It’s squash season and I’m ready! This Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash is one of my favorite fall comfort foods.
It’s sweet and salty, nutty and warm. Bonus, it’s also about as easy as easy gets. Seriously, if you need a side dish that requires no fuss, this is it. It’s basically 3 steps: slice in half, fill the middle with goodness, bake.
I mean really, how often in life do we get to end up with something this fabulous after so little effort?
I didn’t appreciate acorn squash appropriately as a kid. My mom used to roast it with butter and brown sugar, but I never wanted to try it. Typical kid.
It took me until later in life to earn an appreciation for it, and now, it’s one of my faves!
Acorn squash is an excellent source of dietary fiber and contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, beta-carotenes, plus a substantial amount of potassium. All that great nutritional benefit, plus fabulous fall flavor? Yes, please.
Choose a Good Squash
It should be heavy for its size, and the stem should be intact, firm, and dry. Each variety of acorn squash has its own particular coloring, but in general choose one that is rich and deep in color. A pale spot where the gourd rested on the ground is okay.
I got this one from a local farm right down the road, and it was perfect.
Slice in Half
Carefully slice your squash in half, and then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy fibers in the middle cavity.
Make it Yummy
Add the maple syrup (the real stuff), the butter and a splash of bourbon if you’re using it. If you’re serving children, you can leave it out, but it should cook out during the bake time without worry.
Use a pastry brush to make sure the syrup coats all the sides and edges of the squash. You’ll want to do this once or twice more during the baking process, too.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes to start….
After about 45 minutes in the oven, gently poke the flesh with a fork, being careful not to completely pierce through the skin. If the flesh is tender almost all the way through, you’re ready to add in the pecans and bacon (if using) before returning to the oven for 10 more minutes.
Bake a few minutes more…
When the flesh is completely tender, and the edges of the squash are golden, with just a little bitof charring, they’re done!
Carefully Remove From Oven
Cool for Just a Few Minutes
It will be hard to wait, but allow the syrup to cool for a few minutes before serving.
To eat it, I like to use my fork to gently pull the squash away from the outer skin, and mix it all together with the syrupy goodness in the middle.
Look at that presentation. Even if your kids turn their noses up at the word “squash”, if you can get them to try just one bite of this, they will be sold.
Maple Pecan Roasted Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash cut in half, with seeds scooped out
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp real maple syrup
- 2 strips pre-cooked bacon optional
- 1 tbsp bourbon optional
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place the squash halves on a baking sheet with the scooped out sides facing up. Divide the butter and maple syrup between the halves. Add the bourbon now too, if using.
- Bake until tender, about 45-50 minutes, basting the insides of the squash with the butter and syrup a couple of times.
- With about 10 minutes left in the baking cycle, add the pecans (and the pre-cooked bacon, if using).
- Return to the oven for about 10 more minutes, until edges of squash are golden, and start to char just slightly.
- Carefully remove from the oven to avoid splashing hot maple syrup on yourself! Allow to cool slightly before serving.
- To eat, use your fork to gently pull the softened squash away from the skin, fluffing and mixing with the syrupy goodness in the middle.
If you have other favorite ways to prepare squash, I’d love to hear about them. Now that I know I can buy all varieties of fabulous locally grown squash right now the road from me, it will for sure be on our menu a lot this fall. Drop me a comment and let me know which kind to buy next, and how to prepare it!
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