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Apple Butternut Squash Casserole with Cranberries

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Celebrate the holiday season with this festive and easy Apple Butternut Squash Casserole with Cranberries recipe. All the fall flavors come together in this healthy and delicious side dish that will complete your holiday table.

apple butternut squash casserole


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Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

If you’re looking for a butternut squash apple recipe that brings together the comfort of autumn, yet looks beautiful – get excited!

We put together this butternut squash and apples casserole with the holidays in mind, but it also works as a simple and healthy side dish for a weekend dinner (for your family if you’re entertaining).

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Easy. From easy-to-find ingredients to simple instructions this is a simple side dish you’ll love.
  • Gluten free. Cooking for a crowd means thinking of people’s dietary concerns and allergies. This being a gluten-free side dish makes entertaining a little easier.
  • Colorful. The dish’s vibrant colors, blending the deep orange of the squash, the red of the cranberries, and the green of fresh parsley, make it beautiful and festive.

Apple Butternut Squash Casserole Ingredients

ingredients needed to make apple butternut squash bake for a thanksgiving or Christmas side dish
  • Butternut squash (medium size)
  • Olive oil
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Honey
  • Orange juice (no pulp)
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Apples (I used gala apples and granny smith)
  • Goat cheese
  • Pecans
  • Parsley – for a garnish

Ingredient Substitutions and Variations

Frozen cranberries: Use fresh cranberries.

Honey: Maple syrup is a delicious substitute for honey.

Fresh rosemary: Use 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Fresh thyme: Swap fresh thyme with 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.

Goat cheese: You may replace goat cheese with feta or parmesan if you like, or leave it out.

Pecans: Nuts add a crunch to this dish. If you don’t have pecans you can replace them with cashews, sliced almonds, or walnuts. Leave them out if there is an allergy. The pecans do not make or break the dish.

Make it vegan: To make this apple cranberry butternut squash bake vegan, swap the feta cheese for a plant-based option or leave out the feta altogether. You will also have to replace the honey with maple syrup or a little brown sugar.

9 x 11.5 casserole dish with roast butternut squash, cranberries, apples and topped with feta cheese

Tips to Select a Ripe Butternut Squash

  1. Check for Firmness: The medium butternut squash should feel firm and heavy for its size. Avoid ones with soft spots, bruises, or mushy areas.
  2. Look for Consistent Coloring: A ripe butternut squash typically has a uniform, beige-tan color. Minor variations in color or small patches of discoloration are normal, but avoid squashes with significant dark spots or blemishes.
  3. Inspect the Stem End: The stem or the top of the squash should be firm and intact. If the stem is missing or appears to be sunken or moldy, grab another one.
  4. Sound Test: Some people tap the squash and listen for a hollow sound, but this method might not always be reliable.

Remember, ripe butternut squash should feel heavy, have a firm texture, and be free from major blemishes or soft spots.

Storing Squash

After purchasing, store it in a cool, dry place (like a pantry) for several weeks to several months.

close up of goat cheese over a roasted winter squash and apple bake

Prep It In Advance

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, prep as much in advance as you can.

This way, you can visit with your guests instead of being stuck in your kitchen the whole time.

To prep the easy butternut squash cranberry apple bake beforehand, here is what we recommend:

  • Wash, peel, and core all the fruits and vegetables. Dice everything to a similar size so they cook at the same speed. I diced the squash and apples into roughly 2 inch cubes.
  • Chop the fresh herbs and get the spices ready.
  • Mix the orange juice, herbs, and spices together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the squash and apples to the mixing bowl, toss to coat, and transfer to a greased baking dish. We recommend a deeper 9×13 casserole dish.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s ready to bake.
  • Bake following the instructions, after 20 minutes you’ll add the cranberries and pecans. Top with goat cheese and parsley.

We recommend making this the evening before dinner, or even the morning of.

Leftover Storage and Reheating

Store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container for 3-4 days. We love these Rubbermaid Brilliance containers.

Randa and Stacie Canadian food bloggers in their kitchens

For food safety purposes, please make sure that the squash apple casserole is cooled before you wrap it and put it in the fridge.

Reheat the casserole in the oven or microwave, ensuring it’s covered to prevent drying out.

serving the baked apple butternut squash side dish for thanksgiving

Health Benefits of Butternut Squash Apple Bake

This savory winter squash and apple bake is made of whole food ingredients that keep you fueled and satiated.

1/6th of the recipe has 8 grams of fiber per serving, which will keep you full for hours (along with your main protein dish). 

In addition to that the ingredients have health benefits themselves. 

Butternut squash and apples are loaded with vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants. 

The carotenoids are what brings that orange hue to the squash, and that has been linked to eye health.

You simply cannot go wrong with whole fruits and vegetables with herbs and spices like rosemary, cinnamon, and thyme. 

Nutritional Value of Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

1/6th of the recipe has the following nutritional values and macros (this is calculated using a third party recipe calculator, exact calculations will vary depending on the weight and volume of ingredients used):

  • Calories: 385kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 78g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 9g
  • Fiber: 8g

Recommended Cookware

Here’s some of the cookware we recommend.

  1. 9 x 11.5 casserole dish we used.
  2. Mixing bowls
  3. Large vegetable peeler (perfect for butternut squash)

What to Serve It With

If you’re making this apple butternut squash casserole for a large family meal like Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving, here are our recommendations:

It’s an easy side dish that works well with most fall meals but it’s perfect for turkey dinners.

a wooden spoon with burst cranberries, feta cheese, and baked squash and apples
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Apple Butternut Squash Casserole with Cranberries

Looking for a new side dish for your holiday gatherings? Try our Butternut Squash Casserole with Apples and Cranberries recipe for a festive and flavorful addition to your table. It's easy enough for simple dinner side dish and beautiful enough for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
4.50 from 4 votes
Print Recipe Save Recipe
Christmas side dish idea of apple butternut squash casserole recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 3 medium apples cored, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans optional
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese or feta
  • parsley garnish

Instructions

  • Set your oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9×13 baking dish by greasing it lightly with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Combine orange juice, honey, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large mixing bowl and whisk them together.
    2 tablespoons honey, 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Chop the butternut squash and apples into evenly sized pieces to ensure even cooking; aim for similar sizes. I cut mine into roughly 1 1/2 – 2" pieces.
    1 1/2 – 2 lb butternut squash, 3 medium apples
  • Add the diced squash and apples in the bowl with the dressing and mix together.
  • Pour into a casserole dish.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven and add the cranberries and pecans, stirring them into the mix. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cranberries burst.
    1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries, 1/4 cup pecans
  • Remove the apple butternut squash bake from the oven and sprinkle over the goat cheese, and parsley.
    1/4 cup goat cheese, parsley

Video

Notes

You can peel the apples if you want, but I left the peels on.
I have made this with both goat and feta cheese and both are delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 78gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 278mgPotassium: 991mgFiber: 8gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 24310IUVitamin C: 88mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 2mg
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 385kcal


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