This roasted delicata squash recipe is an easy sweet/savory side dish for Thanksgiving and the holidays - topped with pomegranate, almonds, mint and yogurt!
Roasted Delicata Squash is a wonderful way to enjoy this winter squash by simply slicing it with the peel on and oven-roasting it until it’s fork tender and caramelized. Enjoy it alone or top with nuts, fruits and herbs for a festive holiday side dish, perfect for Thanksgiving! You can also use delicata squash in squash recipes like Butternut Squash Soup or Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad.
What is delicata squash
Delicata squash is a type of winter squash that has a yellowish cream-color with green stripes. It has a cylindrical shape. As you can imagine from the name delicata, it has a delicate skin. That means the skin is super easy to cut through, peel and even eat (which I totally recommend!). Delicata squash is most commonly roasted, but you can also microwave it, steam it or even sautée it.
Why I love roasted delicata squash
- It’s one of the easiest winter squashes to prep. There’s no need to peel the skin and its soft rind makes it easy to cut through effortlessly.
- It tastes like sweet potatoes but has only 7g of carbs in a serving (3/4 cup) compared to about 40g in sweet potatoes.
- It’s a great low calorie side dish. A serving of delicata squash only has 30 calories and no fat. That makes it a great option if you’re watching your calories around the holidays. Also, when raw, you can make the squash into zoodles and substitute it for pasta like you would with zucchini or butternut squash
- It has a sweet and nutty caramelized flavor with roasted, which makes it a warm festive dish for the holidays.
How to prepare roasted delicata squash
Cut the delicata squash
The first step is to cut the squash in half lengthwise. If you’ve ever cut a raw butternut squash or raw spaghetti squash, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to cut open a delicata squash. Thanks to that delicate rind.
Like the other squashes, you’ll find large white seeds inside. These are edible, and if you have the time, they are wonderful roasted. You will need to rinse, drain and pat them dry, then roast them under the broiler for 5-10 minutes.
It’s fairly easy to scoop with just a simple spoon. Some people recommend a grapefruit spoon for scooping the seeds, but I don’t find it necessary. They come out very easily.
Slice and season the delicata squash
Next I use a large sharp knife and slice the delicata squash into 1/4 inch thick slices. If you prefer to cut them in chunks, that’s fine too. But this squash is often prepared cut into semi or full circles like this. Make sure to slice them all an even thickness to ensure they all finish cooking at the same time. Keep in mind if you do slice them thinner, your cooking time will be shorter.
Like roasting other squashes, you can season this to taste. I like to keep it simple with salt, pepper and ground cinnamon. Then I toss it all with olive oil.
Some recipes also add in some maple syrup here. The touch of sweetness from the maple syrup helps it get more caramelized while roasting in the oven, making it more nutty and sweet. For this side dish though, I decided to leave out the maple syrup.
Roast the sliced delicata squash
If you do decide to use maple syrup, make sure to line a baking sheet with parchment paper to avoid a sticky mess. I still like using parchment paper regardless because it prevents the delicata squash from sticking to the baking dish. And hello easy clean-up! Then it’s roasting time.
Once it’s done roasting, you can eat the squash on its own. And let me just tell you, you will be totally eating it on its own straight from the pan. For the actual side dish recipe though, I like dressing it up with pomegranate seeds, roasted almonds (walnuts or pecans work really well too), some fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of yogurt to finish off the dish.
The caramelized flavor of the roasted delicata squash contrasts so nicely with the fresh and bright flavors of the pomegranate and mint leaves. When something has been roasting in the oven for a while, the best way to revive it is with fresh herbs. And mint definishly delivers that freshness. It’s also unexpected during the fall season, when we typically use a lot of thyme, sage and rosemary for these side dishes.
This is one of those side dishes I will definitely be making for Thanksgiving this year. It’s unexpected, easy and comes together so beautifully.
For more squash recipes, check out:
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
- Butternut Squash Noodles
- Butternut Squash Pomegranate Quinoa Salad
- Parmesan Risotto Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash Fries
If you make this healthy-ish feelgood Roasted Delicata Squash recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Roasted Delicata Squash
- 2 small Delicata squash halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees. Place the squash in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with cinnamon, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
- Spread the Delicata squash evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake the squash until tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Remove from the pan, taste and season again with more salt and pepper, if desired.
- Arrange on a serving dish with pomegranate, toasted almonds, mint leaves and greek yogurt, if desired.
How do you use Delicata squash?