Roasted hasselback butternut squash combines simple ingredients and just a few minutes of effort to create a stunning, delicious side dish fit for a special occasion.
Don’t you just love a dish that takes minimal effort and ingredients and looks a million dollars? I know I do! Anything that takes a few minutes to knock together, but is guaranteed to raise an “ooooh!” when it’s brought to the table is my kind of recipe.
New Year’s Eve dinner
I first made roasted hasselback butternut squash as part of a special New Year’s Eve dinner. It succeeded massively on looking impressive, and it tasted the business too, but it was not minimal effort. The recipe I followed involved two stages of roasting, making a glaze from scratch and reducing it down, multiple bastings…
All of which would be fine if I didn’t have to prepare the rest of the meal at the same time!
I felt certain there was a way to produce a similar result – delicious hasselback butternut squash, roasted to perfection and full of flavour – but with a few, ahem, shortcuts. And I set out to find it.
Cutting all the corners
The original instructions called for roasting my squash, slicing it, and then roasting it some more. I simply blasted it in the microwave for a few minutes, till it was soft enough to slice, then carried on as before. Time & effort saved = 10-15 minutes.
Rather than making a complicated glaze from individual ingredients, I considered what I had that already combined the flavours I was after. The original used chillies simmered in a brown sugar syrup that had to be reduced and strained… I substituted ready-made sweet chilli sauce and we were almost done! Time & effort saved = 15-20 minutes.
Ready to slice
Of course you can’t hasselback a squash without spending a few minutes slicing! I find the easiest way to create hasselback cuts that don’t quite go all the way through is as follows: Place a chopstick on either side of the butternut squash. The blade of your knife will hit the chopsticks, preventing you from cutting right through to the board! This little trick means you can slice more quickly, without worrying about the exact depth of your cuts.
Glaze and roast
Once sliced, it’s a simple matter of brushing over the glaze and tucking in some sprigs of rosemary. I love the flavour of rosemary with butternut squash, but you could also use sage leaves, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, or whatever woody herbs you enjoy.
You can baste/glaze your hasselback butternut squash again during cooking, but it isn’t essential. So if you’re busy with other things, just leave it to cook. It will still look and taste a million dollars when it emerges from the oven!
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Hasselback squash with sweet chilli and rosemary
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil + plus a little extra for greasing the dish
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Peel the butternut squash. Slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Place the two halves of squash in a glass baking dish with 1 tbsp water. Cover and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes until tender to the point of a knife.
- Carefully remove the squash from the baking dish - it will be hot! Wipe any water from the dish and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Place one of the squash halves on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, make cuts at 4-5mm intervals along the squash, taking care not to cut right through. (I find the easiest way to do this is to place a chopstick on either side of the squash, which prevents the knife going right down to the board.) Return the squash to the baking dish and repeat with the other half.
- Whisk together the olive oil and the sweet chilli sauce. Brush this liberally over the squash, and in between some of the slices if possible. Tuck in a few pieces of rosemary, then coarsely chop the remaining leaves and sprinkle over.
- Bake the squash at 180°C (350°F) for 30-40 minutes until tender and fragrant. You can baste it with glaze again during cooking if you like - it will give a glossier appearance but is not essential.
- Serve hot!
Other delicious and easy vegetable side dishes for you to enjoy include:
All-in-one-pan roasted vegetable rice pilaf
Honey roasted root vegetables with apples
Garlic and rosemary scalloped potato roast