It couldn’t be simpler to make perfect, tender roasted acorn squash halves: this post will tell you everything you need to know, from a plant-based cookbook author, from the right temperatures to cutting techniques and seasoning ideas.
There is NOTHING cozier than roasted acorn squash; as a dietitian, I love that acorn squash is a nutrient-dense winter vegetable (well, technically it’s a fruit!) that keeps well so you can minimize food waste. I know that getting all your veg in can feel a bit more difficult when we’re so far from summer’s bounty. I for one am definitely not into a lot of cold food when I’m facing months of winter rain here in Vancouver!
Embracing root vegetables and winter squash will help you stay nourished during the cooler months while also being SO DANG comforting.
But what to do with acorn squash? Of all of the different types of squash, I like using acorn squash for stuffing because it isn’t too sweet so it works with many different types of fillings, from a grain and vegetable pilaf to a bread stuffing or a more plant protein-rich option like my vegan sausage stuffed acorn squash.
My stuffed squash recipe has been so popular, I thought I would do a How To post to show you how to prepare roasted acorn squash halves so you can use the roasted pulp in your favourite plant-based recipes or stuff with your own filling for a satisfying and cozy comfort meal with endless variations.
How to Cut Acorn Squash
Acorn squash can be a bit challenging to cut, but only because they are very dense, not flat and require a large, sharp knife to pierce their flesh. Otherwise, they are super quick to prepare!
If cutting acorn squash halves: If you want to keep the stem intact, place the squash on a non-slip surface and place hand firmly around the stem end of the squash. Pierce through the center of the squash with a sharp chef’s knife and then firmly press the knife through the flesh towards the stem end. Once that is cut, you can rotate the squash and cut through the stem end and scoop out the insides with a spoon.
If cutting acorn squash slices: cut as above, and then slice squash horizontally into ½ – 1 inch (1 – 2.5 cm) slices. Thin slices will cook more quickly!
How to Roast Acorn Squash, Step by Step
The most challenging part of roasting acorn squash is the first cut. Once that’s done, it’s super easy…especially because acorn squash is so flavourful, all it requires is a bit of salt and pepper and hands off cooking time and you’re DONE.
Cut Acorn Squash: slice stem to tip if making halves, then scoop out all the seedy pulp with a spoon and compost…or save those seeds for roasting!
Prep the Squash: Start by preheating the oven, I do 400 for halves so they have time to cook through and 425 for slices so they brown well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then rub the squash with some oil, salt and pepper so it’s well seasoned.
Bake the squash: Always place squash halves cut side down so the flesh can caramelize. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on size of squash, until the flesh is tender but not mushy (unless you want the pulp alone, then go ahead and cook until mushy!). If using slices, flip halfway through baking.
Always roast cut side down! This image simply shows you how they look after roasting: caramelized edges but not falling apart.
FAQ: Which herbs and spices go best with acorn squash?
Acorn squash isn’t as sweet as other types of squash, so it is really versatile. You could go classic with some thyme and vegan butter, or pump up the earthiness with a bit of cumin. Try chili powder, curry powder or go for a bit of smoke with some smoked paprika and brown sugar.
What to serve with roasted acorn squash
Roasted acorn squash halves can be scooped and enjoyed as a mash, perhaps with a little extra vegan butter and some garlic powder. Hot tip: try layering leftovers into tostadas. Or, you can take a grain bowl approach to the roasted halves, filling them with a mixture of whatever you have on hand, like leftover cooked whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Fill with a farro pilaf, chili or even a chickpea scramble. The possibilities are limitless! I love serving sliced, roasted acorn squash as a side dish too.
FAQ: can you eat acorn squash skin?
Yes, you can! When it’s roasted, the thin skin of acorn squash can be eaten so if you’re slicing it thin for adding to a grain bowl or as a side dish, no need to peel! Of course, once it’s roasted, the skin peels off really easily too if that’s not your thing.
FAQ: is acorn squash low FODMAP?
Monash University has just released FODMAP testing results for acorn squash! One-third cup (75 mL) of raw acorn squash is a low FODMAP serving…which isn’t a lot, more like 1/4 cup cooked. At a half cup, it becomes moderate in fructans. So you might need to look at other low FODMAP plant foods to get your veg in.
Even more squash recipes
Creamy Kabocha Squash Curry with Chickpeas
Cumin Roasted Acorn Squash with Hemp Chile Crumble
Winter Panzanella Salad with Kale and Roasted Squash
Easy Weeknight Vegan Soba Noodles with Squash & Greens
Tender Roasted Acorn Squash Halves
2 acorn squash about 1 pound (450 g) each
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
salt to taste
freshly cracked pepper to taste
The post Tender Roasted Acorn Squash Halves appeared first on Desiree Nielsen.