Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey Ancho Chile Glaze are outstanding in both their taste and simplicity! Make this sweet and savory squash for your Thanksgiving meal, Sunday family gathering or even a weeknight dinner. They are naturally sweet but the glaze amplifies the flavor.
Surprisingly I don’t cook a lot most Thanksgivings. Between volunteering as part of Operation Turkey and our annual “No Country For Old Men” touch football game I have little time to cook. Add in the fact that I’m stiff and sore as if I survived a major car wreck.
Once the adrenalin rush from the game has worn off, it’s shower, comfy clothes, toddy, chair, tv for a few consecutive days. So generally when I cook my contribution is a simple side or two. This roasted acorn squash dish is one of my go to as is this zucchini squash soup. It’s seasonal, requires about 10 minutes of work , and tastes like I spent hours making it. There are only a few ingredients, but when combined they achieve multiple layers of flavor in way musicians Thundercat and Flying Lotus create a ridiculous amount of complexity in the song “Turkey Dog Coma.”
This recipe accommodates pretty much any winter squash. So if you want an alternative to acorn squash – try butternut squash, calabaza squash, or buttercup depending on availability. Acorn squash has a nutty flavor, and though texturally similar (not the same) to butternut, it is not nearly as sweet, so the Honey-Chile glaze helps tremendously in this regard. They are advantageous in this way due to their ability to accommodate other flavors easily. Acorn squash also tends to have a lot more water so when roasted they are still rather moist making for a better eating experience.
Ancho chiles tend to be low on the heat scale for chiles. I’d put them in the 1-3 range on a scale of 1-10 with 10 as the highest. The ancho chili also adds a slightly smoky flavor with a subtle heat while the honey bring the balance of sweetness to round out the flavor profile.
Can you eat acorn squash skin?
Straight-up I eat the skin without hesitation. As long as it’s cooked thoroughly and soft, you got nothing to worry about. Now all squash skin ain’t good squash skin, so choose wisely. Most are edible, but not all are tasty. Acorn skin is tasty; roasting tenderizes that thin skin and almost makes the skin unnoticeable. Butternut or any other those gnarly and knobby varieties are better peeled. The skins have no redeeming qualities as far as eating goes.
What to do with skins if you don’t eat them?
If you choose not to eat the skin, and I can understand if you don’t, then reserve them to flavor your soup stocks. Roasting the squash caramelizes it which can leak into the skin leaving them flavorful.
Choosing the right acorn squash
- It’s tough choosing good acorn squash with confidence since you can’t see inside. These simple tips has to ensure you get a good one:
- Dull is better than shiny when picking acorn squash.
- Heavy is also good. Not necessarily heavy because of size; you actually want one that is heavy for its size
- Go for the one with a good balance of green and orange skin. Balance means neither too ripe nor not ripe enough. Orange ones are overly ripe and will have many stringy bits vs. a green one won’t be ripe enough and will be lacking in flavor.
How to cut acorn squash
- Cooking acorn squash is super easy, but cutting can be a challenge given it’s tough shell. The ribbed shape of the acorn squash makes peeling it virtually impossible, so don’t try it. A few tricks to cutting include:
- Make sure you have a sturdy, sharp knife. This should always be the case, but especially here.
- Before cutting, pierce the skin in a few spots, place it in a microwave oven and heat on high for 2 minutes. Let it stand for a few minutes and wallah the squash is softened
- When halving, cut through the stem end to the point rather than across the diameter. Find a valley in between one of the ridges of the acorn squash – ideally, the ridge should be just to the side of the stem as you DO NOT want to try to cut through the STEM. Drive the knife through the acorn squash and continue by cutting around the entire squash. If the knife gets stuck, return to the starting point and rotate in the opposite direction.
How to cook acorn squash
Cooking acorn squash is easy peezy!
- Just Cut each acorn squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out seeds and guts
- For a faster cooking time, cut into quarters or into half-moons
- Brush with glaze
- Bake until fork tender
Don’t forget to reserve the seeds from the squash for roasting.
Roasted Acorn Squash With Honey Ancho Chile Glaze
If you add this roasted acorn squash recipe to your Thanksgiving side dishes or Sunday dinners, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey Ancho Chile Glaze
Low prep easy cook roasted squash dish great for holidays or weeknight option.
- 1 2 pound acorn squash - halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons honey maple syrup or agave work well also
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile commercial chili powder can be used as a substitute
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Arrange acorn squash slices on rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil and honey over acorn squash slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar, chile powder salt and pepper.
Roast in preheated oven until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme.