Learn how to roast acorn squash for an easy Fall side dish. This simple and easy roasted acorn squash is sweet but without any refined sugars and made with just 3 ingredients.
I will forever be unable to separate this recipe from a moment in time about seven years ago when Dustin’s father, Rollie, had suddenly become very ill.
While I waited with Dustin and his family at his grandparents’ home in Arkansas to learn more about his condition, everyone sat around the living room and told stories of Rollie.
We all laughed and cried. And laughed some more. Rollie would have loved seeing everyone, but I know he would have been so annoyed that all this fuss was about him.
Though many aspects of our lives had been put on hold at that time, as we tried to adjust to Rollie’s sudden illness and hospitalization, one constant remained: We all needed to eat.
In an effort to help, I made this recipe for everyone one night.
At least I could share some good food with everyone during this hard time.
I first learned how to make roasted acorn squash from my mom, who would make roasted acorn squash often during the Fall by just roasting it with some brown sugar sprinkled over the top. I remember loving it as a kid.
Nowadays, I substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar to make the roasted acorn squash healthy.
So sweet. Literally and metaphorically.
Fun fact about acorn squash – acorn squash is a winter squash. However, it belongs to the same family as pumpkin and butternut squash – the summer squash family. It just needs a little more time in the sun. I like to enjoy it during Fall. Or during winter in the form of a delicious acorn squash soup. But more about that later. For now, let’s focus our attention on learning how to prepare acorn squash and how to roast acorn squash.
HOW TO ROAST ACORN SQUASH
You won’t believe how easy it is to make roasted acorn squash. I just love the sweetness you get from roasting acorn squash. I mean… it’s hard to go wrong with tossing some coconut sugar on it. It’s like acorn squash and candy had a baby. For realz.
Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to perfect roasted acorn squash goodness:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
- Slice the acorn squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds.
- Lay flat, cut-side-down, and slice into 1 inch – 1 1/2 inch slices starting at the stem.
- Lay the acorn squash slices out evenly on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and sea salt (if you’d like).
- Roast. How long to bake acorn squash for? I’d say 40-50 minutes or until the squash is tender and a fork pierces the flesh easily.
Poof: You just learned how to roast acorn squash. Congratulations!
HOW TO TELL IF AN ACORN SQUASH IS RIPE
So… that’s it?
Nope! Of course not. Teaching you how to roast acorn squash was on my list but so is making sure your baked acorn squash is perfect and delicious. So teaching you how to bake acorn squash was just the first step of the process.
Next step, how to tell if acorn squash is ripe.
Luckily, there are some very easy ways to tell if an acorn squash is at it’s best when you’re at the grocery store.
- Choose an acorn squash that is heavy for its size
- Look for smooth, dull skin and no soft spots
- The acorn squash should have a good balance between green and orange coloring (too much orange means the flesh will be stringy due to being over-ripe and too much green means it hasn’t fully matured)
- If possible, try to avoid any acorn squash that has shiny skin since that likely means it was picked before it was mature.
HOW TO CUT AN ACORN SQUASH
The 3rd step involves learning how to cut acorn squash.
Cutting through and opening up an acorn squash is a little tricky if you’ve never tried it before. I can still remember watching my mom hit the end of her chef knife with a mallet over and over again trying to pry it through the hard exterior of the acorn squash. Here are some tips to make it as easy as possible for you:
- Use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut acorn squash. Pick one of the valleys in between the ridges on the outside of the squash, which go from the top to the bottom of the squash. Making this first cut will take some strength and force. Reposition your knife and use that initial cut as your entry point for slicing all the way through.
- Make the first cut on one side of the stem, cutting straight down until you feel the knife break through the exterior and into the hollow center. If you’re nervous about your hand slipping, you can try using a towel.
- Continue cutting the squash around the tip, repositioning the knife along the way if it feels like your knife is stuck. Remember to keep your fingers tucked in and out of the way of the knife.
- Once you’ve cut all the way around the squash and are back at the stem, pick up the acorn squash and pull it apart with your hands, not with the knife. Don’t worry about cutting off the stem – it can be roasted with it on. Scrape out the seeds using a spoon.
- If you’re not filling your acorn squash with some sort of stuffing, lay the squash down, flat-side down, and slice into 1-2 inch slices for roasting.
ACORN SQUASH NUTRITION
Before moving to the next step, let’s take a short break and talk about acorn squash nutrition, shall we? You know I gotta add in why it’s so nutritious for ya!
