I still remember the very first time I tried acorn squash. It was only about seven or eight years ago when it appeared as a side dish at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I was so intrigued at first (yes, I was apparently living under a giant rock), and then proceeded to fall immediately in love with its tender, slightly sweet taste.
Since then, I’ve made sure that it always has a place on our holiday menu. I love the fact that it can be stuffed and served as a vegetarian main dish, but can also be kept super simple for an easy side. And today’s recipe most definitely falls under the easy side dish category. An acorn squash is sliced into wedges, brushed with an olive oil maple syrup mixture, and then topped with a panko Parmesan rosemary crust. Once you get the dish prepped, it’s completely hands-off and just needs to bake away in the oven.
The end result? Melt-in-your-mouth tender wedges that are sweet, salty and herby. Perfect for a Thanksgiving menu!
Acorn squash can be a bit difficult to cut (you’ll need a little arm power), so work carefully and use a sharp knife. There’s no need to remove the skin - it gets nice and tender after baking.
While the majority of the maple syrup mixture is brushed onto the squash before baking, a touch is reserved for drizzling on after the wedges are cooked. The mixture does separate a bit as it sits, so be sure to give it a quick whisk before drizzling on at the very end. You could also absolutely use melted butter in place of the olive oil, if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Slice each half into about 6 wedges, approximately 1 inch thick. Arrange the wedges in the greased baking dish.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and maple syrup. Brush about three quarters of the mixture generously on the wedges. In a medium bowl, mix together the panko, cheese, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on the wedges, using your fingers to pat the mixture lightly onto each wedge. Cover the baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and the topping is lightly browned. Drizzle the remaining maple syrup mixture over the wedges and serve.