The Hasselback technique—a series of slight, narrow cuts, often used on potatoes—isn’t just for spuds. This Thanksgiving, try it out on hunks of butternut squash; this ultimate side dish—or even vegan centerpiece—is something the whole family can get on board with.

The name’s origin is thanks to a restaurant in Sweden called Hasselbacken, where the technique was first employed. While this method looks visually appealing, it actually serves a very important purpose: The incisions allow all that flavor to penetrate throughout your chosen vessel—not just the exterior. In this recipe for maple Hasselback butternut squash—studded with fennel, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds—the squash gets drenched in a maple syrup and olive oil sauce, making it the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and a little spicy. Oh, and it’s great for the ‘gram too!

  • Total: 1 hr 20 min 
  • Active: 15 min

Ingredients (10)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. On a cutting board, rub the squash halves with olive oil on all sides, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the squash, cut side down, to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until a knife is easily inserted.
  3. Carefully remove the squash from the baking sheet and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the squash halfway down, making sure not to cut through the base, in ¼-inch incisions lines. Gently return back to the baking sheet, cut side down.
  4. In a bowl, combine the maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Add 1½ tablespoons of the maple mixture to a bowl with the sliced fennel and toss to combine.
  6. Pour the remaining maple syrup mixture over the squash, making sure to pour it into the incisions. Spread the fennel around the squash on the baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, until the fennel starts to brown and the squash begins to caramelize on the bottom.
  7. Add the walnuts on top of the squash and fennel and roast for 5 more minutes.
  8. Serve topped with pomegranate seeds and flaky sea salt.

Image courtesy of Alexis deBoschnek.