White acorn squash is halved and then baked with maple syrup, butter and sugar for a deliciously easy fall inspired side dish. The perfect combination of savory and sweet!
Have you seen a white acorn squash before?
I feel like 2020 (among many other things) has been the year of winter squash.
I had honestly put squash out of my mind and certainly out of bringing any more squash centered recipes to this site but, then I stumbled upon this beauty.
It was buried deep in a bin at the end of the aisle at the grocery store and while I normally ignore acorn squash (it’s admittedly not my favorite), I literally couldn’t help myself as I reached in and grabbed this guy.
It reminds me of the pretty white-ish gourds perfectly curated homes on Instagram decorate for fall with.
Please note, I am not one of those homes.
While I did go all out on our front porch this year (only for the squirrels to feast upon the 15+ pumpkins I purchased), I do absolutely zilch inside the house.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITE & REGULAR ACORN SQUASH?
Great question. Boring answer…
Pretty much nothing.
Besides the color of the outside, white acorn squash is basically identical to the regular green acorn squash you’re likely more familiar with.
So, that said, since acorn squash isn’t necessarily my favorite tasting winter squash, I did what anyone would do to make something more palatable.
Fill it with butter, sugar and maple syrup.
HOW TO COOK WHITE ACORN SQUASH
One of the reasons I don’t love acorn squash is the skin/peel isn’t edible (unlike kabocha, delicata, or carnival squash which is a hybrid derived partly from acorn squash, etc.) and the ridges on the exterior make peeling it pretty much impossible.
So, the easiest way to cook it is therefore halving it, scooping out the seeds and baking in the oven until it’s so tender you can easily scoop the flesh out.
Whether you want to fill the cavity with simple ingredients like this recipe does or stuff it like in this Twice Baked Kale and Pecorino Acorn Squash is up to you.
You could even use the filling in this stuffed honeynut squash recipe too.
I was digging simplicity on this occasion.
BAKING WHITE ACORN SQUASH
For this recipe you’ll need:
- 1 white acorn squash
- softened butter
- coconut sugar
- maple syrup
Once you’ve halved the squash and removed the seeds (save them to make roasted squash seeds!), place the squash in a baking dish.
Rub the softened butter into the cavity and bit on the edges of each half of the squash. Sprinkle the coconut sugar all over the cavity then drizzle the maple syrup on top. Finish prepping the squash with a generous pinch of Kosher salt then place in a preheated 375°F oven.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until the squash is fork tender and caramelized and golden brown along the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
First and foremost, you can definitely use regular acorn squash in place of white acorn squash for this recipe.
While already vegetarian and gluten-free (it’s even paleo too if you consider grass-fed butter acceptable on the paleo diet), you can easily make this maple baked squash vegan too.
In fact, that’s what I did by using a plant-based butter. Melt or Miyokos are my favorite brands for that. Ghee or coconut oil can also be used in place of butter.
Coconut sugar can be swapped out for brown sugar if preferred. I don’t like white sugar as an option nearly as much as it won’t caramelize and provide the depth of flavor that coconut or brown sugar does.
And lastly, honey can be used instead of maple syrup.
It’s obviously a pretty flexible recipe but no matter which substitutions you may use, the result will be the same – a deliciously savory and sweet side dish that epitomizes fall and winter cooking!
Try the easy miso butter used in this roasted honeypatch squash for something a bit more on the savory side too. It’s also a delicious pairing with white acorn squash.
This maple baked white acorn squash goes perfectly with almost any seasonal meal.
Leave out the delicata squash in this maple mustard chicken dinner and serve this baked squash on the side instead.
Use this white acorn squash in this koginut squash bowl instead of koginut if you can’t find it. The sweet baking approach would be complement the ingredients in that bowl perfectly.
This squash would also go well with a simple skillet pork chop along with your favorite vegetable.
MORE WINTER SQUASH RECIPES TO TRY:
Maple Baked White Acorn Squash
- 1 white acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 tablespoon softened butter, or vegan/plant based butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Score each half of acorn squash using a knife in a cross hatch pattern.
- Rub the cavities of the squash with the softened butter, divide the coconut sugar, maple syrup and salt between the halves and place in baking dish
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until fork tender and edges have turned golden brown and started to caramelize.
- Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.