Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme (and Thoughts on Gratitude)

Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means great big heaping platefuls of mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, corn pudding, gravy, stuffing, and gravy. Did I mention gravy? My sister in law recently confessed to me that she owns six gravy boats. Six. There are some things in life that you can never have enough of, but I was under the impression that gravy boats were not one of them. (I stand corrected.)

Besides all that gravy, there’s will be something else making an appearance on this year’s thanksgiving table, and that’s this roasted butternut squash with hazelnut brown butter and thyme. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but oh, what a mouthful it is. For all you butternut-lovers, this one is for you. It is sooo simple to prepare, and is a super elegant addition to your standard Thanksgiving eats.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme

Before we get to the recipe, I want to talk about gratitude. You know, the other thing thanksgiving is all about, besides the gravy food.

A few months ago, I started a gratitude journal. Wait, let me backup… I should probably start by saying, I hate journalling. I’ve tried keeping diaries in the past, but they never last more than a few weeks. They start out okay, but inevitably turn into a running log of all the crap that goes on in my life. Writing those entries might feel like healthy venting at first, but pretty soon it starts to feel really draining, and if you were to look back through the pages, you would think I had a pretty crummy life (ahem, not at all true).

This is different. In fact, sitting down to write in my gratitude journal is actually something I look forward to most days. It’s like this pleasant little reminder to spend some time appreciating the good things in my life, of which there are so, so many. I am all too guilty of getting caught up in the little, negative, day-to-day stuff, and sitting down for five minutes to think about the positive things has made a huge difference in how much I let the bad stuff get to me.

Not letting the bad stuff get to me = much more fun to be around. It also means I am better at finding the good in bad situations, saying “thank you” more often to the people around me, and being happy with where I am in life, rather than dissatisfied that I’m not where I want to be.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme

I read somewhere that the human mind has a built-in negativity bias — meaning we tend to focus on the negative things far more than we do the positive things. That if someone says something kind to us, we’ll hold on to that good feeling for a few minutes, maybe an hour, but if someone says something mean to us, we’ll hold onto it all day, or all week. I think that’s really true, and it means that in order to put the same kind of emphasis on the good things, we need to make a conscious effort to do so.

With Thanksgiving so close, I’ve been thinking a lot about this being thankful thing — not just saying “thanks”, but really feeling thankful. I am so blessed in so many ways (each and every entry in this journal is proof of that), and when I actually make it a priority to appreciate the people and things in my life that make it so wonderful, big things happen.

So this year, as you gather around the table with family members who will undoubtedly get on your nerves at some point during the evening, be grateful. Be grateful that you are surrounded by people who love you, or that you have clean running water, or that you have a warm bed to sleep in, or that your family is safe.

(And of course, be grateful for that one blogger who gave you that awesome butternut squash recipe.)

Happy Thanksgiving!


4.7 from 3 reviews
Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sweet roasted butternut squash with a nutty, crunchy, browned butter hazelnut sauce. The perfect fall side, and a great addition to any holiday meal!
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 2½ - 3 lbs)
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter
  • ½ cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped*
  • 2 tsp. Good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F., and adjust the rack to the lowest position.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler or a knife, peel the the butternut squash. Peel away the skin, and the pale layer just beneath the skin, until the entire squash is bright orange. Remove the stem and butt end of the squash, then cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and slice each half into ¾ inch thick half-moons.
  3. Place the sliced squash in a bowl, and toss with 2 TBSP melted butter, a big pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  4. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and place on the lowest rack of the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the side of the squash touching the baking sheet in the back of the oven starts to turn golden brown. Rotate the pan, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the pieces that are at the back of the oven start to brown on the side touching the pan. Remove the pan from the oven, flip each piece over, and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the second side has started to brown and the squash is very tender.
  5. While the squash is roasting, add the remaining 4 TBSP butter to a skillet or saucepan (preferably a light-colored pan so you can see the butter clearly as it browns). Add the chopped hazelnuts, and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring or swirling the pan frequently, until the butter has started to turn golden brown. The time this takes will vary, so keep a close eye on it, and remove from the heat as soon as the butter turns brown. Be careful not to burn it!**
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the balsamic vinegar, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer the roasted squash to a bowl or platter, and pour over the browned butter hazelnut sauce. Serve immediately.
*You can find my tutorial on how to roast and skin hazelnuts,
HERE. UPDATE: Since writing this, I've discovered a new way to skin hazelnuts that's even easier. You can check out the new tutorial, HERE.

**For more detailed instructions on how to brown butter, see my tutorial, HERE.

Recipe inspired by my pumpkin ravioli with hazelnut browned butter sauce (recipe HERE.) and adapted from America's Test Kitchen (find their recipe HERE.)

(And THANK YOU for reading my blog and making my recipes! The internet is a much better place with you here!)


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6 Responses to Roasted Butternut Squash with Hazelnut Brown Butter Sauce and Thyme (and Thoughts on Gratitude)

  1. Corrie November 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    This looks divine!! Kudos to God for you!!! And not just for your food. ?

    • Willow Arlen November 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Corrie! Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you and the family are well!

  2. Ellen November 17, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    Yes, it does look fab. just printed out and will make soon. The internet and this earth is a better place for having you in it too! Happy Thanksgiving Day

    • Willow Arlen November 18, 2015 at 9:57 am #

      You are so kind, Ellen, thank you! I hope you like the butternut squash!

  3. Kristi October 23, 2019 at 4:55 pm #

    Just made this and it was so yummy!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jennifer November 28, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    Making it now, and I can’t really imagine you want the moons to be 3/4″ each!

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