Make Ahead

Dan Kluger's Roasted Butternut Squash with Spicy Onions

November 14, 2018
31 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Though this recipe will thrill on the Thanksgiving table—right next to all the beige sides that we can’t part with, but wouldn’t mind de-beiging just a little—remember it in the dull moments of winter. Though all the ingredients pull their weight, the most crucial perker-upper is the spicy onions, which are just sliced red onions, quickly sauteed and then doused in lime juice and zest, honey, and red chile flakes. As they cool and lightly pickle, they turn a glowing ombré purple. You should make a triple batch of these every time, so that you can put them on every sandwich, salad, or bowl of rice that needs a jump. Adapted slightly from Bon Appétit (February 2014).
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What You'll Need
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Dan Kluger's Roasted Butternut Squash with Spicy Onions
  • Spicy Onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Spicy Onions
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, preferably blanched
  • 4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (oregano is a good substitute)
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Spicy Onions
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring often, until lightly charred and softened but not falling apart, 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt. Add the red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Remove the pan from heat and mix in the lime juice and honey. Let cool, then mix in the lime zest. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spicy onions can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill, then bring up to room temperature to serve.
  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Spicy Onions
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Crack one open to make sure it's golden and toasted through. (If your hazelnuts are not blanched and still have their skins, cool them wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, then rub off whatever skins will come off easily.) Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Toss the squash and 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Divide between 2 rimmed baking sheets (don't wash the bowl). Roast, undisturbed, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Return the squash to the bowl, then add hazelnuts, parsley, mint, marjoram, and spicy onions, and toss to combine.
  5. Transfer the herby squash salad to a large serving platter, crumble goat cheese over, and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  6. Make ahead notes: Squash can be roasted up to 3 days ahead and stored airtight in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving). Goat cheese can be crumbled ahead at any point, and chilled airtight. Hazelnuts can be toasted preferably no more than a day ahead and stored airtight at room temperature. Herbs can be chopped earlier the same day they're served, then covered with a damp paper towel and chilled. Toss together and plate not long before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cheryl
  • Tish MacFarlane
    Tish MacFarlane
  • epicharis
  • Francesca Stirpe
    Francesca Stirpe
  • Achefwannabe
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

30 Reviews

kate December 26, 2023
This fantastic, borderline-foolproof recipe made me feel like I whipped up a restaurant-quality dish, even after I sliced the squash too thin and overcooked the hell of it. Even as a bit of a pile of mush, the brightness and spice in the onions and the freshness of the herbs made this a standout. It paired wonderfully with smoked turkey breast and cranberry sauce and I can't wait to try it with other meals. Also perfect for cooking in advance (as noted) or while entertaining, since it's so forgiving.
Cheryl January 1, 2022
The onions were too sweet to me; I had substituted 1 tsp of agave for honey. I would leave out all sweetener. Subbed pistachios, which I tossed in at the last minute. I liked those. Used vegan feta, but I don't think it added much, even though the vegan feta tasted good.
Carly F. December 24, 2021
Great combination of flavours. I was a bit concerned that the onions were too acidic but they pair amazingly with the overall dish.
Joyce L. November 23, 2021
Making it now. Tip: microwave each medium squash about 4-5 minutes! Cuts easy then. Just did it for first tim.
Tish M. March 29, 2021
This dish was delicious!! I enjoyed every bite. I live alone and halved the recipe and still made three meals of it. (I added more goat cheese and hazel nuts, and pickled onions.) I hsve only made the squash one time, but I must admit I have made the pickled onions 5 or 6 times. Try them on your favorite hamburger sandwich, tossed with your favorite salad, or just as a garnish with your favorite fish. How about on fish tacos? My next taste fest!
Gypsa November 25, 2020
I love this recipe! This will be my third year in a row preparing it for the holidays and it is a hit every time! It can be time consuming so I always prepare it in increments 1-2 days ahead. I finally found marjoram this year, super excited to add it in.
epicharis November 24, 2020
This is such an outstanding recipe. I've done it a few times now, adjusting the cooking time/temp (I like my squash a bit more caramelized) and squash (koginut, delicata, honeynut, etc), but it's the combination of spicy onions, herbs and goat cheese that really makes the dish. And everyone comments on how beautiful and colorful it is! In the rare event you have leftovers, you'll enjoy it almost as much straight out of the fridge. I really can't recommend it enough.
Mary H. December 31, 2019
See previous review. I did not see opportunity to submit stars.
Mary H. December 31, 2019
I found this recipe to be so so. The sauteed onions are spectacular, and what is not to like about goat's cheese, hazelnuts, and the fresh herbs indicated? The problem is, the butternut squash has little flavor, and all of the other ingredients merely serve to counteract that. The salad is colorful, but that's about it. I do not cook squash that often. Is this the most one can expect?
richbusywoman December 26, 2019
This time of year with smallish, young butternut squash, there's no need to peel 'em before baking.
amg November 29, 2019
Made this for our Thanksgiving meal and, although a few thought the onions too spicy, that was not the general consensus (me included). I (sadly) couldn't use the nuts due to one family member's allergy to them and decided to substitute a honey chèvre for the regular goat cheese. It does serve many more than 8; especially at a Thanksgiving meal with so many other sides. We had 18 adults! I will definitely make this many more times. Highly recommend!
Erin N. November 21, 2019
I love this recipe! It is so aesthetically pleasing and the flavors are amazing. I don't usually like nuts in my food, either, but I wouldn't leave them out! A little time consuming to prepare, but so simple. It helps that you can make it in stages, if necessary. I made this last year for Thanksgiving and I'm making it again. It makes a lot, especially if you're serving it as a side. I'll bring the full recipe to three different Thanksgivings. Consider halving if you don't have that many people to feed. Of course, I loved having leftovers and brought with some leftover turkey to work for lunch.
Francesca S. October 28, 2019
I prepared this dish yesterday for 30 guests... A huge hit!
Achefwannabe October 25, 2019
Saw this on Food52 channel on ROKU. I have an abundance of walnuts. If anyone who has made this, what are your thought on replacing the hazelnuts, possibly with spiced walnuts? Would the spiced walnuts clash with the spicy onions?
Erin N. November 21, 2019
I would just toast the walnuts, I think you get plenty of spice from the onions.
Peggy October 11, 2019
Instead of the butternut squash, use a delicata squash cut in half lengthwise and then sliced. As the skin is edible, you don’t have to peel it and the long ridges help it stay put when halving it. Also, the striped skin adds another layer of interest to the roasted slices.
Nancy M. March 6, 2019
I made this last night and just had it again tonight. So good.
Marcus January 12, 2019
Really great, has become a standard in our family. Thanks
Paula January 4, 2019
This salad is so amazing that I do not want to share the recipe. I want to be the one who serves this dish to family and friends. I made it yesterday for family (minus the hazelnuts); everyone loved it! The colour, the brightness, the textures, the freshness, the taste... This is a signature recipe! <3
jennygcooks December 26, 2018
Made this last month and it was amazing! I am totally keeping this recipe.
Kim November 25, 2018
Easy to make and the spicy onions are an excellent accompaniment and took this salad up a notch. I am not a fan of hazelnuts yet I went back for seconds.