I have to admit, I walk by the displays of brightly colored and oddly shaped winter squash in the grocery store and just assume that most people use them for decoration. Well, here’s one good reason to eat them!
Do you remember those nom-a-licious Glazed Pork Chops from a long time ago? It hit me the other day that the same spice rub that I used for the chops would probably be pretty awesome on winter squash. I was right. This recipe is SO easy, but SO tasty. Get the squash started before you begin making the rest of your meal and you’ve got a delicious and elegant side dish ready to come out of the oven when the rest of your food is done. I think they’d be really good to serve alongside Maple Dijon Chicken or even Baked Barley with Mushrooms for a vegetarian meal.
You can use pretty much any type of winter squash for this recipe. I used a little variety that looked something like a cross between an acorn squash and a pumpkin, called a Golden Nugget. Ha! Anyone else amused by that name? Anyway, you can use acorn, buttercup, butternut, pumpkin, turban, or whatever. They’re all good and they’re all good for you. You can’t go wrong.
Spice Rubbed Roasted Squash
- 2 small (or 2½ lbs.) winter squash $3.19
- ¼ cup brown sugar $0.08
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder $0.02
- ½ tsp smoked paprika $0.05
- ½ tsp salt $0.02
- Freshly ground black pepper (10-15 cranks) $0.05
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stem off of the squash and then carefully slice each squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh. Cut the squash halves in half one more time, so that each squash is now in quarters.
- In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Add a little bit of water (1-2 Tbsp) to make a paste that can be spread easily over the squash.
- Place the squash pieces in a glass or ceramic baking dish so that they are in a single layer, not overlapping, and cut sides are facing up. Spread the spice mix liberally over all cut surfaces of the squash (don't season the skin side).
- Roast the squash in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the edges are golden brown and the squash is easily pierced with a fork. The exact time will depend on the size and thickness of your squash.
Step by Step Photos
I used these cute Golden Nugget squash. They are a bit stringier than acorn squash, but they still have a fantastic flavor. I bought two, not realizing how much they would make. Each serving for this recipe is 1/4 of a squash, which ended up being quite a bit. This is 2.5 lbs of squash. Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the stems, then cut them in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh, then cut each half in half once more so that each squash is now in four pieces. Place the squash in a casserole dish in a single layer with cut sides up.
Combine the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, freshly cracked black pepper, and salt in a bowl.
Stir in the oil (this will help keep the squash from drying out) and just enough water to make a spreadable paste (1-2 Tbsp).
Spread the spice paste over all of the cut surface of the squash (don’t rub it on the skin side). Place the squash in the preheated oven and let it roast for 45 minutes to one hour, or until…
Until the edges are golden brown and the squash is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Yummm.
I added a little parsley for color contrast, but it was purely for the benefit of the photo (orange & green are complimentary colors don’t you know). The squash is unstoppable even without the parsley’s help!