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I'm Mary! I eat plants and run marathons. Plant Nasty is a lifestyle blog for everyone from lifelong vegans to the vegetable-curious. 

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Maple Sage Hasselback Squash

Maple Sage Hasselback Squash

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Somehow, I've magicked my family into letting me host this year's Thanksgiving in Brooklyn. We will be nine strong around the table. Only 1.5 of us is vegan however (though everyone is veg-enthusiastic), so it's imperative to knock this plant-based Thanksgiving out of the ball park. 

Just in case you've been feeling out of the loop about what the latest, hottest recipe trend on the internet is, DON'T WORRY. I've got you covered. It's this Hasselback butternut squash business.

The Hasselback butternut squash is the 2017 instagrandchild of the Hasselback potato, which, FYI, was invented in Stockholm Sweden at a restaurant named Hasselbacken. The genius of this method of making a hundred cuts almost-but-not-quite-all-the-way-through is that you end up with maximum surface area for crisping and maximum interior creaminess. 

Naturally, this Hasselback butternut beauty felt like it was begging to be the star of my plant-forward Thanksgiving feast. So I acquiesced. The maple sage recipe I've come up with is the lovechild of the Healthy Foodie's honey glazed butternut squash and Food & Wine's roasted squash with maple and sage cream. Neither of which is vegan. But this recipe is! Read on below.

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Serves 6-8 squash enthusiasts | Prep time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 small orange, juiced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more along the way
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the rack one notch down from the uppermost position. 
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half. Carefully. Scoop out the inside seeds and squash strings, and peel the outside skin with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, i.e. until the flesh is soft enough to cut through without risking your life and/or fingers.
  4. Meanwhile, juice the orange and combine with maple syrup, coconut oil, chopped sage, and salt. Whisk until fully combined. (Pro tip: make sure the maple syrup is room temperature or warmer so that the coconut oil does not solidify when you mix the two.) 
  5. Chop pecans. 
  6. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool about five minutes. Once you are able to handle it without burning yourself, place one squash half on a cutting board to hasselback.
  7. Set two wooden spoons on either side of the squash as safeguards, which will help you avoid accidentally cutting all the way through. Starting at the thinner end, make a series of thin horizontal cuts, stopping about a third on an inch from the bottom on the squash. 
  8. Return the first half to the pan and repeat this process with the other. 
  9. Now, brush 1/3 of the maple sage mix over the tops of both halves. Be sure to reserve 2/3 of the mix. Dust with sea salt. Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. If necessary, feel free to add extra water to the pan one tablespoon at a timeto prevent burning. 
  10. Take the squash out of the oven, and brush another 1/3 of the maple sage mix over the top. Spoon the pan juices over the top as well. As the squash softens and the cuts open up, more and more of this goodness will make it down into the heart of the squash. 
  11. Add another 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan, and bake for another 20 minutes. 
  12. Meanwhile, combine the remaining maple sage mix and the chopped pecans. 
  13. Remove the squash from the oven, spoon the pecans and maple sage mix on top. Also rescue the pan juices and spoon them back over the top. Bake for a final 5-8 minutes. (Note that the pecans are the limiting factor because they are inclined to burn after 9 minutes in the oven at this temperature. Only add the pecans when you're sure the squash is 5 minutes from done + a little wiggle room.) 
  14. Remove the squash from the oven for the last time! Dust again with sea salt, and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully transfer to serving dish and stun your dinner guests accordingly. 
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