Thanksgiving Side Dish: Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash

That’s a mouth full. I hate shortening my titles for my recipes, but I did. I didn’t talk about the cinnamon or salt in the recipe. Anywho, Thanksgiving is on the way, so this week will be filled with recipes to help you eat paleo through the holidays. Yayyyy!

If you’ve done paleo before during a holiday or party and are a legit foodie, you know that it can be ultra annoying to be at parties and not be able to eat everything that’s there. And when I say “not be able to eat everything that’s there” I mean you’re having an internal battle on whether or not you should eat that piece of pumpkin, blueberry AND apple pie, along with the 6 different dips that are paired with chips and crackers. You know what I’m saying if you’re a foodie for life. You’re acting like you’re listening to the conversations around you, but you’re actually just thinking about the dessert table and if you should just have a taste. Just a fork full. Even though you know that the fork full will turn into a whirlwind of pounding food without even know what you’re consuming, you just know if has frosting on it. And that’s really all you care about because you haven’t had frosting in months, maybe even years. If you act like you’ve never been there, you don’t love food near as much as me. Because that was me at a party the other night. And I gave in. Frosted pumpkin squares?? Eff me.

I didn’t have my best eating choices over the weekend. I think some people think that since I create paleo recipes that I will never ever ever fall off the wagon. Which isn’t totally true. I have my moments. Life is all about living, but it’s also making the best decicions you can in certain situations. Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you get to eat while traveling. You’re at other people’s disposal when it comes to food choices. So I did my best. Then not my best. Then my best once again at the airport. Eating at airports is my least favorite. Except when I got to eat at Root Down at DIA and had a burger with sweet potato fries and a bloody mary. Made me feel like I wasn’t even in an airport, which I love. Either way, I don’t feel my best but I’m back home and back on the track that I want to be on.

I just watched a woman stuff an incredibly greasy burger king bag into her purse. It creeped me out. Which is odd since I’m pretty much a huge grease ball after what I shoved in my face over the weekend. Call me butterball. Do it.


Thanksgiving Side Dish: Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash

  • Yield: 4-5 1x


  • 68 pieces of bacon
  • 5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (640 grams)
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (100 grams)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (70 grams)
  • 23 tablespoons bacon fat (rendered from cooking bacon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place strips of bacon on a foil lined baking sheet
  3. Cook bacon for 20 minutes. Bacon should still be slightly soft (not crispy) when you pull it out of the oven. Remove from baking sheet to cool on a paper towel lined plate. Chop bacon into small pieces once cooled. Place the rendered bacon fat in a large bowl.
  4. Add the cubed butternut squash, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt to the large bowl with the bacon fat.
  5. Mix together to coat the squash well. Add pieces of bacon to the mixture and mix well.
  6. Add mixture to a 9×11 glass baking dish.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  8. Place dish in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes (depending on size of cubed butternut squash) or until squash is soft.
  9. Serve immediately.

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PaleOMG Thanksgiving Side Dish Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash


More Sweet Sides:

PaleOMG Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes
Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes

Last Minute Thanksgiving Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes


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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


97 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Side Dish: Maple Bacon Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash”

  1. We’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time since becoming Paleo, and this is totally going to be on my spread! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks AMAZING! Okay now, this has nothing to do with this post…but I am having difficulty with coffee creamers. Canned coconut milk makes my coffee greasy and anything from a carton I find had to many preservatives in it. What do other people do…? thinking of using light canned coconut milk with vanilla and maybe water to thin it out? Any suggestions?

    1. Not sure if it’s on her website or just in the new book, but Against All Grain has a really nice coffee creamer that combines a bunch of goodness!

    2. Coconut milk getting oily? I’ve never heard that. Are you sure you aren’t using coconut oil? I use coconut milk everyday and I’ve never seen mine get like that? I do have to swirl my spoon when I poor it in slowly so it mixes in well. Maybe try a different brand of coconut milk.

    3. Coffee ‘creamer’ is easy: I make hot chocolate with organic cocoa powder, almond milk or coconut milk, stevia, vanilla, and a touch of mineral salt. I use that for mocha creamer. You can also make homemade egg nog with almond milk or coconut milk. Add some pumpkin pie spice and you have another awesome creamer. I also mix up cocoa powder, organic dried milk, stevia, and a pinch of mineral salt for a dried cocoa mix I sometimes stir into my coffee.

  3. I am so making this…. I will probably add in some sweet potatoes too, because sweet potatoes are amazing.

    1. I have no idea if it will work, but I know I have a big jar of molasses I’m thinking of using, since I have about 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup left… But honey sounds like it would work too!

