Round out a fall or winter meal with tender slices of this Garlic Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Acorn Squash.
If you've only ever topped your acorn squash with the classic mixture of butter and brown sugar, it's time to try this Garlic Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Acorn Squash. While that traditional sweet brown sugar squash is delicious, this savoury winter squash recipe is a welcome change and it pairs well with many meat or vegetarian main dishes.
Acorn squash is one of my favourite varieties of squash, although I love Butternut, too and I have at least 6 Butternut Squash Recipes here on the blog. Acorn has a slightly sweet flavour and, when cut crosswise, forms appealing, almost flower-shaped slices. Sometimes, acorn squash can be "meh", so it needs bold flavours to complement its natural sweetness and creamy texture.
Depending on your squash and your family's tastes, you may want to add a little heat with some dried red pepper flakes. They're optional, but very good if you're like me and like flavours with a little kick.
How to choose an acorn squash
When faced with a large bin full of squash at your farmers' market, how do you know which will be the best acorn squash to choose?
Look for ones that have smooth rind with no soft spots, cracks or mold. The rind should be dull. If it's shiny, it many mean it was picked too early and will not have the characteristic sweet flavour.
The skin should be almost all dark green. If it has a lot of orange, it indicates it is overripe and may be dry and stringy. In my experience, the smaller squash (about 1 to 3 pounds) are best. If they're larger, they may be dry. Occasionally, you can find other varieties, like this white acorn squash I found today.
How to slice an acorn squash to make Garlic Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Acorn Squash
- Use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board. First slice off the stem end and tips.
- Next, set the squash upright and slice through the middle from the stem end to the base.
- Remove the seeds with a spoon and either save for roasting or add to your compost.
- Place the squash cut-side down on the cutting board and cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick.
How to store acorn squash
A cool, dry place is the best place to store squash. Acorn squash will last for 5 to 8 weeks. Don't store them in the refrigerator for more than a week or two as the outer skin may become too moist and rot.
Do I have to peel an acorn squash?
The skin of an acorn squash is edible. Sometimes smaller squash have thin and more tender skin. I leave the skin on because it helps to maintain the shape of the slices. If you don't want to eat it, it slips off easily once cooked.
Tips for making this Garlic Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Acorn Squash
- Keep it simple and toss everything together in a large bowl once you have the slices cut. Toss the squash with olive oil, lots of fresh minced garlic, finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh chopped herbs and sea salt and pepper.
- Crispy edges are the feature we all crave. (Well, I do anyway!) I like to heat my baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes first, so when the squash hits the pan, it sizzles and seals in all that wonderful flavour.
- Roast in a hot oven until tender, then place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown it a little more.
- Serve with more fresh chopped herbs of your choice. I like rosemary, but thyme and sage pair well with acorn squash, too.
Squash is nutritious, delicious and usually very inexpensive. Avoid the sugar and make this garlic-parmesan recipe instead! Try it with this one-pan Easy Baked Lemon Chicken or my One-Pan Spiced Chicken with Apples and Bacon and these Fennel Orange Roasted Beets.
Enjoy! And if you love acorn squash, I know you'll like this Honey Balsamic Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussels Sprouts.
Garlic Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Acorn Squash
- 1 2 lb acorn squash (or two 1 lb acorn squash)
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated (or more)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, thyme or sage or 2 tsp dried herbs
- 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes optional
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Wash squash and slice off the ends. Cut in half from stem end to tip. Remove the seeds with a spoon and either save for roasting or add to your compost. Lay halves cut side down on cutting board and slice crosswise into 3/4 inch slices.
- In a large bowl, toss squash slices with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and one of the sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped.
- Heat baking sheet in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and arrange squash slices so they are not touching each other. Return to oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- If desired, put the sheet under the broiler for 2 - 4 minutes, to crisp edges. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Serve garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs or other fresh herbs.
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