November Seasonal Recipe: Acorn Squash
Written by Arielle Kestenbaum | Reviewed by Melissa Sirolli CDN, RDN, RD CNSC
Acorn squash, a small variety of winter squash, is in season October through December and is named for its resemblance to a large acorn. Like other winter squash, such as spaghetti and butternut squash, acorn squash is considered to be more nutrient-dense than summer squash. It is rich in vitamin A, niacin, folate and vitamin B-6, and especially rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C content is so high; it contains 20% of the daily needs for adults following a 2,000-calorie diet. Acorn squash also contains minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Potassium plays a large role in maintaining the body’s water balance, as well as muscle contraction. Magnesium aids in regulating potassium levels as well as metabolizing energy properly.
Eating foods, such as acorn squash, that are rich in magnesium and potassium can lessen your chance of stroke, osteoporosis and even diabetes. It is also very high in fiber, which is important to supporting a healthy digestive tract. Acorn squash can be prepared in many different ways and incorporated into a variety of different meals. Here are three healthy and delicious recipes that will allow you to add more acorn squash into your meals this holiday season!
1. Sweet Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges
2 acorn squash
½ stick butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 TBSP minced fresh rosemary
½ TBSP chili powder
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half from top to bottom using a sharp knife. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and insides. Cut each half into 4 equal wedges, and then place the wedges with the skin-side down, in a baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
3. Combine the butter, brown sugar, salt, rosemary and chili powder in a bowl and mix into a paste. Smear the paste all over the squash.
4. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Then baste with the butter mixture from the bottom of the pan and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
5. Serve in the baking dish, drizzling more sauce at the end.
2. Acorn Squash Soup
3 whole acorn squash, approximately 8 cups when cooked
6 shallots, 1 cup diced, 3 left whole and peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper, freshly cracked, plus more for seasoning
1 stick unsalted butter, in all
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sage, dry
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut the squash in half on the equator and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut a flat spot on each end so the squash will sit flat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up. To 3 of the squash halves, add a peeled shallot and to the other 3 add 2 garlic cloves on each.
3. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon each of the salt and freshly cracked pepper.
4. Roast in the hot oven until very tender and starting to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin.
5. Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash. Can be done ahead.
6. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the raw diced shallots and sauté until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes.
7. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir to remove any fond.
8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then the remaining chicken stock.
9. Stir to combine, then puree with a stick blender. The mixture will be very thick. Add in the cayenne, white pepper and the herbs.
10. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce then heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a slow simmer, mix again with the stick blender and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and turn heat to low.
11. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
3. Arugula Salad with Caramelized Acorn Squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 acorn squash, sliced in 1/2-inch thick rounds and seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepped
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup whole pecans, chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 cups baby arugula
1 avocado, sliced
1 pomegranate, arils removed
1 seedless cucumber, sliced
Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil.
2. Cover the squash slices with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. If desired, you can add the brown sugar to help the squash caramelize.
3. Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the pecans. Toast until they are slightly golden and fragrant, stirring and shaking the pan as they toast, for about 5 minutes. Toss them with the nutmeg.
4. Add the arugula to a large bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the avocado, pomegranate arils, cucumber, pecans and squash pieces. Cover in the pomegranate dressing.
Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette:
1. Combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Stream in the olive oil while constantly whisking until the dressing comes together.
2. Store in the fridge for up to one week.