No need to peel this squash! This easy roasted delicata squash comes out sweet and tender every time. Here’s how to cook it!
Our favorite squash? It’s not the noble butternut, or the trendy noodle-like spaghetti squash. It’s a unique underdog that’s even more delicious…the delicata squash! It roasts up into beautiful half-moons, with edible skin (no peeling!) and a sweet flavor that’s something like a sweet potato. Even better, it’s quick to cook: just 20 minutes in a hot oven! Alex and I have been cooking with delicata squash for years: we especially love it roasted up as a healthy spin on French fries. Here’s how to cook roasted delicata squash!
What’s delicata squash?
Delicata squash is an oblong winter squash, shaped almost like a thick zucchini. It’s creamy white to yellow in color, with vibrant green and orange stripes. Delicata squash has edible skin, making it very easy to cook. The flavor is very sweet, much sweeter than butternut squash. This makes it very easy to make roasted delicata squash: you don’t have to peel it! Just slice it into half-moon shapes to roast.
Where to find this type of squash? Delicata squash becoming more popular here in the US: you can find it at many mainstream grocery stores. In the fall, look for it at your local farmers market!
How to cook delicata squash (a tutorial)
How to cook delicata squash? It could not be easier! The best way is roasting it in a hot oven so that it becomes sweet and caramelized. You don’t even need any fancy spices or flavorings at all: let the squash do the talking! This roasted delicata squash is seriously tasty and all you need is a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Step 1: Remove the seeds and slice into half-moons.
Slice the delicata squash in half, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Make sure to get all the attached strings off. Then slice the squash into about 1/2-inch thick half-moon shapes.
Step 2: Mix with olive oil, salt and pepper.
All you need to roast delicata squash is a little olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. This recipe calls for 2 medium to large delicata squash, which need only 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Step 3: Bake at 450 degrees until tender (20 to 25 minutes).
Place the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. If you double the recipe and use 4 pounds of squash and two baking sheets, you may need to add a little time to the bake time. Roasted delicata squash is best when cooked at high heat, so it gets perfectly browned and caramelized. There’s no need even to stir!
Tip: watch out for unripe delicata squash!
You delicata squash should taste sweet and tender, almost like a sweet potato. If it tastes bitter: it’s possible that you got an unripe squash! After eating this tasty veggie for years, we got one “bad” or unripe delicata squash from our farmers market that tasted more bitter than sweet.
If this happens to you on your first time eating it: give it another try! The flavor of a good delicata squash should taste very sweet and tender. Don’t base your opinion on this veggie on a squash wasn’t perfectly ripe.
Ways to serve roasted delicata squash
Once you’ve cooked up your roasted delicata squash, there are many great ways to serve it! Here are some of our favorites:
- Side dish. As is, it’s a perfect easy side dish! It goes with everything from salmon to burgers.
- As “fries”. Call them roasted delicata squash “fries” and serve with dipping sauce! They’re great with ketchup, honey mustard sauce, tahini sauce, or buffalo sauce. Or dip straight into sour cream (yum!).
- On a salad. Throw those half-moons onto a leafy greens and top with pomegranate seeds, cheese crumbles, and balsamic dressing. Or try it in our Delicata Squash Salad.
Best ways to season delicata squash
To us, delicata squash is so tasty that it doesn’t need anything more than olive oil, salt, and pepper. But maybe you want to get a little fancier? Here are a few spices you could mix in to change it up:
- Garlic powder: Add a bit before roasting. We do this with our Roasted Sweet Potatoes and they’re divine.
- Chili powder & cumin: Add a Latin-style kick to your roasted delicata squash with a few pinches of each.
- Smoked paprika & a pinch cayenne: Add a smoky undertone and back-end heat! Or add a little maple syrup if you wanted some sweet and smoky action.
Let us know: how do you like to serve it? And there you have it: all you need to know about roasted delicata squash! It’s a fantastic vegetable side dish for dinner parties, holidays (like Thanksgiving and Christmas), and easy weeknight meals.
Delicata squash nutrition
Is delicata squash healthy? Here are some of the benefits of any type of winter squash, per Harvard School of Public Health:
- Good source of potassium and fiber.
- Good source of Vitamin C and B.
- Only 80 calories per 1 cup cubed.
There are no studies to cite on specific health benefits of delicata squash, but here’s what we can say! A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, and have a positive effect on blood sugar to keep your appetite in check.
This roasted delicata squash recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.Print
No need to peel this squash! This easy roasted delicata squash comes out sweet and tender every time. Here’s exactly how to cook it.
- 2 pounds delicata squash (2 medium to large)*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Wash the squash. Cut it in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut each half into 1/2-inch half-moon shaped slices.
- Place the slices in a bowl. Mix with the olive oil, kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet in a single layer.
- Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Eat immediately. (Store leftovers refrigerated and reheat in a 400 degree oven.)
*Double to make heartier servings for feeding 4 to 6.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Vegetable
Keywords: Roasted Delicata Squash, How to Cook Delicata Squash
Last updated: August 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.