This vegan-friendly Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce is sweetened with maple syrup, is an easy side dish that only requires a few minutes of hands-on work, and is perfect for fall!
Three years ago, I went a little crazy with winter squash. I was newly married, on an extra-tight budget, and suddenly realized how miraculously wonderful (and CHEAP) these fall and winter treats are. In fact– I went a little TOO crazy over winter squash, and after weeks and weeks of “squash-only” meals, I decided I was tired of my newest favorite… and stopped buying them.
Happily, I’m once again craving these healthy veggies– and have been gleefully scooping up squash after squash, and skipping my way out of the grocery store with armfuls of butternut, spaghetti, and of course, acorn squash.
This recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce is EASY– with only a few minutes of actual “work.” Most of the time is spent waiting on the acorn squash to slowly roast in the oven, and you can spend that time sighing happily, because your kitchen will smell AMAZING.
How to Cut an Acorn Squash
First things first, you’ll have to cut open your squash. This is the hardest part– because like most winter squash, acorn squash are HARD AS… Acorns. (Bahahaha… They’re also hard as rocks.) Don’t worry, though– you’ve got this!
Grab a full-sized chef’s knife (you want an 8″ knife, not a mini 6″ chef’s knife), or even better– you could use a meat cleaver. Set the acorn squash on a cutting board with the widest part down. Flex your arm muscles to remind yourself that you are STRONG, and then, carefully, keeping track of all your fingers and thumbs– pierce the squash through its middle with the very point of your knife and slowly rock the blade to form a groove.
Using this groove, cut the squash in half toward both ends, from stem-end to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and membrane, and then slice the squash into long strips about 1″ wide. And that’s it– the rest is simple and doesn’t require strong muscles or knife skills.
How to Roast an Acorn Squash
To make this tasty fall side dish, arrange the cut squash on a baking sheet. Soften butter or coconut oil, mix it with maple syrup,* and then brush (or drizzle) the sweet mixture onto the squash. Sprinkle everything with a little salt and red pepper flakes.
Roast until the squash is tender. Serve the sweet and fragrant acorn squash along with the easy, tart cranberry sauce, as a fabulous fall side dish!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce
This vegan-friendly Maple Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce is sweetened with maple syrup, is an easy side dish that only requires a few minutes of hands-on work, and is perfect for fall!
This recipe easily doubles or triples.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash:
- 1 Acorn squash
- 2 oz Butter OR Coconut oil
- 3 TB Maple syrup, divided* (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Apple cider** (See Recipe Notes)
- 1 TB maple syrup
Roasting the Acorn Squash:
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Set acorn squash on a cutting board on its side. Cut it in half with a large chef knife or meat cleaver. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane, and then cut the squash into 1" wide strips.
Add butter (or coconut oil) and 2 TB maple syrup to a small bowl, and microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is softened. Stir them together.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the squash on the baking sheet, and then brush the butter and syrup mixture over the squash. Make sure to cover both sides of the squash.
Sprinkle the red pepper flakes and sea salt over the squash.
Roast squash for 30-40 minutes, and turning halfway through cooking.. Squash is ready when it's golden and easily pierced with a fork.
While the squash is in the oven, heat cranberries, apple cider, and syrup in a covered pot until berries begin to burst (or microwave covered for 2-3 minutes). Set aside.
Arrange squash on a serving platter, and drizzle with remaining 1 TB maple syrup. Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.
*Use REAL maple syrup, not pancake syrup. If you don't have maple syrup, substitute honey or agave syrup.
**The apple cider used in this recipe is the nonalcoholic American version, not alcoholic, fermented apple cider. If you can't find apple cider, use unfiltered apple juice or orange juice.
The peel on the acorn squash is edible (and delicious!), but the roasted squash will easily slide off the peel if your guests don't want to eat it.