Roasted squash with pine nuts is a gorgeous transition to autumn dining, with sweet delicata squash that has crispy, caramelized edges, and a meltingly tender interior. Add a sprinkling of buttery pine nuts and flaky sea salt and you’re done.
The summer growing season in Maine is short and motley, producing crops in such quick succession that late summer culminates in a harvest of unlikely vegetable bedfellows. Of course, Maine has those incomparable lobster rolls or those renowned blueberries, but this recipe is a love letter to the Pine Tree State.–Kate Shaffer
Roasted Squash with Pine Nuts
- 2 (1 1/2 to 2 lbs) delicata squashes seeded and cut into 3/4-inch (20 mm) cubes, or substitute peeled butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for baking sheet
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 pinch granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup (1 oz) pine nuts*
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil, cumin, coriander, sugar, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Slick a rimmed baking sheet with a light coating of oil. Spread seasoned squash in a single layer on baking sheet and roast until golden and tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
- In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts until fragrant and golden, stirring often, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer roasted squash to a large serving bowl. Scatter toasted pine nuts over squash and garnish with extra sprigs of thyme. Serve immediately.
*What can I substitute for pine nuts?Pine nuts are absolutely one of the tastiest nuts out there (actually…they’re seeds) but they’re also one of the most expensive. And occasionally they can be hard to find. So what to do? Cashews have a remarkably similar flavor, as do pumpkin seeds. Almonds and pistachios are often used in cuisines that also favor pine nuts so, depending on what you’re doing, they might be a suitable option too.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I have an abundance of butternut squash in my vegetable garden so I was thrilled to see this recipe for roasted squash with pine nuts and excited to try something new. My squash was on the large size, about 3 lbs. It was roasted perfectly at 45 minutes, soft on the inside with a bit of crust on the edges. The savory spices with the sweetness of the butternut were a good combination and the toasted pine nuts added a nice dimension.
We enjoyed this dish but thought something was missing. Since I have so much butternut squash, I decided to try it again with the same size squash. I increased the spices by half and sprinkled a little balsamic glaze on before roasting. I think this amount of spice was more appropriate for the size of my squash. The balsamic glaze added a little sweet tanginess and also helped the pine nuts stick to the chunks of squash so you didn’t have to chase them around the plate to get some with each bite. I served this with the everything bagel chicken cutlets and a Caprese salad.
This roasted squash with pine nuts is a straightforward side dish that fits perfectly into the autumn side dish line-up. It can also be paired with late summer veggies like tomatoes and green beans for a light vegetarian dinner which is how I served it. The roasted pine nuts add depth to the squash along with a slight crunch to keep things interesting.
This recipe for roasted squash with pine nuts was very simple and a great mid-week recipe. I usually do roasted veggies but this one had a nice twist with the pine nuts. It went very well with salmon.
Whenever you find yourself craving some autumnal comfort, look no further. This roasted squash with pine nuts is the perfect side dish and manages to deliver something not only delicious but also sophisticated and elegant with minimal effort.
I used delicata which I recommend not only for the flavor and variety it will bring to your meal, but also for the added bonus of its timesaving edible skin- who doesn’t love one less step? The pine nuts add the perfect buttery contrast in both flavor and texture, while the cumin, coriander, and thyme add the perfect background spice adding some warmth and a bit of savory mystery as they harmoniously work to coat the perfect little bite of squash. I served the squash with sumac roast chicken and a bright green salad.
Originally published September 12, 2021