Too much squash is never a bad thing. These Thanksgiving-themed recipes prove it

Maria Clark
Southern Kitchen

My friend Alicia has become a prolific home gardener over the last two years. Sometimes to her detriment.

This year she has found herself with an over-abundance of butternut squash. “Please take my squash,” Alicia has said to me several times over the last few weeks. 

With Halloween past us, I am starting to crave Thanksgiving dinner and all of the delicious treats that come with it. Butternut squash soup, squash puree, squash sauteed with hardy greens: The options are endless.

My partner and I recently visited Alicia’s modest farm about an hour north of New Orleans. Among the plants wilted from a recent frost, several varieties of hardy squash remained. 

Seeing it in person, I could understand her predicament. Nearly a dozen butternut squash and acorn squash currently line the window sills in her kitchen. And although she has become prolific at different methods of preserving vegetables, there truly is only so much you can do.

At one point, I think she gave up and left a wheelbarrow full of gourds to harden. Duane (my partner) and I discovered that weekend that when you throw a dried gourd on a campfire, it pops. Who would have thought?

Let’s say we also reaped the benefits and came home with half a dozen squash. It’s not necessarily cold in our neck of the woods, but fall is fall.

Ham and greens:This perfect Southern weekend meal also works for Thanksgiving

Despite the temperatures in the high 70s outside, I am looking forward to getting my recipes together for Thanksgiving. Here are some great options to experiment with right from the Southern Kitchen archives.

It's not quite fall salad

Fall harvest salad with Dijon vinaigrette.

A tip: Soaking raw onions in ice water removes some of their bitterness and pungency. Just make sure to drain well before tossing with the rest of the salad.

Serves: 3 to 4


Dijon vinaigrette

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Ice water, as needed

4 cups thinly sliced kale, washed

2 mirlitons, cored and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (mirlitons are better known as chayote squash and are a popular vegetable in Louisiana)

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries


To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the squash is tender and lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking. Let cool to room temperature. Keep the oven on and save the bowl for tossing the salad.

Butternut squash soup

Sails butternut squash soup is a Thanksgiving treat.

About the recipe

Roasting the butternut squash before adding to the soup deepens the sweetness and complexity of the squash, and it also means less time over a steaming pot.

This recipe doubles easily if you’re planning to serve a crowd — or just want leftovers.

Serves: 6

Hands-on time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours


1 (4-pound) butternut squash, halved and seeded

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sherry vinegar


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Using your hands, rub each squash half with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season both halves with salt and pepper and tightly wrap each half in aluminum foil. Place directly on the center rack of the oven and roast until the squash is completely soft and caramelized, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop the flesh away from the skin with a spoon. Discard the skin.

Baked Acorn Squash

Stuffed acorn squash

About the recipe

The key to perfectly stuffed squash is having the correct ratio of squash to filling. To help achieve this, scoop out all but a half-inch of the flesh of the roasted squash. Mixing most of the softened squash with the remaining stuffing ingredients better integrates the flavors throughout the entire dish.

If you’d like to make a vegetarian version of this dish, you can substitute 1 pound of mushrooms, sauteed in butter. We particularly like shiitakes here, but you could also use a mixture of wild mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, cooked until all of their liquid has evaporated. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Serves: 4

Hands-on time: 40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 50 minutes


2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3 ribs celery, finely diced

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Place the squash halves on a baking sheet cut-side up. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over the flesh of the squash. Liberally season with salt and black pepper and roast until the squash are fork tender and the edges have started to curl, about 40 minutes. Let cool until easy to handle. Keep the oven on.

While squash is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any  large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, sage and garlic, and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

When the squash are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a large bowl, leaving 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin to help retain each squash’s shape. Add the sausage mixture and stir to incorporate the squash. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. 

Stuff the sausage mixture into the hollowed squash halves and return to the baking sheet. Top with the bread crumbs and the Parmigiano Reggiano. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and roast until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzle with additional extra-virgin olive oil, as desired. Serve.

Contributing: Mackensy Lunsford