This warmly spiced Pecan Crusted Acorn Squash with Crispy Sage Leaves is the ideal Thanksgiving side dish. It’s full of comforting fall flavors, and it will be a beautiful addition to your holiday table.When people ask me to describe my site, I typically say that Cooking On The Weekends celebrates the beauty of ingredients, and it’s a collection of creative, comforting recipes for casual entertaining.
Today is a perfect example of both of those things.
Let’s examine an acorn squash, shall we?
Have you ever stopped to look at one? You must. It’s like stopping to smell the roses. 😉 It’s simply stunning! The colors, the textures, the imperfections . . . .
Pause whenever you can while you’re cooking with such pretty ingredients. Always try to take your time so you don’t miss out on any of the beauty.Every stage of the cooking process can be beautiful.This dish is a lovely side as it is, and it would be fantastic with my Smoky Paprika Bacon Roasted Turkey on Thanksgiving!
You can also cut the squash into bite-sized pieces and mix it with brown rice and sautéed spinach for a hearty vegetarian dish.
Acorn squash skin is perfectly edible when it’s roasted this way. I love how it looks with the skin for presentation — if it’s not to your taste, though, it easily comes off as you eat around it. Enjoy it any which way!
Oh, and you can follow this recipe using butternut squash too!
- 1 (approximately 2¾-pound) Acorn squash
- ¾ cup raw pecans, finely ground (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili paste (I like Sambal Oelek)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- about 2 dozen sage leaves, washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, adjust a rack to the center and line a baking sheet with foil and set it aside.
- Wash and dry the squash well. Then cut it in half, lengthwise, and use a spoon to remove the seeds and any stringy membranes.
- Now cut each half into approximately 1-inch slices, horizontally. Set aside on a plate.
- In a small bowl, mix the pecans with the brown sugar, chili paste, cinnamon, cumin, salt and olive oil.
- Rub one side of each squash slice with the pecan mixture and then place them on the foil-lined baking sheet, rubbed side down. (Not much will stick, and that's ok.) Then using all of the rest of it, add a thin layer to the top of each slice, about ⅛-inch thick.
- Place one or two sage leaves under each slice, and then place the pan in the preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cover it loosely with foil and roast for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven again, and evenly distribute the butter between the top surfaces of each slice, directly on top of the pecan mixture.
- Place the pan back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so -- when it's done, the squash should be very soft, the pecan crust should be golden, and the butter should be bubbling a bit.
- Let it cool a bit on the pan and then arrange on a serving platter, and as you do so, gently remove the sage leaves from the bottom of each squash slice and use them as a delicious garnish.