How To Cook And Eat Honeynut Squash

Move aside pumpkin: Honeynut squash is becoming another sweet star of the fall season — and for good reason. It features a similar shape and flavor to its squash cousin, butternut; however, it tastes much sweeter. It's also about half the size and features a thin, delicate skin, meaning it's much easier to prepare and cook. Simply cut it in half, remove the seeds, and it's ready — no peeling necessary. Plus, similar to other squash varieties, the honeynut is incredibly versatile and can be baked and stuffed, or boiled and mashed, and it can be served as a main dish or used in a variety of tasty recipes. But, one of the best ways to prepare the delicious fruit is by roasting it, which caramelizes its natural sugars for a richer flavor.

The winter squash is a relatively new variety, and its uncanny resemblance to butternut squash stems from the fact that it's actually a hybrid. Bred from a butternut and buttercup squash, the honeynut was developed by Cornell University professor Michael Mazourek in conjunction with renowned chef Dan Barber, and first became available in produce sections in 2015. The potato-sized produce is only about 6 inches in length, smaller than a traditional butternut variety, which typically grows between 8 and 12 inches. But, although it may be small, it's certainly packed with a nutty, sweet flavor that lends itself well to a host of sweet and savory dishes.

Roast honeynut squash for more flavor

Thanks to its small size, honeynut squash is perfect for dinner for two, or a dinner of one with some leftovers to enjoy the next day. Similar to pumpkin or butternut squash, one of the best ways to cook honeynut squash is by roasting it to bring out its natural sweetness. Just be sure to add a bit of olive oil or butter and seasonings like salt and pepper to taste before tossing the fruit in the oven. 

If you're whipping up a sweeter recipe, you could also sprinkle on a bit of cinnamon, or for something more savory, opt for fresh herbs like parsley or rosemary. Once roasted, you can enjoy the fruit as is or incorporate it into a variety of flavorsome recipes, from soups to salads. You could also use honeynut in any recipe that calls for winter squash, such as a salad of butternut squash with whipped feta and zhoug, or whip up a creamy risotto for a meal that's as nourishing as it is delicious.