The name says it all. Acorn squash is sliced into wedges, drizzled with olive oil and maple syrup, and roasted. A simple, sweet, dare we say elegant cold-weather side dish.
This simple vegetable dish is autumn on a plate. The sugars in the squash caramelize, creating deep earthy flavors, and the maple syrup sets into a candy-like coating. It is delicious directly out of the oven, but equally divine cold the next day!–Hope Cohen
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CUT UP A SQUASH?
Proceed with caution when you make this lovely roasted acorn squash with maple syrup. Not because its candy-like sweetness will make you forget every other acorn squash recipe. (It will.) Not because it’s particularly complicated. (It’s not.) And not because we think discerning palates at your table will turn up their noses at this riff on a classic. (They won’t.) Proceed with caution because this recipe involves wielding a rather large and sharp chef’s knife, and we want to make certain you do this mindfully and methodically. Acorn squash has a notoriously thick shell.
Requisite equipment for bypassing it includes a sharp knife, a steady hand, and a sturdy cutting board that won’t slip. Rather than using a big old chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife can work wonders on squash because of its toothy grip. And some folks swear by nuking the whole squash for a couple of minutes on high prior to trying to slice it. Whatever you do, just do so carefully. We care about you, dear reader. And your lovely digits.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup
- Extreme care as you slice the squash into wedges
- 1 2 lbs acorn squash cut lengthwise into eighths and seeded
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a large bowl, toss the squash wedges with the oil and then arrange them on the foil-lined baking sheet. (Don’t worry whether the squash wedges are on their cut sides or teetering on their curved rind side. It really doesn’t matter unless you want the squash’s cut side to get extra caramelized, in which case you want the cut-side down on the foil.) Sprinkle the squash liberally with salt and pepper and roast until the squash is tender and beginning to brown in places, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Pour the maple syrup over the squash, turning to coat it well. Continue to roast the acorn squash, basting it with any syrup that pools on the baking sheet at least twice, until the squash is glazed and bronzed, 5 to 15 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the slices. Arrange on a dish or platter, spoon any maple syrup left on the baking sheet over the squash and serve immediately. Originally published November 20, 2014.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’ve made this type of roasted acorn squash previously with other toppings, but this is my new favorite way of preparing it. We very much liked the sweet and earthy flavor of this dish. I can see it as an excellent accompaniment to many autumn meals.
The roasting time was perfect at a total of 18 minutes. I basted the squash 3 times. There was a bit of maple syrup liquid at the bottom of the baking sheet, which I poured over the squash in the serving dish.
I usually slice acorn squash in half and add some butter and cinnamon and bake it until tender, but we loved the maple flavor of this roasted acorn squash recipe. I can see making this for the holidays, maybe even with a few pecans added during the last few minutes. I’d even do some carrots with the same maple syrup glaze. Either way, the recipe holds its own.
I’m always a little cautious about cutting into acorn squash, so I put it in the microwave first for about 5 minutes to soften it and was able to pierce it with ease. I followed the recipe exactly and the squash still took the same amount of time to get nice and glazed.
This roasted acorn squash with maple syrup was a simple, colorful, and delicious side next to a pork roast at Sunday dinner. This would be an easy recipe to prep and roast a day ahead then finish off in a sauté pan before serving.
A sprinkle of roasted and roughly chopped walnuts or hazelnuts would make a nice crunchy garnish. I used 1/2 cup maple syrup, and next time, I will cut back the amount of maple syrup by half.
I’ve made acorn squash with maple syrup my entire cooking life, although I was intrigued by this roasted acorn squash recipe because of its technique. I used a 2-pound acorn squash. Check for the squash to be tender starting at the 15-minute mark. The squash may not be completely soft at this point, remember that you are going to baste it in a sugary liquid and cook it for 5 to 15 more minutes, so it will continue to soften quite a bit more.
I think the only thing missing from this recipe is butter. I’d like to add melted butter before roasting to prevent the squash from forming that dry layer on top.
Originally published November 20, 2014