Delicious, gorgeous vegan entrée for Thanksgiving or any special occasion. Step-by-step instructions to hasselback butternut squash are included, with photos for each step.
A few days ago, I posted about making your own pomegranate molasses. It was so easy, and I liked how I could tailor it to my own taste. I may never purchase it again. But I discovered that I’d never posted any recipes calling for this ingredient. So here’s the first one: Hasselback butternut squash basted with a pomegranate glaze. It seriously rocks. Even Carnivorous Maximus loved it.
Before getting into the recipe, let’s delve into the name.
The term hasselback originates from a baked potato made famous by the the Hasselbacken restaurant, in Stockholm. The potatoes are halfway cut through into thin slices, and roasted. This results in a cross between a baked and roasted potato. The inside of the potato is soft, the outside boasts a crust. Various topping can be added when served.
Since then, cooks delight in using that same technique on other vegetables. Butternut squash lends itself very well to this technique because of the its shape, size, and uniformity of texture. And it’s a dramatic way of serving this squash as a main entree. If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving, this is it.
How to Prep Butternut Squash – Hasselback Style
Prepping butternut squash is much easier than it looks. All you need is a cutting board, a spoon, a y-shaped potato peeler, and a sharp chef’s knife. To hasselback the squash, you also need 2 knives or chopsticks.
Step 1: Scoop Out The Seeds and Pulp
Lay the squash down on a cutting board and slice off the top and bottom. Next, stand the butternut squash up and slice it in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp.
Tip: A grapefruit spoon is best, but any spoon will work just fine.
Step 2: Peel the Squash
Turn the squash halves over so their flat sides face down on a cutting surface. Using a Y-shaped potato peeler, either start peeling from the top edge or from the middle. I do it both ways, and slightly prefer starting towards the middle, as pictured above.
Turn the squash around 180˚ and finish peeling.
Tip: Pull the peeler towards you in smooth sweeps. Don’t try to cut too deeply into the squash, or the peeler will stick. It’s much more effective to make 2 or 3 sweeps in the same area that are more shallow.
Step 3: Pre-Roast For Easier Hasselbacking
In preparation to hasselback butternut squash, lightly oil the squash, and arrange them on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes.
Tip: For one whole butternut squash, use a quarter baking sheet if you have one. Otherwise use the more traditional half backing sheet, which is the same size as a traditional cookie sheet.
Step 4: Hasselback Butternut Squash Technique
Remove from the oven, cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a cutting board. Keeping the squash facing down, lay chopsticks or knives on either side of one of the squash halves, as pictured above. The knives will prevent you from slicing all the way through the squash, and keep the slices an even depth. Use a sharp chef’s knife to make the cuts. When finished with the first squash half, move the chopsticks or knives to the other squash half, and repeat.
Tip: Whatever you choose to use as a guide on either side of the squash, make sure it has a flat surface so that it remains fairly stable while you hasselback the butternut squash.
Step 5: Roast and Baste the Hasselback Butternut Squash
Transfer the squash back to the baking sheet, oil again and lightly dust with salt, sage and nutmeg. Roast, and baste with the pomegranate glaze every 20 minutes until the squash is tender.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Finish the dish as you like. I sprinkled fried sage leaves and pomegranate arils over the top, and added a quick sauté of shredded Brussel sprouts, apples and garlic with a splash of apple cider vinegar. The crumbles you see in the Brussels sprouts sauté are chorizo crumbles by Morningstar – and a great vegan alternative to meat that goes great with the squash.
Pomegranate-Glazed Hasselback Butternut Squash
Hasselback Butternut Squash
- 1 2 lb butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 fresh sage leaves, optional
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
- 2 - 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils, optional
Hasselback Butternut Squash
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lay the squash down on a cutting board and slice off the top and bottom, and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, and discard.
- Turn the squash halves over so their flat sides face down on a cutting board. Use a Y-shaped potato peeler to peel the skin. (See the Tips for this step in the body of the post.) Place on a baking sheet with the cut sides facing down, coat with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and roast for 20 minutes. I use a quarter size baking sheet, but if you only have a half sheet, that's fine. Remove from the oven and cool enough to handle.
- Keeping the squash facing down, lay chopsticks or knives on either side of one of the squash halves. They prevent you from slicing all the way through the squash, and keep the slices an even depth. Use a sharp chef's knife to make cuts roughly 1/4" wide. Repeat with the other squash half.
- Transfer the squash back to the baking sheet, coat again with the remaining tablespoon of oil and lightly dust with the salt, sage and nutmeg. Return to the oven and roast for 1 hour, or until tender. While it's roasting, drizzle with the pomegranate glaze every 20 minutes, making sure to reserve some for serving.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter starts to brown, add the sage leaves and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove. Cool and crumble over the squash. Sprinkle the arils over the top. Serve with the remaining glaze.
- Stir together all of the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.