Butternut Squash with Cocoa Nib Vinaigrette

adapted from The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger & Robert Steinberg
serves 3-4 as a side


  • 2 lb butternut squash, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional 1-2 Tbsp. for roasting squash
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Askinosie cocoa nibs
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 strips Nueske’s Applewood-Smoked bacon
  • 1 tbsp reserved bacon grease
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a knife, separate neck and bulb portions of squash. Cut crosswise into 1/8″ thick slices.
Toss with just enough olive oil to coat and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Arrange on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until soft and golden; some thinner pieces may crisp a touch!

Combine olive oil, vinegar, nibs and shallot in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk, whisk, whisk.
Fry the bacon until crispy; remove from heat and drain – reserving about 1 Tbsp. of grease. Crumble up.

In a large saute pan, toss the roasted squash with the reserved grease* over medium heat, to re-warm.
*Use just enough to barely coat the squash; you don’t want the dish to be overly greasy!

Once warmed, toss the squash in a large bowl with the vinaigrette.
Plate and drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over top, along with bacon crumbles.