Spiced hasselback butternut squash with orange and pomegranate

I have always been intrigued by the festive vibe of the Hasselback preparation, a cutting technique. With just a little extra effort, and some basic knife moves, you end up with something that looks surprisingly impressive at the table.

Traditionally made with potato, this slightly involved yet very cool to behold dish makes winter squash a star. I found a lovely version of this recipe in Bon Appétit, and altered the glaze to include wintery flavors of citrus and pomegranate with some added spice and a zesty garnish. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year, Hasselback-style.

Servings: 6, as a side

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 bay leaves

Optional:

  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa paste or 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cashew or dairy-based milk yogurt
  • Lime
  • Pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare the squash: Trim the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Peel the squash completely, exposing the orange flesh. Rub all over with one tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Prepare the glaze: While the squash is in the oven, prepare the glaze by combining the orange juice, pomegranate molasses, honey, cumin, and olive oil in a small saucepan placed over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbling all the way across the pan and slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the harissa paste or red chili flakes, if using.
  4. Remove the squash from the oven after 20 minutes. Let cool slightly for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cutting board. Place chopsticks or wooden-spoon stems right next to the squash, length-wise. Using a sharp knife, cut thin slices horizontally into the squash, using the wood as a guide to prevent going all the way through the squash.
  5. Carefully return the squash to the baking dish and baste with the glaze. Insert 3 bay leaves into each squash half and return to the oven to roast, basting with the glaze every 10 to 15 minutes until the squash is cooked through and tender, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. To serve, you can garnish with a drizzle of yogurt thinned with lime juice and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 180
  • Total fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 105 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 31 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 2 g

Note: Nutrition information calculated using a large (3 pound) squash. Optional ingredients not included in analysis.

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD