Roasted Acorn Squash With Brown Sugar Syrup

This is a great fall or winter vegetable treat, but because it is high in fat and sugar, I only recommend this as that occasional splurge you allow yourself, not a weekly choice. Calorie-wise it’s not bad, at under 300 calories per serving, which is one acorn squash half with syrup. It’s also quite simple to make, with just three ingredients.

This acorn squash dish is a smaller and somewhat lighter version of a roasted butternut squash recipe that I fondly remember my grandmother in Wisconsin would make when I was a child and my family came to Madison to stay with my grandparents on long vacations. My grandmother has been gone for more than 30 years, so I was unable to ask her how she fixed her butternut squash dish. I tried experimenting with making the butternut squash but I was never able to get the right cooking temperature or amount of syrup and it was taking over an hour to get the vegetable tender enough and I wasn’t thrilled about that.

My mother, however, remembers that her mother would make roasted acorn squash with the brown sugar syrup when she was a child, so I decided to go that route. The acorn squash is smaller and easier to cut than butternut squash and this roasts at under an hour.

Ingredients:

Like I said, just three ingredients, along with a sharp kitchen knife and an ice cream scooper.
Like I said, just three ingredients, along with a sharp kitchen knife and an ice cream scoop.

one medium-sized acorn squash, washed

1 and 1/2 Tbs butter (I use Smart Balance)

1 and 1/2 Tbs light brown sugar

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

First step is to carefully cut the acorn squash in half. A good kitchen knife is definitely required.

One acorn squash, ready to be cut into.
One acorn squash, ready to be cut into.

The squash cuts pretty easily; just try to cut evenly so that both halves are pretty uniform (of course, if it’s just you you’re fixing it for and one half is bigger, than by all means, enjoy the bigger one).

I started cutting from the bottom of the acorn squash (opposite from the stem side).
I started cutting from the bottom of the acorn squash (opposite from the stem side).
The halved squash.
The halved squash.

The next step is to remove the seeds and fibrous material from the squash halves. The best tool to accomplish this task is an ice cream scoop; a melon baller would work but take much more time. Use the scoop to clean the seeds and stringy fibers from each half, leaving an empty and smooth cavern that will be filled with butter and brown sugar. Have a small bowl handy for the seeds and fibers to go into as it will be easier to discard them in the trash that way.

The acorn squash halves, about to be cleaned out with an ice cream scoop.
The acorn squash halves, about to be cleaned out with an ice cream scoop.

Place the squash halves in a medium sized baking dish that can withstand roasting temps of 450 degrees.

The now empty squash halves in a baking dish.
The now empty squash halves in a baking dish.

Carefully add water into the bottom of the baking dish about a quarter of the way up the squash, without getting water into the wells of the halves. This will help soften the skin as the squash roasts.

Water has been added to bottom of the dish.
Water has been added to bottom of the dish.

Add the Tbs and a half of butter to the empty well of each half.

Here goes one Tbs of butter into a squash half, with a half Tbs to follow.
Here goes one Tbs of butter into a squash half, with a half Tbs to follow.

Now add the Tbs and a half of brown sugar on top of the butter.

Brown sugar going on top of the butter.
Brown sugar going on top of the butter.

Now that’s done, and both wells of the squash halves are filled, place the baking dish in the oven and roast for at 45-50 minutes. Ideally, the squash should be soft enough to cut into with a spoon but still have some texture.

The acorn squash going into the oven to roast.
The acorn squash going into the oven to roast.
The roasted acorn squash just taken out of the oven.
The roasted acorn squash just taken out of the oven.

 

Here is one of the acorn squash halves plated with   salmon.
Here is one of the acorn squash halves plated with tonight’s protein: grilled salmon.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Breakdown*:

Serving size: one acorn half with syrup

Cal: 287; Fat: 17 g; Carbs: 36 g; Pro: 1 g.

*If you use regular butter instead of a substitute like Smart Balance, the calories and fat will be higher.

 

 

 

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