Roasted Acorn Squash – with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of woody-spiced thyme, a generous dusting of freshly grated Parmesan, and a little solo session in the oven, you’re just moments away from savoring this seasonal squash for dinner.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Parmesan
This roasted acorn squash packs a punch of flavor that I can’t seem to ever get enough of. Sprinkling on cheese and fresh herbs with the natural creamy, sweet, and nutty goodness of acorn squash—it’s my go-to every fall.
With all the squash options around, it’s easy to go into what I call “squash overload,” but when the leaves start turning orange and falling off the trees, there’s nothing I’d rather have.
Related: Spiced Brown Butter Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is my one of my usual quick-fix side dishes any night of the week. I like to toss it alongside my favorite protein and green veggie, and dinner’s served without any fuss.
Why You’ll Love This Acorn Squash Recipe
- For me (and hopefully you) the natural sweetness and nuttiness of the squash, compounded by the addition of cheese and spice creates a flavor that’s hard to resist. It’s a fall craving that must be fulfilled. A worthy, renewable pleasure.
- This is a minimal effort recipe, a go-to solution when you want a delicious and satisfying side dish, without the hassle.
- Uses only a small, handful of ingredients, six to be exact.
- If you have any leftovers, they reheat well!
How To Slice Acorn Squash
1. Wash the Squash: Start by washing the acorn squash under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Since you can eat the skin of acorn squash, don’t skip this step.
2. Cut off the Ends: Using a sharp knife, cut off both ends of the acorn squash. This will create stable surfaces for the squash to rest on.
3. Slice in Half: Stand the squash upright on one of the cut ends. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom. The skin is tough, so use a steady hand.
4. Scoop out the Seeds: Once the squash is halved, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the center. You can discard these or save the seeds for roasting if you like.
5. Slice into Rings: Lay each half flat on the cutting board and slice into half-rings.
Eating the Skin of Roasted Acorn Squash
Another reason I love acorn squash is that you can eat the skin. The no peeling hassle, makes the whole preparation process a double victory.
As it bakes, the skin of acorn squash turns incredibly tender (it’s naturally thin). Once fully roasted, you can munch on it—all of it. Quite different from the thicker skins of spaghetti or butternut squash.
If for some reason you’re still skin averse, once roasted, acorn squash skin easily peels away from the flesh and can be discarded if that’s what you prefer.
Fresh and Pantry Ingredients
- Acorn Squash: The star of this show, with its natural creamy, sweet, and nutty flavor that forms the base of the dish.
- Olive Oil: Enhances the roasting process, while adding a rich and savory element to the overall taste.
- Fresh Thyme: Adds a woody and spiced aroma and a layer of herbal flavor that complements the sweetness of the squash.
- Kosher Salt: Flavor booster.
- Black Pepper: Introduces a subtle heat and depth, while balancing the sweetness and enhancing the savory profile.
- Parmesan Cheese: Used for its sharp and salty notes, which creates contrast and adds a creamy, umami richness to the roasted acorn squash.
Possible Ingredient Substitutions
You can substitute acorn squash with other winter squashes like butternut or delicata.
Use any high temperature oil, avocado, vegetable, peanut or canola all work.
If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use dried thyme. Other herbs like rosemary or sage can also work well.
You can also experiment with different types of salt, such as sea salt or garlic salt.
Feel free to try other hard cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Asiago. For a dairy-free option, nutritional yeast can provide a cheesy flavor.
Creative Variations to Consider
- Maple Glazed Roasted Acorn Squash:
Mix maple syrup with the olive oil for a sweet glaze.
Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for warmth.
- Spicy Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash:
Toss the squash with a bit of chili powder or red pepper flakes for some heat.
Consider adding a squeeze of lime juice for a zesty kick.
- Herb-Infused Roasted Acorn Squash:
Experiment with a mix of herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme for a herb-infused flavor.
Consider adding minced garlic for an aromatic twist.
- Balsamic Roasted Acorn Squash:
Substitute a part of the olive oil with balsamic vinegar for a tangy flavor.
Top with crumbled feta cheese instead of Parm for a different savory note.
- Curry Spiced Roasted Acorn Squash:
Toss the squash with a blend of curry powder, cumin, and coriander for an exotic twist.
Finish with a drizzle of yogurt or a squeeze of lemon.
How To Make Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
Step 1: Preheat your oven and line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.
Step 2: Mix the squash with oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Spread it out evenly on the baking tray. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.
Step 3: Roast until squash turns golden brown and is easy to poke with a fork. Keep an eye on it, as cooking time can vary depending on your oven.
Aim for uniform slices to ensure even cooking. This helps each piece roast to perfection without some parts being undercooked or overcooked.
Completely preheat your oven, don’t add the squash too early.
Pat the acorn squash slices dry with a paper towel before tossing them with oil and seasonings. This minimizes excess moisture, allowing for better roasting and browning.
Give the slices some space on the baking tray. If they’re too close, they may steam instead of roast. Use a larger tray or roast in batches if needed.
About halfway through the roasting time, flip the squash slices. This ensures that both sides get that golden-brown goodness. (Completely optional.)
If possible, grate Parmesan cheese fresh. The flavor is more intense compared to pre-packaged grated cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I leave the skin on the acorn squash? Absolutely! The skin is edible and adds a nice texture. Just make sure to wash and scrub it well before slicing.
Can I use dried thyme instead of fresh? Yes, you can substitute dried thyme for fresh. Use about 1/3 of the amount since dried herbs are more concentrated.
How do I prevent the squash from sticking to the baking tray? Using parchment paper or a silicone baking mat can help prevent sticking. Make sure the tray is well-greased if not using parchment paper.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time? While the best flavor and texture are achieved right after roasting, you can prepare the squash slices and refrigerate them with the oil and seasonings. Roast when ready to serve.
What protein pairs well with roasted acorn squash? A: Roasted acorn squash pairs nicely with grilled chicken, roasted turkey, and salmon.
How do I roast acorn squash seeds? Remove seeds from the acorn squash, clean off any pulp, and rinse them thoroughly. Pat the seeds dry with a towel or let them air dry. Pat the seeds dry with a towel or let them air dry. Toss the dry seeds with olive oil and your choice of seasoning—try salt, pepper, or other spices. Toss the dry seeds with olive oil and your choice of seasoning—try salt, pepper, or other spices. Let the roasted seeds cool before eating.
Reheating and Storage
- Allow the roasted acorn squash to cool to room temperature before storing to prevent condensation and maintain texture.
- Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container. This helps keep the squash fresh and prevents it from absorbing odors from the fridge.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- If you want to extend the storage time, you can freeze roasted acorn squash. Place it in a freezer-safe container or a zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible.
Reheating Leftovers in the Oven, Microwave and Stovetop
Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the leftover squash on a baking sheet. Heat for about 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired temperature.
Microwave: Transfer the leftover squash to a microwave-safe dish. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring or flipping the pieces between intervals. Continue until the desired temperature is reached.
Stovetop: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of oil or butter to prevent sticking. Toss around in the skillet until heated through.
More Squash Recipes to Make All Season Long
Squash Recipes for the Season
- Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Brown Sugar Butternut Squash
- Butternut Boursin Bacon Soup
- Butternut Squash Gratin
- Butternut Squash Risotto
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Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.
- Toss the squash with oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Space squash evenly on the baking tray. Sprinkle with Parmesan.1 (2 lb) acorn or delicata squash- halved, seeded and sliced 3/4" thick, 2 tbsp olive oil, 8 sprigs fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Roast until golden brown and tender, 20-30 minutes or until fork tender.
- Cooking time will vary depending on your oven.
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