Tender slices of spiced maple roasted acorn squash sprinkled with ruby pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds. It's both a beautiful and delicious addition to your fall and Thanksgiving table. While many recipes for acorn squash take an hour, this one is ready in about 20 minutes, making it easy to serve anytime.
With golden-orange flesh and a blackish-green ridged exterior, acorn squash looks like a giant acorn. When roasted, acorn squash is tender with an earthy, savory, lightly sweet taste. For the glaze, mix olive oil, maple syrup, and spices. Slip slices into the oven brushed with the glaze and in just a few minutes you have a terrific side dish to serve.
- Choose a smaller squash, about 2 ½ pounds, they are easier to handle than bigger ones.
- Use real maple syrup, not the fake colored stuff.
- To save time, buy the packaged pomegranate seeds (but they are easy to cut up, read here).
- For spices, use cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, a little clove or a blend like Chinese Five Spice. If you like warm spices, it's terrific.
- For how to toast pumpkin seeds, see this post. It's easy! Make them ahead and try not to eat them all (make extra).
How to Cut Up Squash
Hard winter squashes look a little intimidating to cut up, but with a sharp heavy chefs knife, you can do it. Here are a few tips.
- Use a knife with some heft to it, a 9" - 10" chefs knife is good. The sharper, the better.
- Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the squash. This provides a flat, stable base on which to work.
- Stand the squash up and cut through the center, top to bottom.
- Next, scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
- Lay the halves flat and slice into approximately 1" pieces.
Tools for Best Results
- Rimmed baking sheets, half sheet size.
- For a set of circular cuttings rings that work for lots of kitchen jobs see this link (optional).
- A sharp heavy chef's knife.
- Spoon to scoop seeds out.
- Parchment paper or foil.
Spice it Up
Looking into my spice drawer, I chose Chinese Five Spice for this recipe. Not familiar with it? Chinese Five Spice is a wonderful blend of cinnamon, star anise, fennel seed, cloves, ginger and sometimes black pepper. Use it like cinnamon for a nice twist on spiced flavors.
Instead, make your own warm spice blend with cinnamon and nutmeg, or get fancier and add a little ginger, clove and allspice. If you are adventurous, try the Five Spice. If more traditional, go the cinnamon route.
To roast the squash, lay slices flat on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, brush with the maple-oil-spice blend, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 425° for 16-18 minutes. Timing will depend on your oven. Squash should be tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
Lay slices on a platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds to serve.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
- Baking sheet
- Baking parchment paper or foil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons Chinese Five Spice FOR OPTIONS SEE NOTES BELOW
- 2 1 ½ pound acorn squash
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Make the glaze by combining the maple syrup, oil, and spices.
- Prep squash. With a large, sharp, heavy knife, such as a 9"-10" chefs knife, lay the acorn squash on its side and slice a small piece off the top and bottom. Stand the squash flat and cut through the center, splitting it in half. With a spoon, scoop seeds and fibers out and discard.
- Lay the squash halves flat and cut the halves into ¾" slices. To clean up the inner edges, use a paring knife or circular cookie cutters. Lay slices flat on prepared baking sheet. Brush with the glaze, then sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in the oven for 16-18 minutes or until the squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Plate slices on a platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds to serve.