Roasted squash and apples in a black bowl with two small bowls next to it, one with pumpkin seeds and one with pomegranate seeds.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Kale

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Roasted butternut squash with apples and kale is the perfect warm and comforting fall side dish. Filled with vitamins and nutrients from fresh ingredients: butternut squash, apples, kale, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc., this recipe is not only healthy but it’s tasty and easy to throw together in minutes. With minimal cleanup too, this is a delicious and nutritious fall dish that your entire family will devour.

Roasted butternut squash with apples and kale in a black bowl with pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, feta, thyme, and cinnamon sticks around it.

What makes roasted butternut squash with apples and kale so good?!

With warm spices, like cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder mixed with fresh thyme and brown sugar, this roasted butternut squash with apples and kale brings loads of fall flavor right to your dinner table. Adults and kids alike will love the sweet and savory combination of the fresh butternut squash, crispy kale, slightly tart apple, and sweet cranberries. All these great flavors and textures come together to provide one of the best fall side dishes.

From soft roasted squash and apples, to crunchy pumpkin seeds and crisp kale, this roasted butternut squash hits all the great texture notes. And, as far as flavor goes, it is incredibly versatile, as it pairs well with nearly any meat. This healthy side dish can be made in less than 45 minutes with only one sheet pan, making cleanup a breeze! Healthy, yummy, and easy — this roasted butternut squash with apples and kale checks all the important boxes.

Ingredients

Labelled ingredients for roasted butternut squash with apples and kale (see recipe for details).
  1. Butternut Squash, peeled and diced
  2. Apples, peeled and diced
  3. Dried Cranberries
  4. Fresh Thyme
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Cumin
  7. Chili Powder
  8. Brown Sugar
  9. Salt & Pepper
  10. Olive Oil
  11. Kale
  12. For Garnish: Feta, Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate Seeds

A few notes about the ingredients:

  1. You can use any slightly tart apple for this recipe. I used honeycrisp apples for both their flavor and texture.
  2. If you don’t like dried cranberries, you can substitute them for golden raisins or dried cherries instead.
  3. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use a light sprinkle of dried thyme instead.

How do you make roasted butternut squash with apples and kale?

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan (I use aluminum foil) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

Squash, apples, and cranberries on a foil lined sheet pan with spices on top.

Peel and dice the butternut squash and apples. Arrange them on the sheet pan with the dried cranberries, spices, brown sugar, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Lightly drizzle the olive oil over everything. Then, mix it all together to fully coat the squash and apples with the seasoning.

Squash, apples, and cranberries mixed with spices on a sheet pan.

Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the kale by cutting it into quarter sized pieces, placing it in a bowl, and coating it lightly with a sprinkle of salt and a small amount of olive oil. 

Oil massaged kale in a white bowl.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven, give the squash and apples a toss to prevent them from sticking, and add the kale on top. Roast for another 5-8 minutes, watching carefully so that the kale becomes crispy but does not burn.

Roasted butternut squash, apples, cranberries, and kale on a foil lined sheet pan.

Spoon the roasted squash, apples, cranberries, and kale into a large serving bowl. Garnish with feta, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Serve alongside chicken and veggie meatloaf, baked teriyaki salmon, fall off the bone BBQ baby back ribs, and healthy chicken marsala.

Close up of roasted butternut squash with apples and kale topped with pumpkin seeds, feta, and pomegranate seeds.

How do you know when butternut squash is ripe?

The ripeness of butternut squash can be determined by 3 different things:

Color: The skin should be dark beige and dull. Butternut squash that has green patches or is shiny is underripe. 

Feel: The butternut squash should feel solid. It should be hard with no mushy spots. If you knock on it with your fist, it should sound hollow. It should also have it’s stem intact to help keep it fresh longer.

Weight: Butternut squash should feel heavy for its size. When you lift it, it should feel hard and dense.

What flavors pair well with butternut squash?

Butternut squash has a great neutral flavor. It is slightly sweet, but also savory. It tastes fairly similar to pumpkin but is a lot less distinct. Likewise, it pairs really well with other fall flavors, like apples, onions, cranberries, garlic, oregano, sage, rosemary, and so on. Also, butternut squash makes a delicious velvety soup, often paired with coconut milk. And it can often be found served cold in salads with kale, pumpkin seeds, feta, and grains, like quinoa, wheat berries, or farro.

What makes this roasted butternut squash with apples and kale healthy?

Butternut squash is low in calories and an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants. It is high in fiber and potassium, aides in digestion, and can help lower blood sugar. Apples are also high in fiber, have lots of vitamins and minerals, and may help prevent certain cancers and diabetes. As well, kale is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, is known to help lower cholesterol, and aids in preventing heart disease. In addition, this recipe includes a very small amount of oil and uses all fresh ingredients and healthy dried spices.

Two more tips

  • If you want to change things up, you can make butternut squash and apple soup by roasting the butternut squash and apples with all the same seasonings and placing them in a blender with your favorite broth, a splash of coconut milk, and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Roast the kale separately and spoon the soup into individual bowls. Top the soup with the roasted kale, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds.
  • To make a cold butternut squash and apple salad, roast the squash, apples, and cranberries according to the instructions. Lightly massage the kale with some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Add the kale to a blend of mixed greens. Top the kale and greens with the roasted squash and apples, toasted pecans, feta, and your favorite fall-inspired salad dressing, like this pumpkin maple vinaigrette.
Roasted squash, apples, kale, and cranberries in a black serving bowl with white plates, a serving spoon, cinnamon sticks, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds around it.

Looking for more healthy dinner recipes? Try these:

Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I’d love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!

Roasted Butternut squash with apples and kale in a black serving bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Kale

Roasted butternut squash with apples and kale is the perfect warm and comforting fall side dish. It’s super easy to make and clean up is a breeze with only the use of a sheet pan. It also pairs well with chicken, fish, beef, or pork.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • sheet pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large butternut squash peeled and diced (or 2 small)
  • 2-3 apples peeled and diced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 5 stems fresh thyme leaves only
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • a light drizzle of olive oil
  • 8 small kale stems leaves only

For Garnish:

  • feta for topping
  • pumpkin seeds for topping
  • pomegranate seeds for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan (I use aluminum foil) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. 
  • Peel and chop the butternut squash and apples. Arrange them on the sheet pan with the dried cranberries, spices, brown sugar, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Lightly drizzle the olive oil over everything. Then, mix it all together to fully coat the squash and apples with the seasoning.
  • Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the kale by cutting it into quarter sized pieces, placing it in a bowl, and coating it lightly with a sprinkle of salt and a small amount of olive oil. 
  • Remove the sheet pan from the oven, give the squash and apples a toss to prevent them from sticking, and add the kale on top. Roast for another 5-8 minutes, watching carefully so that the kale becomes crispy but does not burn.
  • Spoon the roasted squash, apples, cranberries, and kale into a large serving bowl. Garnish with feta, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Notes

  1. You can use any slightly tart apple for this recipe. I used honeycrisp apples for both their flavor and texture.
  2. If you don’t like dried cranberries, you can substitute them for golden raisins or dried cherries instead.
  3. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use a light sprinkle of dried thyme instead.
  4. See above post for tips on how to pick out a ripe butternut squash, as well as how to transform this recipe into a delicious fall soup or fall-inspired salad.
Keyword Butternut Squash, Fall Recipe, Fall Spices, Fall Vegetables, Healthy Side Dish

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