As winter gives way to spring, make sure you adorn your dinner plates with this mild winter squash before the season ends. Acorn squash contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folate (folic acid), and is good source of fiber—all that in one very simple and delicious side dish. Maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg bring out the natural goodness in acorn squash like nothing else. Because this is a slightly sweet side dish, I like to balance it with more strong-tasting vegetables like spinach, arugula, or broccoli.
Maple Acorn Squash
1 whole acorn squash
4 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut acorn squash in half from pole to pole; remove seeds and fibrous pulp. Pierce the inside of the squash with a fork several times.
Place squash cut side up on a rimmed plate or baking dish. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of water in the bottom of the dish, which will create steam when cooking. Microwave for 6-7 minutes on high, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
Remove from the microwave and place 2 teaspoons of butter in the cavity of each squash and drizzle 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into the cavity and on the edges of the squash. Add a couple drops of vanilla, sprinkle with cinnamon as desired, and add a dash of nutmeg to each squash.
Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Oven only method:
If you choose not to use a microwave or do not have one, instead, place the squash face down in the baking dish in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender. Proceed with the remainder of the recipe.
Note: I prefer this method when I am already using the oven for an extended period of time for another part of the meal.