In North Carolina, acorn squash typically arrives at local markets in early autumn, but it’s available year-round at bigger grocery stores. Botanically, it is a fruit because it grows from flowers, and is closely related to summer squashes.
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are super nutritious. Acorn squash is a good way to get potassium and magnesium, as well as vitamins C and B6, calcium and fiber.
Acorn squash is also wonderful because it:
- Can last for a long time while you figure out what you want to do with it
- Is a pretty autumn decoration until you’re ready to cook it
- Looks great no matter how you cook it
- Can be eaten hot or not, so it’s easy to make ahead and take to work or school
- Can be prepared sweet or savory, light or hearty, depending on your appetite
Acorn squash is great simply sliced and roasted. Half of one acorn squash makes a great side dish or snack for one person, and leftovers keep well. Once you get comfy with the flavor and the preparation process, you can also explore stuffing and baking halves or whole squashes with great fillings and seasonings, either in elaborate recipes or with leftover cooked grains, meats and beans.
To prepare Roasted Acorn Squash Slices:
As with any fruit or vegetable, wash and dry first.
Preheat oven to 400*. Either line with parchment paper or lightly oil a baking sheet.
Start by cutting a thin slice off the top and bottom. A bread knife works best for this: The stem area can be very tough. Set it down on the wide flat side so it’s not wobbly. With a big sharp knife, one hand holding and one on top of the blade to steady it, cut straight down the middle.
Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Don’t forget to taste the pulp. Its sweet melon-y flavor will remind you that it’s a cousin to cantaloupe!
● Bonus recipe! The seeds are edible. Delicious if you roast them. Rinse in a colander to separate them from the pulp. (This is a fun job for a child if you have one handy, a good warm-up for jack-o-lanterns!) Set them in a pie or cake pan, stir in a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast at the same time as the squash. They’re done when they start to brown and smell amazing, about 20 minutes. Serve them alongside or as a garnish (or a snack for the cook).
Set the squash halves cut-side-down and slice into sections about 1 ½” (following the ribs) or scallops (slicing against the ribs). Here’s a great video for a visual of cutting the squash.
Place slices in a large bowl, drizzle in about …….