3 rings of acorn squash on blue plate

Simple Orange Cinnamon Acorn Squash Rings

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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:

Whole Acorn Squash: green and orange
Whole 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.

Nutrition

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. 

3 rings of acorn squash on blue plate

Simple Orange Cinnamon Acorn Squash Rings

Melissa Altman-Traub MS, RDN, LDN
A tasty and easy side dish for everyday healthy eating or special occasions. These tender acorn squash rings are baked with a citrusy twist of orange and a hint of warm cinnamon. Perfect for a cozy winter meal with a touch of comforting spice.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 51 kcal

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 acorn squash
  • nonstick spray
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

The nutrition estimate is from Spoonacular, which is based mainly on USDA data.

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.05gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 76mgPotassium: 407mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 428IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Acorn squash, Baked squash, Vegan, Winter squash
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Here are farmers’ market shopping tips for the best produce.

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Original post: 12/29/2019. Updated 9/11/2020

Food styling and photography: H. Traub

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11 thoughts on “Simple Orange Cinnamon Acorn Squash Rings”

  1. Louise Fairweather

    These sound lovely and not something I would have thought of doing. Thanks for sharing #cookblogshare

  2. Pingback: Arroz Colorido - Colorful Mexican Rice: A Meal Prep Solution - Melissa Traub

  3. Jessica Formicola

    5 stars
    The flavors of cinnamon and orange pair perfectly with the acorn squash! Thanks so much for sharing such a great recipe!

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