In the chilly autumn evenings, nothing beats the flavor and aroma of warm, baked squash. While acorn squash is typically associated with winter squash varieties, it actually belongs to the same species as summer squashes, such as zucchini and yellow crooknecks. Thankfully, the tough skin of an acorn squash allows it to keep for weeks in a cool, dark place, making it a favorite staple for the fall and winter months.
The best acorn squash should be approximately one to three pounds, and feel heavy for its size. If the squash is any bigger than that, you run the risk of getting a squash that has been harvested too late in the season, which will render the squash tough and stringy. Look for a squash that has a nice combination of green and orange coloring, that’s not too shiny. If the squash is shiny and completely green, it’s been harvested prematurely.
Nutritionally, a one-cup serving of acorn squash comes in at a meager 115 calories and is packed with fiber, potassium, and magnesium. That same one cup serving will also give you 2 grams of protein and 30% of your daily Vitamin C requirements, which makes it a very attractive alternative to, say, diet-killer mashed potatoes. While acorn squash is traditionally baked and seasoned with loads of butter and brown sugar, this recipe features a figure-friendly basting with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
And F.Y.I.: try roasting and seasoning the acorn squash seeds for sprinkling on salads. They’re edible and delicious!
Balsamic Glazed Acorn Squash
Acorn squash, figure on serving one-half of a squash per person
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash acorn squash (see recipe for vinegar-based vegetable wash). Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and long fibrous strands.
Sprinkle squash halves with kosher salt; place face down in a large roasting pan. Add water to the pan to a depth of 1/4” and place in oven. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender but still firm.
Remove from oven and allow to cool; slice squash halves into 1-1/2” sections on the bias and put back in the roasting pan, right-side up. Brush each section generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and return to hot oven.
Bake five minutes; baste squash with balsamic vinegar. Repeat process until squash is very tender and well-roasted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.