Easy Thanksgiving Recipes: Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash

by Pamela

roasted acorn squash, easy thanksgiving recipes

You say you’ve got some squash haters in your family? Considering that makes up a lot of what’s available in the produce aisle this time of year, especially the least costly produce, you’re really missing out on a delicious bargain. What if I told you that I have a recipe that just might be what you need to convert those grumbly people? This roasted acorn squash just might be what you need to get them to start enjoying this piece of produce.

I’m guessing that this time of year, even if you (or someone in your house) has a strong opinion against eating squash, you still have lots of squash around your house – decorating it. Let’s face it, regardless of what type of squash we’re talking about, they all come in the colors of Fall. They’re a lot less expensive than buying plastic decorations at the store and when you consider how long lasting they are, you’ve got decorations for two holidays instead of just one. A bargain! Hopefully this post will help you have your decorations and eat them too (Get it…like have your cake and eat it too? – sometimes I am so witty….moving on.)

I usually have them everywhere in our house, and all varieties. My friends, of course, think I’m weird but are kind enough to just not say anything about my idiosyncrasy. But isn’t that what friends do? Let you be you? That’s not what your spouse does though. Craig makes little jokes here and there about ‘living in a barn,’ ‘having pet squashes (squishes?),’ stockpiling for the end of days.’ etc. He also has little fits about being served, and made to eat squash recipes of any kind. Why he puts on these little shows of passive aggressiveness, is beyond me since he eats up his first serving and goes back for more. Some days he can be such a man-child.

Roasted acorn squash for easy thanksgiving recipes

Maybe you do put a dish of cooked squash on the Thanksgiving table just because you think you should. Nobody eats it, but you feel good because you cooked it an put it out. But in another one of my easy Thanksgiving recipes, you’ll have a squash dish that you can proudly put on your table and even some of those haters will love it.

One of the best qualities of squash is also one of its worst. It has a rather bland, but slightly sweet taste when it’s cooked. In my world, that’s like a blank slate. To bring out the sweetness in vegetables, you just need to apply a little heat. In this case…roasting it in the oven. This roasted acorn squash becomes sweeter as it roasts and the ingredients pretty much help it along on its trip to Sweetsville.

This is NOT on the sweetness level of sweet potatoes coated in gooey marshmallows. The roasted acorn squash has more of a subtle sweetness that is enhanced with a touch of brown sugar and orange zest. It gets a richness from some butter and walnuts and a spicy kick from chipotle chile powder.

Roasted acorn squash is definitely one of those dishes that can be eaten all Fall and Winter long. Because it is rather bland, on its own, it takes well to all kinds of seasonings. So fire up that oven and screw those squash haters! Make up a batch of spicy roasted acorn squash and see if you can change their minds and if not, it just means more for you. Win-Win!

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Recipe: Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash


  • 1 Acorn Squash (seeds removed and cut into quarters)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Chipotle Powder
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Toasted Walnuts (crushed)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Brush the fleshy side of the squash quarters with olive oil and lay on baking sheet flesh side down (place quarters together to re-form halves of squash – this helps trap steam in the squash and keeps them from drying out while roasting).
  3. Roast for 45 minutes.
  4. While squash is roasting, mix the sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, chipotle, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn over so that the skin side is down on the pan.
  6. Lightly brush quarters with melted butter.
  7. Liberally sprinkle seasoning mixture over all of the quarters.
  8. Shave Parmesan cheese over top of the quarters.
  9. Slide back into the oven for 15 minutes and cook until sugar has melted and cheese has browned slightly.
  10. Remove from oven and sprinkle walnuts over each piece of squash.
  11. Serve.

Quick notes

Depending on how hot your chipotle powder is should determine how much you use in this recipe.


You could use this preparation on almost any squash.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Recipe by Pamela Braun.


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steve c November 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Loved adding a bit of heat to the recipe, and now…I have them coming for MORE!

Pamela November 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Steve!

sippitysup November 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

You can have squash around as a decoration or even as a pet. They are so well behaved. Then when the mood strikes you have one for dinner. Which is why I don’t have pet chickens. GREG

Pamela November 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Dammit Greg, now what am I going to do with this chicken I was going to give you for Christmas? Guess I’ll be giving you a dinner invitation instead. 😉

CJ at Food Stories November 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

I love squash … Yum-o 🙂

Pamela November 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi CJ,

You’re going to really like this one then. Enjoy!

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