How to Make Roasted Delicata Squash

Yes, you’re supposed to eat the skin. You can eat the seeds, too.

January 21, 2022

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844663922

Homemade Roasted Delicata Squash with Salt and Pepper

Photo by: bhofack2/Getty Images

bhofack2/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

If you like acorn and butternut squash you’re going to like delicata. Not only is it gorgeous thanks to green and yellow stripes, but also it's a breeze to prep and it tastes intensely sweet and nutty. It might just become your favorite winter squash.

522237528

522237528

Delicata squash on wood board.

Photo by: The Picture Pantry/Alanna Taylor-Tobin/Getty Images

The Picture Pantry/Alanna Taylor-Tobin/Getty Images

What Is Delicata Squash?

Delicata squash seeds have been around for ages, but until the 2000s when Cornell University bread a disease-resistant variety, it wasn't widely grown. Since then, it's grown in popularity, appearing in farmers' markets and restaurant menus first and then trickling to national grocery store chains. Its peak season is from late summer through late fall.

Shaped like a cucumber, delicata squash has butter yellow skin with green and yellow stripes running down the length. It's considered a winter squash, along with the more familiar acorn, butternut and pumpkin. Technically, however, it's in the same family as summer squash. Delicata is aptly named because when roasted, its skin is tender enough to eat. Like all the winter squashes, it is delicious roasted and or turned into soup. As a twist, delicata can be sliced, battered and fried as tempura; it can also be sauteed or steamed.

Delicata squash boasts nutritional benefits, too. It's high in potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium and Vitamins C and B. Compared to other types of winter squash, it doesn't have as much beta-carotene.

What Does Delicata Squash Taste Like?

When properly cooked, delicata squash is tender but not mushy or stringy. Its flavors are much more concentrated than, say, those of butternut squash. It tastes very sweet and slightly nutty (a bit like pumpkin pie), so few other flavors need to be added when you cook it. When cooked, the skin is completely tender.

How to Buy and Store Delicata Squash

When shopping, choose firm squash, being careful to avoid squash with soft spots. As with most vegetables, you should choose a squash that is heavy for its size. A heavy squash is fresh, while a light squash is older and the flesh could be dried out. The color of the stripes won’t affect the flavor of the cooked squash.

Delicata squash does not do well in the under 40-degree F environment of a refrigerator. It can be stored up to 3 weeks at an average room temperature.

844653882

844653882

Homemade Roasted Delicata Squash with Salt and Pepper

Photo by: bhofack2/Getty Images

bhofack2/Getty Images

How to Cut Delicata Squash

No matter how you will be cooking your delicata squash, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove any price stickers.
  2. Wash the squash: remember you may be eating the skin.
  3. Cut your squash in half lengthwise with a chef's knife.
  4. Scoop out the seeds: we save them and roast them the same way we roast pumpkin seeds: a drop of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  5. Flip each squash half over so it rests on its flat side. Slice the squash into 1-inch pieces. Each piece will be shaped like a pretty crescent.

Can You Eat All of a Delicata Squash?

The answer here is a resounding yes. A squash with zero food waste! There's no need to peel the skin of the delicata squash; it becomes very tender when you cook it. Typically you do scoop out the seeds, but you can toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them like pumpkin seeds.

How to Make Roasted Delicata Squash

Roasting is the easiest way to cook delicata squash. There are two ways to roast delicata squash: sliced or a whole half squash.

To Roast Sliced Delicata Squash

Slices of roast delicata squash can be eaten as is, they’re a great side dish. They can also be tossed into salads or medleys of other roasted vegetables.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up.
  3. Slice halved, seeded squash into 1-inch-thick slices.
  4. Toss the squash slices with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or nutmeg are good choices if you’d like to spice it up.
  5. Place the slices flat on the sheet pan in a single layer.
  6. Roast until soft and spotted dark brown in places, 20 to 30 minutes,

To Roast Halves of Delicata Squash

Roast halves can be scooped out and turned into mashed delicata squash, much like mashed sweet potatoes. Roasting halves is the best way to cook the squash when you want to make delicata squash soup.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up.
  3. Lightly brush the cut sides of your halved, clean squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the squash either cut side up or cut side down on the sheet pan. Roasting cut side up allows you to add some fresh herbs and a bit of butter.
  5. Roast the squash until it's soft when pierced with a paring knife, 30 to 45 minutes.

Delicata Squash Substitute

Any of the sweet winter squashes can be used as a substitute for delicata, but only acorn has skin that will soften when roasted: it won’t be as soft as delicata, but it is edible. Butternut, honey nut (a smaller, sweeter butternut), sugar pumpkin, kabocha and hubbard squashes are all good options. Another option? Sweet potatoes? They boast a surprisingly similar sweet, earthy flavor.

Delicata Squash Recipes

Food Network Kitchen's Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash with Spiced Pepitas.

Photo by: Matt

Matt

Delicata, like most winter squash, pairs perfectly with maple syrup. Here the roasted squash is served on a salad of three lettuces with pomegranate, pepitas and goat cheese.

Photo by: Chantell Quernemoen

Chantell Quernemoen

Delicata brings the sweetness and red jalapenos bring the spiciness to this dish. The squash seeds are toasted and used as a garnish.

Delicata squash, turnip, Brussels sprouts and carrots make for a vibrantly colored autumnal salad. Goat cheese adds some tang, while currants and balsamic vinaigrette round out the dish with sweetness.

Photo by: Heather Ramsdell

Heather Ramsdell

This Japanese-inspired sheet pan meal features sweet and spicy squash, crispy panko-crusted tofu and sesame-scented spinach. We like to serve it with rice.

Guy Fieri's Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese from Backyard Bites: Braised Short Ribs as seen on Food Network's Guy's Big Bite

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Yes, this is a recipe for acorn squash, but you can totally swap in delicata squash if you find it.

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