In the autumn, you may find these lovely acorn squashes at your local store or farmers’ markets. Are you wondering what to do with them? Acorn squash is very easy to cook and is so versatile! I’ll explain how to prepare acorn squash healthily and give you some more ideas about what to do with it.
After it’s cooked, the squash is tender and you can use it in many dishes like you would white or sweet potatoes or zucchini. The ridged shape gives slices of acorn squash a flower-like appearance. That is my favorite way to slice it before baking, and the result is just stunning!
Here is this beautiful acorn squash:
How to Prepare Acorn Squash
Just wash the acorn squash and cut it into either slices or halves. I use a chef’s or Santoku-style knife and apply some pressure to cut this into several slices about 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches thick. Here is another method using the microwave if you’re concerned about cutting it.
The seeds and “string” can be scooped out easily, and roasted like pumpkin seeds. I would not eat the skin. This squash has a lovely orange-yellow flesh and sweet flavor. It would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving and other fall and winter holidays. You can make it into a soup or stuff it with other vegetables and whole grains for something more substantial.
It is also easy enough to make on a weeknight. I brushed orange juice on the slices of squash, then sprinkled with a little salt, black pepper, and cinnamon. Here are some other suggestions for how to flavor it:
- Pineapple juice or apple cider
- A drizzle of maple syrup or agave nectar
- Ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, or pumpkin pie spice, which includes these plus cinnamon
- Chili powder or paprika
- Fresh sage, thyme, or parsley
How to Cook Acorn Squash
After brushing with the orange juice and adding seasonings, I baked the slices for about an hour at 350 degrees F. There is no need to add butter or oil. With this recipe, you will enjoy its natural flavor.
Baked acorn squash is a delicious side dish everyone can enjoy. For an entree, try chunks with whole grain rotini and spinach, stuff half of a roasted one with a cooked whole grain like bulgur or farro and vegetables, or serve with oven-roasted potatoes, grilled zucchini, and red onions.
One cup of cooked acorn squash provides 9 grams of fiber, which is terrific because so many Americans don’t get enough. You can learn more about dietary fiber here. This squash also has 90 mg. of calcium, 1.9 mg. of iron, and a whopping 896 mg. of potassium per cup!
Lots of healthy people aren’t eating enough potassium, so this is a healthy dietary addition. But if you must restrict dietary potassium, this will be a veggie to avoid.
There are also 43 mcg RAE of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene. With 115 calories in a cup, this filling vegetable has less energy than potatoes, pasta, sweet potatoes, or rice, so it is a nutrient-dense choice.
Simple Orange Cinnamon Acorn Squash Rings
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- 1 acorn squash
- nonstick spray
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Slice the acorn squash into rings of about 1 ½ inches thick. Scoop out the seeds.
- Place the squash rings in a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Brush them with orange juice and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
- Bake for an hour or until tender and lightly browned.
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Original post: 12/29/2019. Updated 9/11/2020
Food styling and photography: H. Traub
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