When preparing vegetables as a side dish, simple and uncomplicated is best. A great tasting vegetable shouldn’t be over-flavoured with additional ingredients. Roasted Acorn Squash uses a few seasonings to elevate the flavour, but the squash is the star!
Roasted vegetables are no stranger to Lord Byron’s Kitchen. We love it and prefer roasting over pan-searing or boiling any time. I will not knock boiling vegetables, because it was the way my mother cooked veggies all the time, and she always managed to place really tasty dinners on the table.
But, I will say that roasting a vegetable not only helps to keep the nutrients where they belong – in the food and not down the drain with the boiling water – but roasting also adds depth of flavour and that wonderfully warming caramelization that we all love and long for.
Roasted Acorn Squash is proof that simplicity in a rustic side dish like this is always best. When seasoning a vegetable and preparing it for the oven, salt and pepper is a must. The salt will flavour the vegetable, remove some of the moisture which will help with the caramelization, and will enhance the vegetable’s natural flavour. Of course, the black pepper adds depth as well, but also a little warmth.
The aromatics in this dish come from the garlic and the onions. One needs to be really careful when roasting vegetables with garlic. Vegetables are always roasted at high temperatures, which will likely burn the garlic and we all know what happens to garlic when cooked aggressively. It burns super easily and will turn your hard work into a bitter tasting disaster.
I add the onions at the same time; right along with the acorn squash. Onions can certainly stand up to the high cooking temperature, and they will roast and blister and caramelize, which will add so much flavour to the squash. About half way through the roasting time, I’ll sprinkle the minced garlic over top and allow it to cook with the squash and onion.
Herbs are delicate and I don’t like to overcook them. When using fresh herbs, I’ll add them to recipes at the end of the cooking time or at a minimum, just ten minutes or so before the dish is ready. But, when cooking with dried herbs – especially hearty herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme – they can hold their own.
Dried herbs can take the heat, so to speak. They can be tossed right in their right from the beginning with the acorn squash and the onions. The dried herbs will infuse and enhance. They will also give off wonderful aromatics, which let’s face it, is all a part of the end result.
I’ve often heard that we eat with our eyes first, but I don’t believe that is true. I think we eat with our nose before we eat with our eyes. After all, this Roasted Acorn Squash will fill your kitchen with a comforting and homey scent long before your eyes behold the beauty of everyone‘s favourite roasted and caramelized autumn vegetable.
Now, just because I love roasted vegetables so much, and I hope you do too, I want you to visit these links and take a look at some of my other roasted vegetable recipes. You can make up a whole bunch of these and have a great meal! Just add some chicken, turkey, roast beef, or a vegetarian protein, and you’re all set to go!
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Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 whole acorn squash, peeled and cubed (about 6 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Toss everything into a large bowl, but leave the garlic out. Use a spoon to toss the ingredients until well mixed and coated with the olive oil.
- Turn the mixture out onto a large, rimmed baking sheet. Be sure the squash is in a single layer.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle over the minced garlic. Using a flat, metal spatula, toss the squash and once again make sure the squash is in a single layer.
- Return to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Serve immediately.
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