  4. I started The Virgin Diet (eliminates 7 high-intolerance foods) in the middle of August. I used to be an Atkins devotee, i.e., heavy cream in my coffee with Splenda. Since beginning this elimination diet, I feel much better, dropped 8 pounds and still occasionally have a cheat…but NO gluten, EVER! I now use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk in my coffee with about a teaspoon and a half of raw, unrefined cane sugar. I tried Xylitol for awhile and it made me embarrassingly gassy. So, a small amount of organic, unrefined sugar seems to work best for me. Don’t be thrown by the lack of creamy appearance…I think after a few days of being off of dairy cream you’ll like the clean, non-greasy taste.

  5. I usually just read and laugh, smile…but I had to comment today. I seriously have a girl crush here. 😉 Your thoughtful, honest commentary mirror my internal dialogue. Rock.On. And keep up your awesomeness…

  6. Oh man! You totally nailed it! That is me at every party! Grr! But… thankfully (lie) I am doing a Clean Eating Challenge over the next 3 months. Crazy? Yes… Over the holidays? Yes… So… I will be thinking of this blog post… wanting everything on the dessert table, but not wanting it because of my crazy challenge.Thank you for this recipe. I will leave out the sweetner, but I am sure it will still taste delicious!

  7. This is probably the worst question of all time on a Paleo blog, but here it goes! I don’t eat red meat, and therefore, don’t eat bacon (don’t get me wrong, it smells delicious, but I just don’t do red meat). I’ve been eating a lot of Paleo lately, but it can be super limiting without eating red meat. Anywho- This looks so good and I want to make it for myself for Thanksgiving— so do you think I can sub the bacon fat with coconut oil?? or anything else? I’ll make the bacon version for the family, of course! Thanks for your help 🙂

    1. I don’t eat red meat either, but I don’t eat beef. Bacon is pork, which is a white meat (remember “the other white meat” commercials.?). Do you just not eat bacon? Most fats are interchangeable, so you could use coconut oil, but it will change the flavor profile.

      1. April, I didn’t even think about that. I actually only eat chicken, turkey, and fish. I was vegan for a few years, then vegetarian for about 7, and just started eating poultry about 1.5 years ago. I’m still on the fence about eating beef, pork, and other animals. It mostly now has to do with the disordered eating I still face from time to time.

        ANYWAY! In case anyone wants to know, I made this with olive oil instead of the bacon and it was AWESOME!!! Will definitely make it again. The rest of the family all loved it too, including my mother-in-law who has “hated butternut squash her whole life”!!

  8. My wife did a practice run of this last night using our homemade bacon. Holy crap. This stuff is crack!! Definitely going on the T-Day menu, but must be careful not to overindulge. Great recipe!!

  9. Never comment but laugh hysterically & religiously at all posts and all ridiculous comments on instagram. However this is for sure happening at thanksgiving. Thanks!

  10. This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it! Question though, I was going to make this for a potluck at work that we are having on Friday. Do you think this will reheat well the next day or do you have any tips for re-heating for the potluck?


  11. So I’m still enough of a kid that I’ve never helped make anything for Thanksgiving, except for a green salad (My mother-in-law handed me two bags of the Dole stuff last year and asked me to put it in a bowl with some cheese and toss it…and then made sure everyone raved about the salad I made at dinner. Ha.) And when I asked this year what to bring for Thanksgiving, I again got a “Just bring yourself!” But I’m going to try this one out on Wednesday. It sounds amazing.

  12. What about acorn squash? Do you think that would work just as well or is it stringier than butternut? No one wants stringy squash! Thanks!

  13. Prob a silly question but I usually am by the book with recipes. But I would like to add some cubed pieces of sweet potato. How many do you think I should add and would the cooking time remain the same? Skin/no skin?

    1. however many sweet potatoes you want, not sure how much you wanted to add. cooking time would still be the same if it’s the same amount as the recipe. and you can do skin or no skin

  14. Hey juli! Do you think this delicious side would be bad if we didnt serve immediately? I want to make it in the morning tomorrow but then it will obviously sit for a few hours before dinner. Any tips?

  15. This side dish was the hit of our Thanksgiving dinner! I had to work (life of a nurse), so I missed the meal, but when I got home I was told that it will now be required every year- even the picky nieces and nephews liked it!! I heated some up and loved it myself, think I’ll be making it again.

  16. I made this for Thanksgiving and it rocked!! I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of leftovers. Thank you!!

  17. Juli!!! Just wanted to let you know I made this last night & it was mind-BLASTING. It did not just blow my mind. It BLASTED my mind.
    Very good recipe & very doable for breakfast too, thanks so much!

  18. This is crazy good! Made it for Thanksgiving and ate way too much of it! I don’t eat pork so I subbed turkey bacon, and used 1 1/2 T coconut oil in place of the bacon fat. It was still amazing! Husband suggested it would also be good as a dessert. Oh, and THANK YOU for including ingredient weights! I’m never sure what a large onion is, or what constitutes “a tomato.” 🙂 My butternut squash was within 50 grams of yours, so at least I knew I was close.

