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Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

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This sweet, nutty and lightly peppery Maple Roasted Acorn Squash is topped with juicy pomegranate arils and salty pumpkin seeds. It’s a hearty and flavorful side dish fit for any holiday dinner, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Maple baked acorn squash on a serving tray with chopped parsley on top

The Best Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

This super easy baked squash recipe will have you benching some of your usual holiday side dishes this year. You simply can’t beat the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the squash paired with the sweet burst of juice from the pomegranate arils. On top of that, you’ve got the chewy little pumpkin seeds to tie it all together. So much festive goodness is packed into this simple dish.

If you’d like, you can toast up the pumpkin seeds before topping off your squash to give them an ultra-satisfying crunch. Either way, you’ll definitely be grabbing seconds of this flavor-packed side. And so will everyone else at the table!

A spoon holding a bite of baked acorn squash, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate arils

What You’ll Need

This recipe uses a short list of common kitchen ingredients to keep your prep work as quick as possible. Take a moment to get familiar with the lineup.

  • Acorn Squash: You could also use butternut squash for this recipe if you’d like.
  • Olive Oil: To help the squash get nice and tender.
  • Pure Maple Syrup: This natural sweetener provides some great flavor of its own.
  • Salt & Pepper: To taste. I use half a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Pomegranate Arils: Note that these are different from pomegranate seeds.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Also known as pepitas.
  • Parsley: Chopped, to garnish.
Pepitas, pomegranate arils, salt, pepper and the rest of the ingredients laid out on a white table

How to Pick a Good Squash

For the best results, pick an acorn squash that seems heavy for its size and has a deep green color. You may notice a yellow-orange patch on the squash, which is totally fine. That just indicates the area where the squash was in contact with the ground before it was picked. If you see any mold or blemishes on the skin, walk away.

You should also seek out a squash that feels quite firm. Soft and mushy areas are a bad sign. Following all of these guidelines will ensure that you secure a spectacular acorn squash.

Do You Peel Acorn Squash Before Cooking?

I don’t! I find the skin to be utterly delicious. It’s full of antioxidants and fiber, and it gets wonderfully soft in the oven. If you’d prefer to remove the skin, that’s an option too. I usually do it after it’s baked, it comes right off. Just do whatever feels right to you.

How to Make Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasting acorn squash is a piece of cake. You just have to wash it, cut it and remove the seeds and membranes before you begin.

Heat Oven & Line Pan: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.

Prepare Squash: Wash the acorn squash, slice it in half with a sharp knife and remove the seeds and membranes. Cut it into 1-inch-thick sections. Place the acorn squash slices into a large bowl.

Four squash slices on a wooden cutting board with a sharp chef's knife

Add Olive Oil, Maple Syrup, Salt & Pepper: Combine the olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small dish. Mix well, then pour the mixture over the acorn squash. Gently toss until the slices are completely coated.

Roast: Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is lightly browned, flipping the slices halfway through (at about 18 minutes). Remove your baked squash from the oven.

Add Toppings: Place the roasted acorn squash on a tray or in a shallow dish and sprinkle it with the pomegranate arils, pepitas and parsley.

Enjoy! Serve warm.

Can I Make This in Advance?

In a sense, yes. You have the option of leaving your squash to marinate in the maple syrup mixture for a few hours. However, I prefer roasting it right away.

A serving platter full of maple roasted acorn squash beside two forks

Tips for Success

Some of the tips I’m about to share are very important for your safety. Be sure to go over them before you start on this recipe.

  • Stability is Key: Do not try to cut your squash if you can’t get it stable on your cutting board. If there are no flatter parts on the sides of the squash, use kitchen shears to remove the stem and place it upside down. This prevents the knife from slipping and potentially injuring you.
  • No Dull Knives: Make sure you use a heavy duty kitchen knife to cut your squash. The blade should be nice and sharp to eliminate the risk of the knife slipping.
  • Mallet Hack: Do you have a rubber mallet hanging around? Go ahead and dig it out! It’s a great tool to use if you’re having trouble cutting into the squash. Give your knife a firm but careful tap to help the blade glide through.
  • Don’t Forget to Flip: After about 18 minutes of roasting, it’s time to flip over your squash slices. Leaving out this step will result in uneven cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Want to make a hearty main dish that compliments this sweet and nutty side? These ideas are sure to pique your interest.

  • Serve with Sloppy Joes: I find it fun to pair a fancier side dish with a super casual entree. And these Homemade Sloppy Joes go great with everything! Serve them with this roasted squash for a delicious dinner that everyone will remember.
  • Pair with Chili: A steaming bowl of chili makes everything better. Whether it’s filled with meat or completely vegetarian, it’s bound to taste wonderful alongside this maple baked squash.
  • Serve with Roasted Potatoes: At thanksgiving, I am alllll about those side dishes. Don’t forget about these cripsy lemon potatoes.
A long white plate holding a batch of maple baked acorn squash with doilies beside it

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge once they’ve cooled completely. They’ll last for up to 2 days. If you expect to have leftovers, I recommend adding the toppings as you serve. This way, you can easily reheat the squash when it comes time to do so.

I recommend reheating your leftovers under the broiler. It only takes about 3 minutes! Place the squash on a lined baking sheet and set it about 6 inches away from the broiler.

Can I Freeze Baked Acorn Squash?

Yes, this dish freezes well. First, you’ll have to arrange the squash slices on a baking sheet so that they aren’t touching each other. Freeze them for about 1 hour, or until the slices are frozen solid.

Once frozen solid, transfer the squash to a freezer bag and freeze it for up to 4 months. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the bag before you seal it. Thaw out frozen squash in the fridge before reheating it.

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A close-up shot of sliced and roasted acorn squash on a white plate

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

  • Author: Julianne
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

This sweet, nutty and lightly peppery Maple Roasted Acorn Squash is topped with juicy pomegranate arils and salty pumpkin seeds. It’s a hearty and flavorful side dish fit for any holiday dinner, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized acorn squash
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½  tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Wash the acorn squash, slice in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Cut into 1-inch-thick sections. Place the acorn squash slices in a large bowl.
  3. In a small dish, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Mix well and pour over the acorn squash.  Gently toss until the slices are completely coated.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned, flipping the slices halfway through (at about 18 minutes). Remove from the oven.
  5. Place acorn squash on a tray or in a shallow dish and sprinkle the pomegranate arils, pepitas, and parsley on top. Serve warm.

Notes

  • You can prep ahead and leave these to marinate for several hours, but they are best baked immediately.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cooking acorn squash, acorn squash in oven, roasted squash

More Holiday Side Dish Ideas

Want more inspiration for your holiday dinner table? You’ve just hit the jackpot.

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