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This is a must-try recipe for roasted honeynut squash! Wedges of sweet, rich-tasting honeynut squash are baked with Parmesan breadcrumbs until tender. Serve this savory dish as a holiday side, drizzled with a zesty green herb sauce or a homemade 10-minute pesto recipe.
I can’t say enough good things about this dish — one of our absolute favorite winter squash recipes! If you love the sweetness and tender texture of roasted butternut squash, you’ll absolutely fall in love with this version made with baked honeynut squash.
Savory honeynut is a tiny variety of sweet winter squash. It’s so delicious paired with bold, spices and flavorful ingredients. I love it sauced with my simple salsa verde, a tangy green sauce that packs a punch.
The little cavities in the roasted squash become pockets for a topping of crunchy Parmesan crumbs. I promise every bite delivers all the tasty umami you could ask for, and it’s a perfect winter season recipe.
Fun facts about honeynut squash
- Honeynut is a type of winter squash, a cross between buttercup and butternut varieties.
- It was developed back in the 2010s by chef Dan Barber and Michael Mazourek, a vegetable breeder at Cornell University.
- The little squash look just like mini butternut squashes, usually about half the size of a standard butternut squash (and sometimes even smaller than that).
- Can you eat the skin of a honeynut? Yes! The skin is more delicate than other types of hard winter squash and is totally edible. The choice is up to you.
- The seeds inside a honeynut are small and they are less of them compared to butternut squash.
What started out as an experimental squash variety has become one of my all-time favorite vegetables.
Where to buy honeynut squash
Honeynut squashes become available in early fall, in September or October. When you see them in grocery stores (like Trader Joe’s) and farmer’s markets, scoop up a handful! It seems like as soon as they appear, they quickly disappear until next year.
Best ways to cook honeynut squash
Aside from their cute size, all the good stuff you love about butternut squash is intensified in honeynuts.
- Compared to butternuts, the flesh of honeynut squash is more vibrantly orange, with a denser texture and sweet, rich flavor.
- What that means for cooks: Small but mighty honeynut squash is PERFECT for roasting.
The high heat of the oven concentrates their natural sweetness and tenderness. You can even eat the skin of a honeynut!
Seasoning honeynut squash
Because they taste a bit sweeter than your everyday butternut squash, pairing it with savory flavors is one of the best vegetable recipe ideas, and it complements honeynut squash really well.
Rather than load them up with brown sugar or maple syrup (which makes them taste more like dessert, in my opintion), I prefer a punchy, slightly spicy herb sauce with a bit of acidity.
My favorite salsa verde is a simple sauce made with tender green herbs (I love the combination of parsley and cilantro) blended up in a food processor with garlic, wine vinegar and olive oil.
If you’re not in the mood to make the sauce, you can substitute your favorite prepared pesto sauce.
How to cut and prepare honeynut squash:
Honeynut squash are easier to handle and cut compared to larger squashes with tougher skins.
Slice the halved sections in half if your squash are very small (about 4-inches tall) or into 2-inch wedges for larger ones.
Follow the recipe below, which is broken down into a few basic steps.
- Toss wedges of the squash with olive oil on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until tender. Sprinkle the squash with a crunchy topping of Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs.
- Put the pan back in the oven and bake a few more minutes until the crumbs are golden and crunchy.
- Serve with zesty fresh salsa verde (recipe is below), or save time and use your favorite prepared pesto sauce.
This honeynut squash recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish for a Thanksgiving holiday table, along with roasted delicata squash, roasted acorn squash and mashed butternut squash. You can also make it the the star of a vegetarian meal served on a bed of chickpeas and cooked broccolini.
More winter squash recipes:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Harissa
- Delicata Squash Pasta with Greens
- Pumpkin Pasta with Parmesan Garlic Cream Sauce
- Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Butter
Roasted Honeynut Squash with Parmesan Crumbs
- ¼ cup Italian-style panko breadcrumbs or coarse dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½-3 pounds honeynut squash , peeled if desired
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups lightly packed cilantro and/or parsley leaves
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 small jalapeno or serrano chili, seeded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Mix the Parmesan crumbs: Combine the panko or breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl.
- Preheat oven to 425 (220C) degrees.
- Prep the honeynut squash: Cut a thin slice off the stem and bottom ends. Halve the squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. If your squash are small (3-4-inches tall) slice each piece in half. If they're larger, slice into wedges that are about 2-inches wide.
- Put the squash on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the squash and sprinkle with the kosher salt and black pepper. Toss the pieces to coat. Cover with foil and roast 25 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven and spoon the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the pieces. Return to the oven and roast uncovered for an additional 10-12 minutes, until the squash is tender and the crumbs are golden brown.
- Make the salsa verde: Put all the ingredients in a blender jar or small food processor. Blend or process until almost smooth.
- To serve: Spread some of the salsa verde on a serving platter. Arrange the squash on top. Drizzle with more salsa verde and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The squash can be pre-roasted up to step 2 and refrigerated 2-3 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and bake until golden.
- The green sauce keeps 1-2 days in the refrigerator. The color will turn darker, but the sauce will still taste good.
- If you don’t feel like making the sauce, use your favorite prepared pesto instead. Thin it out with a tablespoon or so of warm water to make it saucy.
Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.