This seasonal family favorite is so easy and so good. For added ease, I like to use Kabocha, Delicata, or another variety of winter squash that doesn’t require peeling.
Without the intent of overselling this simple, seasonal side dish, I will mention that my husband recently purchased some winter squash so that I would make this recipe.
Initially, I thought his purchase seemed odd, as he’s not particularly fond of orange vegetables. But he remembered this recipe from last fall － and suggested I mention here that he is quite a fan!
Easy to make with few ingredients, this recipe will complement nearly any protein and will effortlessly perk up a simple weeknight dinner. The healthy and satisfying side is equally perfect alongside a Thanksgiving turkey.
For easy last-minute assembly, cut the squash earlier in the day and store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge until ready to cook.
Tip: If you haven’t tried kabocha squash, keep an eye out for it. The flavor is naturally sweeter than many varieties of winter squash and the texture is dense yet creamy. As an added perk, the skins are edible. They soften as they cook － becoming a little crisp around the edges － and provide a nice textural balance to the smooth flesh.
- 1 winter squash (2 – 2½ pounds; kabocha, delicata, red kuri, or acorn squash all work well and need not be peeled)
- 1 tablespoon (20g) pure maple syrup (may substitute honey)
- 1 tablespoon (12g) brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1½ tablespoons (22g) coconut oil, melted (may substitute olive or avocado oil)
Preheat the oven to 375℉. Liberally grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Cut the squash into wedges (about 1 – 1½-inch thick) and place in a large bowl. (see notes)
In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients. Pour the mixture over the squash, and toss to evenly coat. (I find this easiest to do with my hands. I also prefer to do this in a bowl instead of directly on the baking sheet. With a bowl, it is easier to get more of the topping on the squash and less residue on the baking sheet where it becomes harder to clean once baked.)
Spread the squash pieces, cut sides down, in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or until just tender. Precise time will depend on oven and thickness of pieces. Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. Look for a golden brown color on the side touching the baking sheet and a hint of firmness remaining in the squash. Tip: To increase caramelization, you may broil for about 2 minutes, watching very carefully to avoid burning.
Squash cutting tip: A sharp chef’s knife makes cutting winter squash easier. However, if you struggle to do this, you may microwave or bake the whole squash just long enough to slightly soften (about 3 minutes on high power in my microwave). Pierce the squash with a knife first to allow steam to escape, and then adjust the baking time down by a few minutes, as needed.