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Baked Acorn Squash

SharePin5ShareYum1FlipTweet6 SharesBaked acorn squash is a classic holiday standby for a reason. It tastes terrific and it’s easy to make. Here are two versions for you – one sweet and one savory. Jump to Recipe This is a simple side dish, but no one at the table needs to know that. If you work it…


Baked acorn squash is a classic holiday standby for a reason. It tastes terrific and it’s easy to make. Here are two versions for you – one sweet and one savory.

baked acorn squash
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This is a simple side dish, but no one at the table needs to know that. If you work it right, you could be in charge of the baked acorn squash for years to come and only you will know how easy it is to make.

If you’re responsible for the acorn squash at your holiday gathering, assume that each person will eat ¼ to ½ squash. I can usually eat one half by myself but if you have a huge spread, that might be more than the average person will eat. I hope that helps with your planning.

Ingredients

For the savory version, you’ll need acorn squash, olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. That’s all, really. How simple is that? For the sweet version, use butter, brown sugar, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Yes, that’s simple too. I promised you simple and I’m delivering. To make it even simpler, you can make the sweet version with just butter and brown sugar.

Did you know that walnuts provide several health benefits? I always knew they were good for you, but when I read this article I learned more about why eating walnuts is such a good thing.

Making Baked Acorn Squash

Wash the squash before you cut into it. Who knows how many hands were on it in the produce section before you brought it home? When you cut into it you want it to be clean so you don’t get any germs on the inside. (That goes for avocados and other veggies too.)

Be sure to put the squash on a stable surface and use a large knife. I put a kitchen towel under the squash to keep it from sliding around on the cutting board. If you’re concerned about the squash slipping, don a silicone glove on one hand and use that to hold it in place while you slice it in two pieces. I have some silicone gloves that are made for removing hot items from the oven. One of those will work. Make an initial cut and then firmly but carefully continue cutting until the squash is in two separate pieces. If it’s not perfect don’t worry about it. It will still taste good.

Then, grab a big spoon and scoop out the seeds. I like to put them aside and dry them for wildlife (see below), but you can toss them if you’re in a hurry. Now your acorn squash is ready to season or fill with goodies. Put some parchment paper on the cookie sheet or pan that you’re using. This shortens your cleanup time.

Savory Baked Acorn Squash

For the savory version, rub some olive oil all around the inside and top. There’s no need to oil the outer portion for either version since you won’t eat the tough skin.

Sweet Baked Acorn Squash

For the sweet version, rub butter all around the inside and top. Then add the cranberries, brown sugar, and a pat of butter that will melt onto those ingredients.

Baking Acorn Squash

Bake the acorn squash halves for about an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Test for softness with a fork after an hour. Depending on how large they are, the acorn squash might need a little more time. The goal is to have a soft, scoopable squash to serve at your meal. Here’s a close-up of the savory version, cooked and ready to eat.

baked acorn squash

After the squash with cranberries has cooked for about 45 minutes, remove the squash from the oven and add the walnuts. Doing things this way ensures that the walnuts are toasty but not burned. And here’s the sweet version of the baked acorn squash ready to eat.

baked acorn squash

I think it’s a good idea to make both kinds for a gathering and let people choose which kind they want. My guess is that they’ll want a little of each kind. I only used one squash in this recipe, but if you’re making this for a larger group, use a large cookie sheet and put the halves on that.

Other holiday side dish ideas can be found in the five easy holiday sides post.

What about those seeds?

Lots of wildlife, including songbirds, are wild about seeds. Go here to read about this. I squeezed the pulpy squash fibers off and put the seeds on some foil and let them dry. Then I tossed them out for the critters.

Baked Acorn Squash

Baked acorn squash is a classic holiday standby for a reason. It tastes terrific and it’s easy to make. Here’s a sweet version and a savory version. Happy Holidays!
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Keyword: baked acorn squash
Author: Cook-N-Easy

Ingredients

Sweet Baked Acorn Squash (Amounts are per 1/2 squash)

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Savory Acorn Squash (Amounts are per 1/2 squash)

  • 1/2 acorn squash
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

These instructions are the same for both sweet and savory acorn squash:

  • Wash the squash before you cut into it. 
  • Cut the squash in half. (See tips in the notes section for cutting the squash in half.)
  • Grab a big spoon and scoop out the seeds.
  • Put some parchment paper on the cookie sheet or pan that you’re using to shorten your cleanup time.
  • Place the squash on the parchment paper.

Sweet Baked Acorn Squash

  • Take 1/2 teaspoon of the butter and rub it all around the inside and the rim of the squash.
  • Add the cranberries, brown sugar, and butter to the squash.
  • Bake it uncovered for 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the squash from the oven and add the walnuts.
  • Return the squash to the oven and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Savory Acorn Squash

  • Rub the olive oil on the inside and the rim of the squash.
  • Sprinkle salt and cracked pepper to taste.
  • Bake it uncovered for one hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Notes

Tips for cutting acorn squash:

  • If you’re concerned about the squash slipping while you cut it, place a kitchen towel under it.
  • You can also use a silicone glove – the kind used for taking hot things out of an oven – to hold the squash in place.
  • Insert a large knife in one of the grooves on the squash and firmly cut into the squash while you cut through it. Turn it as you cut.
  • When you have cut through both sides, you can pry it open.

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