
Prepare the squash
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. Use a vegetable peeler to remove all of the skin.
- Rub the squash halves with olive oil, and place into a baking dish. Roast for 15 minutes.
Make the brown butter
- Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once melted, allow the butter to simmer, swirling the pan every minute or so.
- The butter will foam up; this is normal. Keep watching closely and swirling often as it will turn brown very quickly.
- Remove from the heat and transfer the butter into a small bowl, leaving the sediment behind.
- Add the maple syrup, minced sage leaves, and a pinch of salt to the brown butter.
Hasselback the squash
- Transfer the par-cooked squash halves to a cutting board and place a wooden spoon on either side.
- Using a sharp knife, slice 3/4 of the way through the squash. Repeat, making thin slices along the entire length of the squash.
- Repeat with the second squash half, and then return to the baking dish.
- Using a silicon brush, liberally brush the sliced squash halves with the maple brown butter.
- Return the squash to the oven and roast for another 30 minutes until soft and golden. Baste the squash with the brown butter mixture once or twice during the roasting time.
- Allow the squash to cool slightly, then serve.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.