Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
on Nov 22, 2021, Updated Nov 13, 2023
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With savory, sweet and spicy flavors, this easy roasted acorn squash recipe is a great side dish. The squash is seasoned with cayenne pepper and glazed with maple syrup. Once it finishes roasting, I arrange the squash slices on a serving plate and sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, goat cheese and fresh herbs.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
You don’t have to peel the squash. Depending on the variety, the bumpy but beautiful shape can make it a challenge to peel. Acorn squash is best left with its skin on. As it bakes, the skin softens up and is wonderful to eat adding good texture.
The marinade for the squash is a fantastic combination of flavors. With just 5 ingredients including maple syrup and cayenne pepper, it enhances the natural sweetness of the squash while giving it a little kick.
You can substitute with another type of winter squash. Delicate squash, kabocha squash, red kuri squash and delicata squash are all good options. They also do not require peeling.
How To Cut Acorn Squash
All you need to prep acorn squash is a chef’s knife, a cutting board and a spoon.
To cut the acorn squash:
1. Trim the top stem end and bottom of the squash. This gives you a flat side to put down on the cutting board.
2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. A sharp knife is very helpful for this step.
3. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. You also want to drag the spoon on the flesh to get rid of any loose strings.
4. Slice the squash crosswise into half-rings.
This is what you need:
- Acorn Squash: When you’re looking for acorn squash at the grocery or market, find squash that feel heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth, and they shouldn’t have any soft spots.
- Maple Syrup: Of course, maple syrup does add some sweetness, but when you combine it with savory ingredients, I think it is more about adding the essence of fall-winter flavors.
- Olive Oil: This is the base of the marinade for the squash.
- Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper: For seasonings, I use the obvious salt and pepper plus cayenne pepper for heat.
- Walnuts: This recipe isn’t just about roasting the squash. The toppings you add after it’s out of the oven are important too. Walnuts give the squash something nutty.
- Pumpkin seeds add nice crunch.
- Pomegranate seeds: I love the sweet, tart and juicy bite of pomegranate seeds.
- Goat cheese: Creamy and kind of tangy, goat cheese is another component to finish this side. If you want to keep it vegan, then skip the cheese.
- Scallions: Sliced scallions are crisp and oniony.
- Parsley: I garnish the roasted squash with fresh herbs.
How To Make Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prep and cut the acorn squash.
1. Whisk together the marinade including the oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
2. Add the squash slices to the marinade tossing them around in the mixture, ao they are well coated.
3. Arrange the squash on a sheet pan. Do not line it with parchment paper and make sure the slices are not overlapping. They will brown better if they maximize contact with the pan.
4. Roast the squash. Start with 20 minutes. Flip the slices over to the other side and continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes. The squash should be tender, golden and browned at the edges.
5. Put the roasted squash on a serving plate and sprinkle with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, scallions and fresh parsley.
This is a great fall side that also feels appropriate served all the way through winter. The pomegranate seeds give it something a bit holiday, so think of this dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas to go with roasted turkey.
Leftovers & Storage
This roasted acorn squash is best served warm immediately after it finishes roasting. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. You can warm them in a 350-degree F oven. Just put the squash without the goat cheese or pomegranate seeds on the pan when you reheat it.
Try to the squash slices the same thickness. This helps them all bake in the same amount of time.
Keep an eye on the squash as it roasts. Watch out for hot spots in your oven. You may need to rotate the sheet pan or lightly drape a piece of foil over one or more of the wedges if they are browning too quickly.
No! Once you roast the squash, the skin will soften up. It adds a nice chewy bite.
I like to roast it at 375 degrees F.
Roast it on one side for 20 minutes, and then flip it to the other side to finish roasting for another 15-20 minutes.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Trim the bottom off the acorn squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Slice crosswise into into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add the squash and stir it around, coating all the slices.
- Arrange the squash in a single layer on a sheet pan making sure the slices are not overlapping
- Roast the squash for 20 minutes. Flip the squash to the other side and continue roasting for 15 minutes until it is tender and golden brown in spots.
- Arrange the squash on a serving platter and top with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, scallions and parsley.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.