This recipe offers an entire vegetarian Thanksgiving meal in one dish: creamy butternut squash, crisp green beans, cornbread with savory herbs, cranberries and pecans, plus buttered carrots. It makes a beautiful centerpiece of the feast or a deluxe side. Save the extra squash you scoop from the middle before stuffing to make soup or for roasting. It’s a little work removing the flesh with a melon baller, but consider it prep for another meal.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat and place a rack on top.
Halve the butternut squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds and discard. Using a melon baller, cut a channel into the neck of the squash, leaving a 3/4-inch border of flesh on the sides and bottom. Save the removed squash for another use or discard. Season the flesh with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a small skillet. Add the celery and onions and cook just until softened, about 3 minutes. Combine the celery and onions, cornbread, rosemary, thyme, sage, cranberries and pecans in a bowl and toss to combine well. Add the vegetable stock and mix just until moistened and combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Line the bottom of each butternut squash half with a layer of green beans. Top with the cornbread filling. Lay the carrot down the middle of 1 of the squash halves. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the butter over the carrot (enough to generously coat) and dot the cornbread mixture evenly with the remaining butter. Sprinkle the carrot with the brown sugar. Slide the squash pieces next to each other and carefully close the butternut squash and lay on one side. Tie in the middle and at each end with butcher’s twine.
Crumple a piece of aluminum foil into a 24-inch-long “snake”. Curl this around and place on the prepared rack. Nestle the squash inside it so the squash sits flat on the rack and doesn’t roll.
Drizzle the whole squash with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until a knife easily slides through all of the layers, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let it sit for 10 minutes. Slice crosswise and serve.
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