This ingenious 3-ingredient recipe makes the best cool-weather snack or appetizer: it matches the supremely good combination of bacon and pumpkin with a carefully-tested seasoning. Read on to find out more!
Tips for preparing the Bacon-Wrapped Butternut Squash or Pumpkin
This is a very simple and easy recipe. Cutting the butternut squash or pumpkin is the hardest part, as you need some elbow grease, and of course it takes some time to chop the flesh into “sticks.” Be sure to have a sharp enough knife: it makes the job much easier. It’s also a good idea to place a damp towel under the butternut squash or pumpkin to prevent it from slipping. Be extra careful with your fingers when cutting!
Butternut squash is higher in carbs than pumpkin, so choose your fruit (yes, both butternut squash and pumpkins are technically fruit!) according to your carb allowance. Just be sure to choose a firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash: they won’t get too soft or release too much fluid during baking. Too-soft fruit will prevent the bacon from getting crisp as well.
Cut your butternut squash or pumpkin into sticks that are approximately 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) wide and some 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. Wrap the sticks in bacon. One bacon slice per squash/pumpkin stick should suffice. Then, just sprinkle a little bit of onion powder (the secret ingredient!) on top of each wrapped squash/pumpkin stick and bake. That’s it!
The exact amount of bacon might be difficult to estimate as one butternut squash or pumpkin — even a small one — makes so many sticks. My 1,250 gram (2.8 lbs) butternut squash made 35 sticks and I had reserved only 16 bacon slices, so I could wrap only 16 butternut squash sticks in bacon. The rest I tossed with olive oil, onion powder, and salt and baked as butternut squash “fries.” Also delicious!
One more thing: don’t overbake. Be sure to leave the butternut squash or pumpkin crisp-tender — you don’t want it to get too soft. Soggy butternut squash or pumpkin is probably the least appetizing thing there is! And it’s also difficult to eat since it easily falls apart. Crisp bacon and crisp-tender butternut squash or pumpkin guarantees the most delicious results.
Here’s how to make this delicious bacon-wrapped treat (everything bacon-wrapped is a treat by definition, don’t you think?):
Take a small, firm-flesh butternut squash or pumpkin.
Cut off the ends.
Cut the fruit in half.
Peel. (Actually, the order in which you do this really doesn’t matter: you can also peel the squash/pumpkin before halving.)
Scoop out the seeds.
Cut into sticks.
Take the bacon slices.
Wrap each stick with a slice of bacon.
Place the bacon-wrapped sticks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Here we go.
Sprinkle a little bit of onion powder on top of each stick.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately as a snack, side or appetizer.
My bacon-wrapped butternut squash experiments
I actually made this recipe last year. The video is also from a little over a year ago—21st September 2017. I was planning to post the recipe here on my blog but somehow didn’t manage to get around to it. I think it was just because I thought it was too simple a recipe, though it certainly was delicious. Plus, I had already posted a bacony butternut squash recipe, so I might have decided that that was enough bacon and butternut squash for one fall.
Last year I was all about bacon everything, especially bacon-wrapped everything, which is why I wanted to see what kind of an appetizer bacon-wrapped pumpkin or butternut squash would make. I remember I tried the plain version first—just butternut squash sticks wrapped in bacon—and it was pretty good. But I thought something was missing, and that the taste could be improved.
So I made another batch of bacon-wrapped butternut squash sticks and tried out different seasonings. I remember I tested the recipe very carefully, especially when it came to the spices that would complement the bacon-butternut squash combination. I tried 10 different seasonings, and simple onion powder was the winner. It was a perfect match for the bacon and butternut squash. Cajun seasoning was really good as well, but onion powder was still the best. I was a bit surprised because it’s just onion — not a fancy spice mix like BBQ or Cajun seasoning—and it’s not even piquant like cayenne pepper or chipotle.
This year, I found the videos I had made last year, and decided it was about time to post this simple recipe since it was so darn good. I searched for the notes I had made about the recipe, especially the seasoning experiments. I went through all the relevant files on my computer but found nothing. I was really curious about the spices I had used and the tests I had made. I had carefully rated each seasoning—and now I couldn’t find my notes! Grr. I couldn’t even find evidence of how long I’d baked the butternut squash sticks in the oven, but I remembered that it was some 25-35 minutes. Well, now I had to buy some more butternut squash and try it out again.
Wait! Suddenly I remembered that I had written my seasoning experiments and ratings on paper, on a small yellow Post-it note that got a bit dirty in the process. I still remember the stains in it. I have hundreds of Post-it notes lying around and at least the same amount packed away in boxes. There was no way I would easily find that specific Post-it note — if it even existed anymore, that is. But if I ever come across it, I’ll definitely post the seasoning experiments and the ratings here!
Anyway, now I didn’t have any other choice than to rely on my memory and use onion powder as I remember it being the best seasoning for bacon and butternut squash. I know I had tried—at least—cayenne pepper, chipotle, curry, lemon pepper, Cajun seasoning, BBQ seasoning, and several herbs. I also remember I tried a version in which I added the seasonings before wrapping the butternut squash in bacon, but ultimately I preferred the version where the seasoning was sprinkled on top of the bacon-wrapped squash.
So I bought two butternut squashes, made the recipe and shot the photos. I already had the video. I was prepared to bake the bacon-wrapped butternut squash sticks for 25-35 minutes, and it took exactly 30 minutes for the bacon to become crispy and the butternut squash crisp-tender.
I was really satisfied with the recipe and so was my family. I bet you’ll love it, too!
|Approximate nutrition information if butternut squash used:||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total (1 bacon-wrapped butternut squash stick):||2.8 g||5.6 g||2.5 g||72 kcal|
|Approximate nutrition information if pumpkin used:||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total (1 bacon-wrapped pumpkin stick):||2.8 g||5.6 g||1.6 g||67 kcal|
Tips for variation
You can also conduct your own experiments to figure out which spices and seasonings you prefer with these bacon-wrapped butternut squash or pumpkin “fries.” Take a look at what you have in your pantry and be brave! There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same kind of test I did: Sprinkle a different seasoning on each bacon-wrapped squash or pumpkin stick, bake, and see which one you like most!
The only way to make this dish better is to serve it with a tasty, creamy dip. You can make an “instant” dip simply by combining sour cream with Garlic Bread Seasoning and adding a pinch of salt. Other easy dips include this Chipotle Mayo Dip, this Fruity Curried Mayo Dip, this Ranch Dip, this Spicy Cajun Avocado Mayo, and also this Sugar-Free Sweet Chili Sauce. They’re all fabulous with the Bacon-Wrapped Butternut Squash or Pumpkin.