  19. Juli, This was AMAZING! I served this yesterday and after one bite, it was requested as a regular dish for all future Thanksgivings. Ate the leftovers for breakfast this morning and it was perfect. THANK YOU!

  20. I made this for my non-paleo family this year at Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit!! To quote my husband “Anything that has bacon in it has to be good”. This blog has been my life saver, THANK YOU!!!

  21. This was delicious! Heated up leftovers, added a couple strips of fresh bacon and ate it on top of a gluten-free waffle.

  22. Made this for Thanksgiving dinner….it was to die for! Because of your recipes I was able to stick to eating healthy. Thank you so much….btw….toot toot!

  23. This was so good! This and the apple tartlets are the first Paleo recipes I’ve made. I came across your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed reading it. I’m sure different blogs have recipes similar to one another but not everyone reads all blogs, not to mention that we all tweak recipes, so keep them coming along with your humor!

  24. This was AMAZING! Even the people who didnt like squash ate this. Everyone asked what was in it and where I got it. I am on a detox diet, and everyone was worried I would only be able to eat the Turkey….They were all very impressed with the spread I prepared.

  25. This dish was a big hit at our Thanksgiving dinner! This is the first big holiday I’ve celebrated since trying Paleo, and I was worried about missing the mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole…this did just the trick! Everyone raved about it and my 85 year old grandmother even had me write out the recipe for her so she could try it at home!!

  26. Holy cow, Juli! This was awesome, and super easy! I hoarded the left overs. I’m going to make this all the time now. Thank you so much for providing yummy recipes for those of us with zero kitchen creativity. Love it!

  27. OMG I just made this recipe for Christmas and I cannot thank you enough….amazing!!! I have been Paleo for about 2 months now and I follow your blog religiously. Thank you so much for all of the amazing recipes…and hilarious commentary 🙂

  28. Oh my gosh..this dish is amazing. I added some turkey sausage for more protein and raved about it to my sister. I’m so excited about all your dishes. I am learning to have fun with food using your recipes which I have never done before. Thanks so much for sharing all your talents with us Paleo lovers.

  29. Side dish? This will be my main dish 🙂 Yum! I sense roast red peppers tossed in. Just what I was looking for. Thanks!

  30. I made these the other night and they were %@#!*$# obscenely delicious – you are nothing short of a food goddess and should be worshipped as such, or perhaps as a squash princess. ALL HAIL THE SQUASH PRINCESS!

  31. I just made this recipe vegan by substituting coconut oil for the bacon grease and several dashes of liquid smoke for the bacon. It is amazingly delicious! Thank you!

  32. I absolutely looooove this recipe and have made it a million times, but this time I only have pumpkin and no butternut squash. Do you think that would work? I assume yes since you said yes to sweet potatoes etc.

  33. I call this dessert 🙂

    I had no fear when we wound up with a whole lot of butternut squashes; I knew that you would help us go beyond our previous favorite of squash and sausage.

    I baked my bacon in a large cast iron skillet in the oven, and then used that pan for mixing and baking the squash.

    By the way, my pan cleaned up easily.

    To support your blog, we bought your latest book. We’ve flipped the pages a whole bunch of times, but have so many of your recipes marked here, I don’t know when we’ll get back to it. We’re glad to support your work, though, with the book purchase.

    Thank you for all the goodness that you put in our meals 🙂

  34. I made this last night to accompany roasted chicken. It was excellent! My husband and I ate almost the entire batch. Thanks for the great recipes.

  35. This looks so great!! I am making this for Thanksgiving, am concerned about oven space with the turkey though and the timing. Any suggestions about converting to a crockpot? I’m thinking I will double the recipe and cook on low in a crock for 4-5 hours, maybe starting on high the first hour. Any suggestions? thanks for sharing!

  36. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was easy to make and delicious! I used the already cubed butternut squash to save time. If only I didn’t have to share it with the 12 other people at the table haha

  37. Juli, you knock me out! Made this for Christmas dinner with roasted pork loin and a Norwegian sweet/sour cabbage w/apples concoctiion. Only one question….will you marry me? Thanks for the happy palate and tummy and Happy New Year!

  38. Made this last night. So dang good. Reminded me of my mom’s sweet potato casserole, minus all the butter and sugar. I’ll definitely be making this for Thanksgiving! Thanks as always!

  39. I am late to the party but found this recipe this week and made it tonight…might end up eating the whole thing by myself if hubby doesn’t hurry home from work. It looks as good as it taste! 😋

    I added sweet onions and am thoroughly enjoying it.

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