Abhorring most vegetables in my formative years, my memories of finally appreciating acorn squash was in my late-teens when Mom oven-roasted halves inverted in a pan with water, then flipped to brown, adding butter, brown sugar and nutmeg. I still enjoy this approach, but thumbing through my Real Simple magazine, I came across this intriguing alternative, Broiled Sweet and Spicy Squash. You know my penchant for anything spicy, so I wanted to somehow incorporate this acorn squash recipe into one of the upcoming weeknight meals.
However, after reading the preparation, I decided to roast the squash slices in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes—15 minutes per side—as opposed to broiling them for 10 minutes on one side only. My reasoning? First off, I’m not fond of gas oven broilers, they are uneven at best.
With that method, I visualized charred exteriors on one side with uncooked interiors. Plus, basting only one side of each slice with the tasty sauce? Not on my watch! With those flavors, I wanted to maximize the area getting happy. In addition, they didn’t mention lining the baking sheet with parchment, and as experience has taught me, this is a good idea.
Have you ever tried to cut thin slices from thick-skinned acorn squash? Not an easy task, but I managed. I first got out the meat cleaver, but visions of chopping off my fingers made me think otherwise. So with a large, sharp chef’s knife I managed to do a pretty decent job.
Intuition told me the amount of oil in the sauce was too much, so I decreased the amount slightly, using only three tablespoons instead of four. The ratio of spicy to sweet was balanced without one flavor overpowering the other, but you may want to adjust to your own personal preference.
After 30 minutes the squash was nicely caramelized on both sides, but the rest of my dinner wouldn’t be ready for about another 10 minutes, so I just turned off the oven, leaving the squash inside. The extra time added more caramelization resulting in perfectly tender yummy goodness.
Slices of raw acorn squash.
Slices are arranged on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and basted with the sweet and spicy sauce.
The caramelized squash after roasting.
Roasted Sweet N Spicy Squash
- 1 small acorn squash, scrubbed (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha or hot sauce
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees.
- CUT the top crown off the squash and scoop out the seeds.
- CUT into thin 3/4″ rings and spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment.
- COMBINE the oil, syrup and Sriracha and brush over the squash. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- ROAST about 15 minutes per side. Once turned, baste with more sauce.
- BRUSH any leftover sauce onto the squash slices. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve warm.