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Glazed acorn squash is brushed with a sweet and spicy coating for a twist on the winter squash. Make it a part of your autumn side dish rotation.
I love winter squash. I always load up at the farmers market in the fall, which explains why I have seven delicata squash hanging out in my pantry right now.
This pomegranate glazed acorn squash is unexpected but so good!
What is winter squash?
There are many, many varieties of winter squash — so many more than you’ll ever see in a store!
Some people are confused by the name, but winter squash doesn’t grow in the winter. It features a thick rind that makes it ideal for storing over the winter, ensuring fresh produce during the colder months.
When stored in a cool, dry place, winter squash can keep for months!
The most common winter squash varieties are:
- Sugar pumpkin, the kind used for pies
- Kabocha, which looks a bit like a squashed pumpkin
- Acorn squash, shaped like a large acorn
- Delicata, oblong in shape with stripes
- Butternut, with a tan rind and bulbous end
- Spaghetti squash, which has a stringy flesh reminiscent of spaghetti
How to prepare acorn squash
Winter squash can seem daunting because of the hard exterior, but with a steady hand and large sharp knife, you can easily master them!
First, wash the squash. The skin of acorn squash is edible, so you want to make sure it is clean.
Carefully slice the squash in half. You can slice from top to bottom or horizontally.
Scoop out the seeds and any of the stringy flesh. A spoon will work for this, but I like to use a melon baller. The sharp edges get every last bit of seed strings.
If you like, save the seeds for roasting, or discard.
Slice the halves into pieces about ½-inch thick. Keeping them similar in size will help them cook evenly.
Making glazed acorn squash
The first step is to bake the acorn squash while we make the glaze on the stove.
I use a rimmed baking sheet, but you can use a large baking dish if you prefer. Make sure to coat the pan lightly with oil to prevent sticking. You can also line the pan with foil before adding the oil, to make cleanup easier.
Par-baking this way helps make sure the squash is well on its way to being cooked before adding the glaze. If you bake for the full time while glazed, it can burn.
While the squash bakes, saute some garlic, then add the pomegranate juice, honey, and spices.
Simmer this until it is reduced by about half and is syrupy. Once it is cooked down you can taste and add more spices, if you like.
Flip the acorn squash and use a pastry or basting brush to brush the syrup onto each piece.
Put the pan back in the oven and continue to bake until the acorn squash is tender.
You can use any other winter squash in this recipe. Note that you might need to adjust the cook time depending on how thick your slices are.
Don’t have pomegranate juice? You can swap in cranberry juice or tart cherry juice. Pomegranate juice is not as expensive as it used to be, and you can use any leftovers to make pomegranate molasses.
Change up the spices to your preferences. I like to add smoked paprika or ground ancho chile in place of or in addition to the ground chipotle.
Looking for other recipes for acorn squash? Try my kale and quinoa stuffed squash, a great meatless main!
Glazed Acorn Squash with Pomegranate
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided use
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half and discard seeds. Slice squash about ½ inch thick and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet and place in oven while you make the glaze.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add remaining olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk to fully incorporate. Simmer until liquid reduces by about half and becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes.
- Remove squash from the oven and flip the pieces, then brush a generous portion of glaze over each. Return pan to the oven and cook another 20 minutes or so, until squash is tender