Autumn could be known as squash season. Between butternut squash and pumpkin everything (like this outstanding Pumpkin Spice Latte), ‘tis the season for gourds. One that doesn’t get as much attention is acorn squash.
While you can sometimes find it at other times of the year, acorn squash’s peak season is in the fall, from October through December, when you can find it at farmer’s markets and local groceries quite inexpensively. Choose ones that don’t have any marks or mold; acorn squash will keep for about a month or so in a cool, dry storage place. It’s why acorn squash recipes can be made whenever the urge for delicious, warming nutrition strikes — like butternut squash recipes.
I happen to think that acorn squash’s funny size and shape is what keeps people away from it. That and when you feel the squash, it’s hard to imagine taking a bite out of it. But once you start preparing acorn squash, you’ll love its sweet, slightly nutty taste. The trick is to cook it the right way.
How to Cook
Cooking acorn squash is easy. Start with a chef’s or another strong knife and slice underneath the stem until there’s no more resistance. Then keep cutting the whole way through until you’ve reached the other side of the stem. Forget trying to cut through the stem – it’s tough! Instead, grab the two acorn squash halves and pull until they’re separated.
Next, remove the seeds from the acorn squash; you can roast them later and enjoy as a snack. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper and place cut-side down in a baking dish, with about ¼ cup of water on the bottom of the pan – this will keep the squash from drying out. Cover the pan and roast the squash at 350 F for 50 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.
That’s a basic way to prepare acorn squash. You can add a pat of butter and brown sugar for a sweeter version or your favorite spices. Or you can check out the 18 delicious acorn squash recipes below!
18 Acorn Squash Recipes
While acorn squash is considered an autumn vegetable, this dessert recipe can be eaten both hot and cold so you can enjoy it no matter the season. Similar to an apple crumble, walnuts, cranberries and gluten-free oats add in extra flavor. This recipe calls for brown sugar and butter, so it’s definitely a treat; opt for coconut sugar and whole grain or gluten-free flour.
Photo: Let the Baking Begin
When in doubt about what to do with a squash, just bake it! This easy-to-make bread is full of fall flavors like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and is made extra tasty by adding in your favorite nut, like pecans or hazelnuts. If there are picky eaters in the family who need an extra dose of veggies, this should help — just reduce the sugar to about half a cup and use coconut sugar instead.
This six-ingredient acorn squash recipe is a deliciously healthy option that’s free of gluten, grains and refined sugar. There’s even an option to make it without egg whites, making it vegan-friendly as well. With just 5 minutes of prep and an hour in the oven, you can whip it up tonight.
Creamy hummus is already delicious, but adding acorn squash makes it even better, adding a natural sweetness. After roasting the squash in the oven, add it to a blender or food processor along with protein-rich chickpeas, olive oil, seasonings, garlic and lemon juice. This hummus is perfect for dipping veggies in or spreading on sandwiches.
Photo: Stacy Homemaker
What sets this stuffed acorn squash recipe is all the fresh herbs – they make a huge difference here! While the squash roasts in the oven, you’ll cook up the veggies, apple and sausage (choose turkey or chicken). Scoop out the squash flesh and mix it up with the fixings, then stuff the squash halves with the filling. Top with cheese and bake. It doesn’t get better than this!
Proving acorn squash isn’t just for dinner, this recipe is stuffed with onions and turkey sausage (and whatever else you’d like to add). But the best is cracking an egg into each side of the acorn squash and baking until the eggs are cooked. You can prepare a few of these over the weekend and reheat throughout the week for an easy, healthy breakfast.
This is comfort food at its finest. In this acorn squash recipe, you’ll start by roasting the vegetable in a delicious marinade of coconut oil, brown sugar or raw honey and cinnamon, so the squash caramelizes. Next, you’ll fill it with yummy caprese ingredients, like mozzarella, tomatoes basil and farro. You can easily customize to your liking, too: add spinach, drizzle with balsamic syrup or add in some ground beef.
Photo: Wry Toast
If you need a different way to serve quinoa, you’ll want to try this recipe. It comes together quickly, especially if you use leftover chicken. With just a handful of ingredients including superfood kale, this will become a dinnertime favorite.
This warm and hearty curry is naturally vegan and Paleo. Its creamy thanks to full-fat coconut milk, but also loaded with spices that taste good and are great for you, like ginger and turmeric. Serve this over rice or cauliflower rice to soak up that delicious sauce.
Photo: The Endless Meal
Give your usual chili recipe a makeover with this acorn squash recipe. It’s vegetarian and full of protein and fiber, courtesy of the black beans. Tomatoes, carrots, onions and garlic round out the ingredients list; just add them to the crockpot and let it work its magic!
When you need to create an impressive breakfast or brunch dish, you can’t go wrong with this one. You’ll start by roasting the squash until just fork tender at a high heat. You’ll crack an egg into each squash half and then bake again, this time at a lower heat. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and cooked bacon bits (turkey or beef) and serve. It looks super impressive but is quite easy to make. Serve with whole-grain or gluten-free toast, avocado slices and coffee.
You haven’t had an acorn squash like this before. It’s stuffed with ingredients not normally associated with squash, like your choice of greens, white beans, feta cheese and Kalamata olives. This combination creates a decidedly Greek feel that’s still familiar enough for picky eaters. I love that it’s vegetarian and filling enough to stand as a full meal or as a crowd-pleasing side dish.
Photo: Some the Wiser
Enjoy the best parts of lasagne – the delicious meat and cheese – without all the pasta with this acorn squash recipe. After roasting the squash, you’ll load it with onions, ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese, and then bake until bubbly. The result is the easiest, gluten-free lasagne you’ve had!
You’re not going to believe how just a few ingredients can make such a delicious dinner in this one-pan dish. Start by whisking together maple syrup, Dijon mustard and paprika, then spreading it all over chicken thighs, sliced acorn squash, carrots and onions. Stick it all in the oven for 40 minutes and there you have it. The maple and Dijon combination makes a sweet sauce that’s got just the right amount of tang.
This spiced squash and sweet potato soup is perfect for when you suffer from pumpkin overload. When puréed alongside coconut milk, garam masala and ginger, acorn squash transforms into a cozy, filling soup that’s excellent during cooler weather.
Photo: A Beautiful Plate
Ricotta is delicious in most things, and serving it in this acorn squash recipe is no exception. Served with a drizzle of raw honey and fresh nutmeg, this is a side dish that will garner main dish attention.
In the mood for a new snack to curb your salty cravings? Sliced acorn squash tossed with olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and fresh-ground pepper is the answer. With no fancy ingredients required, add this to your late-night healthy snacking menu.
The tastes of Thanksgiving and autumn without all the hard work are in this acorn squash recipe. It’s packed with ground turkey, dried cranberries, onions, apples and other goodies. It’s super simple to make, too. While the squash roasts, you’ll prepare the meat filling on the stove. When the squash is tender, it gets stuffed and baked again. If you’re having a small Thanksgiving dinner, making these for each guest is a smart option.