In this fall dish, we have butternut squash roasted with tart, fresh cranberries and sweet apples. It adds is a pop of color and flavor to any spread of food this holiday season!
Made with freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey for sweet fall flavors. Citrusy, zesty and tartness is served up in this recipe – let’s dive in!
About the Butternut Squash Bake
I love using fresh cranberries in recipes. When they bake in the oven they burst and ooze out their amazing tart flavors, which help balance out the sweet orange and honey.
They also add a different texture compared to the butternut squash, which I think is key in getting a good recipe…..no one wants the same texture!
I love the nutty flavor of butternut squash, and the spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) really enhance its amazingness!
I added apples for extra sweetness, and since they have a similar texture after baking to butternut squash, I wanted to make sure there was a heavy sprinkling of cranberries to get that burst of flavor, color and texture!
This recipe isn’t overly sweet, which I love. I feel like a lot of holiday dishes are so sweet you can’t even taste the cranberries or other ingredients. So if you’re looking for a balance of sweet and tart in your side dish, this is it!
Start by peeling and chopping the butternut squash. If you’ve never peeled or chopped butternut squash, check out my post on butternut squash soup and look for the collage on steps.
Chop your apple and add your cranberries to the mix! No need for a bowl to mix everything together. Just add all the ingredients right into the casserole dish. One dish = easy clean-up!
Next, juice your oranges and lemons. I use two navel oranges and one medium-sized lemon to get enough juice. Pour over the fruit and veggies and sprinkle the spices over top. Drizzle the honey and mix well with a spoon.
Most of the good stuff will sit at the bottom, so make sure to give it a good stir.
Bake it in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Once the squash and apples start turning golden brown, you’ll know it’s ready to be taken out of the oven!
I love checking on the casserole and watching the juice bubble and cranberries burst…..Oh and the aroma! Your house will literally smell like Thanksgiving!
This dish is not super sweet. If you prefer extra sweetness, try adding a sprinkle of brown sugar near the last five minutes of baking to add more sweetness. Or top with whipped cream and a spinkle of cinnamon!
Serve this dish as a side to your main meal. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving to help the juice thicken at the bottom of the pan.
I highly recommend pouring the extra juice on top of the servings so that you get the orange and lemon notes.
Once you mix the dish up after baking, the pigment from the cranberries makes everything redder FYI – in case the look of the dish matters to you!
Get creative and change up the recipe and add chopped nuts to the mix like pecans or walnuts. Add some zest from the oranges and lemon if you want more zesty flavors.
Who says side dishes only work for main meals like lunch and dinner? Why not breakfast!
That’s right, breakfast sometimes needs a punch of flavor and this zesty, sweet dish serves is right up! Try adding it into yogurt or oatmeal in the morning for a yummy fall breakfast. The sweetness and tartness adds delish flavor to the already sour yogurt, and for plain oatmeal, this dish brings all the flavor!
The flavors from the dish are best enjoyed while warm and the cranberries are oozy! Let me know below or on social how you’re enjoying the dish! Hope you have a lovely and safe Thanksgiving!
Recipe Tips & FAQs
Yes! It’s definitely a great one to have ready before if you want to save time with the chopping. For optimal freshness, I wouldn’t prep it more than a day in advance. Although, I wouldn’t chop the apples ahead of time. Do everything but chopping the apples since they may turn brown from exposure to oxygen and add the apple right before baking.
I’ve never used frozen before, but I don’t see why not. However, I would let them thaw before using them in the recipe.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries & Apples
- 6 cups chopped butternut squash (1 medium butternut squash)
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 cups chopped sweet apples (2 small apples)
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 navel oranges)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fareinheight.
- In a large casserole dish, add the chopped butternut squash, apples and cranberries.
- Pour the orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and honey over top and mix well.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown on the tops of the squash.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- The orange juice, lemon juice and honey mixture will bubble as the dish bakes. Scoop some of the sweet, citrusy syrup over the baked dish when serving for added flavor.
(Nutrition values are calculated by third-party software and an estimate that can vary based on product brands and cooking methods.)