Raw Acorn Squash Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup)
- 40 calories
- Total Fat 0.1 g
- Sodium 3 mg
- Potassium 347 mg
- Carbs 10 g
- Fiber 1.5 g
- Protein 0.8 g
- Vitamins – vitamin A, Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D
- Minerals – calcium, iron, and magnesium.
This was me trying to tell you that this is a healthy acorn squash recipe. In case you were wondering.
HOW TO COOK ACORN SQUASH
Back to our steps now. We’re at step no. 4, which means learning how to cook acorn squash.
You can, of course, use my recipe to make a perfectly roasted acorn squash. But the acorn squash possibilities are endless so I have to discuss what to do with acorn squash besides roasting it.
Let’s start with the basics, meaning different cooking acorn squash techniques.
- Savory baked acorn squash – similar to my roasted acorn squash recipe. But instead of coconut sugar or raw honey, you use a savory rub made with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Microwaved acorn squash – the lazy version for roasting acorn squash. All you have to do for getting your acorn squash ready for the microwave is to cut it in half and place it side down on a dish. Microwave for approximately 10 minutes. Turn the acorn squash side up. Fill the center with coconut sugar and raw honey, cover the top and microwave for another 2 or 3 minutes.
- Whipped acorn squash or boiled acorn squash – Put the acorn squash cut into cubes into a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Drain, place the acorn squash on a cutting board and remove the skin. Return to the pot and add coconut sugar and your favorite spices (nutmeg is a good idea). Mash the acorn squash with a fork until smooth.
What else to do with acorn squash? Let’s see. You can:
- Roast it and add it to a salad;
- Make acorn squash puree and add it to oatmeal;
- Use it in a pie. You can use a pumpkin pie recipe and substitute pumpkin for acorn squash.
CAN YOU EAT ACORN SQUASH SKIN?
The 5th step is how to eat acorn squash but I don’t have too many things to say about that. You cook it and you eat it. Pretty straightforward I’d say. Instead, I’ll let you know if you can eat acorn squash skin.
If you’re wondering if you can eat acorn squash skin, the answer is yes, you sure can! In fact, it’s a delicious part of the squash. The trick is that you need to roast it until it’s tender or it will be too tough to eat. However, once roasted and tender, acorn squash skin is totally edible and yummy so no need to peel!
FREEZING ACORN SQUASH
Last step then we’re going to discuss other squash recipes (acorn squash recipes included!), ok? Time for learning how to freeze acorn squash.
- Remove the acorn squash skin;
- Cut the acorn squash in half;
- Remove all the seeds and pulp;
- Cut the acorn squash into small cubes.
- Arrange the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Place into the freezer until the acorn squash cubes are completely frozen.
- Transfer the cubes to a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container.
Acorn squash can be stored in the freezer for up to 10 months!
3 MORE HEALTHY SQUASH RECIPES
After this healthy acorn squash recipe, I’m pretty sure you want more acorn squash recipes or squash recipes. And I have them! Squash recipes are the best. Especially during Fall and Winter when amazing flavors and comforting food is all you can think of – ok, maybe that’s just me but you get the idea.
ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP
Another simple and healthy acorn squash recipe I want to share with you is this Roasted Acorn Squash Soup recipe.
This amazingly easy and delicious Roasted Acorn Squash Soup is another great way to enjoy those tasty acorn squashes this Fall! Get the recipe.
HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Spaghetti Squash is amongst my favorite squash recipes. Learn How to Cook Spaghetti Squash and enjoy all our favorite pasta dishes once again.
Spaghetti squash is a low carb, gluten-free, and, most importantly, tasty pasta substitute you can prep in just 5 minutes. Get the recipe.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
Last on this list of squash recipes is this Butternut Squash Bisque. Easy and delicious. Plus paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and easy to convert to vegan.
This soup gives you amazing Fall and Winter flavors + comfort + an amazing cozy dinner. Amazeballs! Get the recipe.
How to Make Roasted Acorn Squash
Learn how to roast acorn squash for an easy Fall side dish. This simple and easy roasted acorn squash is sweet but without any refined sugars and made with just 2 ingredients.
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
Slice the acorn squash in half through the stem and remove the seeds.
Lay the flat, cut-side-down on a cutting board, and slice into 1 inch - 1 1/2 inch slices, starting at the stem.
Lay the acorn squash slices out evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and (optional) sea salt.
Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the squash is tender and a fork pierces the flesh easily. (Remember, you can eat the skin!)
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