Hot honey roasted red kuri squash turns a healthy vegetable into a decadent and delicious side dish that keeps its healthy edge.
Pumpkin and squash make for amazing roasting vegetables, especially when combined with beautiful autumnal flavors like pecans and sage.
This roasted red kuri squash has the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, smoky and herbaceous with a beautiful crunch from the pecans and some sticky finger-licking caramelization. Plus, it looks so beautiful!
This recipe is made with simple, whole food ingredients that are easy to find.
Red kuri squash: Red kuri squash has a slightly denser texture and richer orange color compared to butternut or acorn squash. It holds it's shape really nicely when roasted which makes it perfect for a preparation like this one. If you can't find red kuri squash then good substitutions are acorn or kabocha squash as they tend to be denser with slightly lower water content which helps hold their shape well when roasted.
Pecans: Crushed pecans add nuttiness, crunch and some autumnal pizzazz. You can substitute walnuts or hazelnuts to keep in sort of the same realm or try a different crunch element like pumpkin seeds or even seasoned breadcrumbs.
Honey: Honey mixed with the seasoning and oil creates a sticky glaze that coats the squash and helps it caramelize nicely. Maple syrup would also be really nice or even agave syrup.
Oil: Oil helps the squash caramelize evenly when roasted. You can use a different type of vegetable oil or if you want to make this whole food plant based then substitute tahini (start with a tablespoon or two and see if it's enough to coat then add more as needed).
Smoked sweet paprika: Smoked paprika brings in deep smoky elements that play really nicely with the sweet and spicy honey. My favourite smoked paprika that I swear by is La Chinata Sweet Smoked Paprika.
Chili flakes: Chili flakes bring a spicy note. Adjust the quantity to your liking.
Garlic powder: Garlic powder in lieu of fresh garlic is used here since it brings the flavor of garlic without any additional moisture which can inhibit the caramelization of the squash.
Cinnamon: The tiniest bit of cinnamon brings a warm note (without making this taste anything like pumpkin pie).
Salt: Of course the sweetness of squash needs to be balanced with a good dose of salt.
Fresh thyme: Fresh thyme adds an herbaceous note that balances and enhances the other warmer, earthier flavors.
All you need is a simple flat and shallow roasting pan like a baking tray or cookie sheet.
Metal is preferred as it will promote caramelization a bit better than ceramic or glass.
Likewise if you leave it uncovered (i.e. no parchment or baking paper) you'll get a nicer caramelization on the squash.
It's really easy to make this dish. You just need to whisk up the hot honey mixture in a bowl until evenly combined.
Then the red kuri squash is simply sliced into segments, drizzled in the hot honey and spices, and slow roasted until golden, sticky and perfectly caramelized.
I served this roasted red kuri squash with Braised Turkey in White Wine Sauce over mashed potatoes for a super decadent and delicious comfort meal.
Since the squash is really flavorful, it makes a great pairing with simple braised or roasted dishes. You can use it wherever you would use potatoes, for example you can swap red kuri squash for potatoes in my Crispy Parmesan & Herb Chicken Quarters with Roast Potatoes).
Looking for more side dish inspiration? Maybe you'll like one of these:
Roasted Red Kuri Squash with Pecans, Honey & Thyme
- flat metal baking tray / cookie sheet
- 1 kuri squash
- 0.25 cup pecans crushed
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or other neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or substitute 1.5 teaspoons dried
- Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F.
- Cut the kuri squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then cut each half into about 5-6 roughly even segments.
- Pull the leaves off half the thyme sprigs (if using fresh thyme).
- Mix the honey with the olive oil, chili flakes, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon salt and the destemmed thyme leaves. Mix well until even. *
- Pour the hot honey mixture over the squash and toss with the crushed pecans and remaining thyme sprigs.
- Pour the coated squash out onto the baking sheet and use a fork to spread it out so it's in one layer.
- Roast the squash in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until soft and caramelized to a golden brown.
- * It helps to microwave the honey for 15-20 seconds to get it a bit more liquid before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.