Roasted acorn squash makes for a delicious and beautiful vegetarian side dish, and this recipe features thick wedges of maple-glazed and spiced acorn squash topped with creamy goat cheese, dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts, and with a sprinkle of micro greens!
Roasted Acorn Squash, Pretty Little Wedges of Deliciousness
I've always found acorn squash to be such a beautiful and delicious little squash to use in my cooking, especially when it comes to festive fall recipes.
With its wavy-curvy shape, it's bright, green-orange skin and pale orange flesh, acorn squash is definitely a show-stopper, culinarily speaking. It can be prepared very simply by roasting until deliciously tender and mildly sweet.
For years I've enjoyed preparing acorn squash stuffed to the brim with a spicy and delicious filling of ground beef, quinoa and black beans.
But this pretty little recipe featuring thick-sliced wedges seasoned with spices and tossed with maple syrup before being roasted until slightly caramelized is my latest favorite way to enjoy it.
Finished with a touch of goat cheese, some sweet and colorful dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and a flourish of micro greens for both color and fresh flavor, this recipe for roasted acorn squash is a stunning and colorful centerpiece that makes for a delicious vegetarian side dish!
How to Roast Acorn Squash to Sweet and Savory Perfection
Thick wedges of acorn squash roast up to delectably tender perfection in right around 40 minutes. The best way to know when your wedges are finished roasting is when they can easily be pierced with a paring knife.
When acorn squash is roasted just right and has that soft and buttery texture, this makes the nutrient-rich skin totally edible, so feel free to enjoy it if you wish!
Because acorn squash is quite hard when raw, the toughest part about preparing it can be cutting it; but if you use a nice and sharp knife, you'll have no issue cutting through.
Here's a quick overview of my roasted acorn squash recipe: (or just jump to the recipe...)
- First, I prep and cut each acorn squash in half, then each half into three thick wedges to create a total of 6 wedges per squash; I then season the wedges with some olive oil, maple, and spices.
- I roast the acorn squash cut-side down, flipping it twice for more even caramelization, then finishing skin side down until it can easily be pierced with a paring knife, roughly 40 minutes total roasting time.
- Once roasted and tender yet still warm, I arrange the roasted acorn squash on a serving platter, then drizzle with a bit of additional maple syrup, and top with a generous sprinkle of creamy goat cheese, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and micro greens before serving.
Roasted Acorn Squash
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 304 calories (per 2 squash wedges)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
- 2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds each)
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling over before serving
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup micro greens or micro herbs
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To prepare the acorn squash, wash and dry it thoroughly; then, place it in front of you on a work surface, and using a sharp knife, cut the squash, lengthwise, in half through the stem; scoop out the seeds and membrane, then cut each half into 3 wedges to create a total of 6 wedges per squash.
- Add the wedges to a large bowl, and drizzle over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and black pepper, the cinnamon, coriander, cumin and paprika, and the 1/4 cup maple syrup; toss the wedges very well (I just use my clean hands for this) until completely and evenly coated.
- Place each wedge cut-side down onto the prepared baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes on that first side; then, using tongs, flip each wedge so that the other cut-side is now facing down on the baking sheet, and roast for another 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn each wedge upright (with it's skin-side down now), and roast an additional 5 minutes, making the total roasting time 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and leave the acorn squash on the baking sheet, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
- To serve, place the wedges onto your serving platter, drizzle over an additional couple of tablespoons of maple syrup, and crumble the goat cheese over top, along with the dried cranberries, the roasted hazelnuts, and the micro greens/herbs; serve warm.
Tips & Tidbits for my Roasted Acorn Squash:
- Wash the squash, and use a natural wax-remover, if possible: Washing the acorn squash before cooking is typically enough; but if your squash seems to have a waxy finish, and you'd like to enjoy eating the skin once roasted, I'd recommend using a natural, fruit and veggie wax remover before cutting and roasting—it will make the skin a lot more enjoyable!
- Crank the oven temperature up: To get some nice color and caramelization on the squash, set the oven temp to 400° and roast the wedges on their cut-sides, flipping them during roasting, then finishing for the last 5 minutes on the skin side. This will help the wedges to roast and gain color rather than sort of “steam” in their natural liquid.
- Use maple as a sweetener, or even honey: Keeping with a fall theme here, I'm opting for pure maple syrup as the glaze on this roasted acorn squash; but honey will work really well too, so feel free to use that if it's what you have on hand.
- Substitutions for goat cheese: Other tasty options for cheese here are feta cheese, blue cheese, or shaved parmesan.
- Getting nutty: I love the flavor of toasted hazelnuts here, but you can sub pine nuts, walnuts, or pecans, or even leave the nuts off if you want.
- Micro greens or larger herbs: I love a combination of micro herbs or micro greens sprinkled over top of the roasted acorn squash, but you can also finely chop some parsley or cilantro if you can't find any at your local market.