Delicata Squash are colorful and delicious, whether served as a side, on a salad or even as a snack. Their pretty slices are easy to prep and relatively quick to roast, depending on how “done” you want them, and here I share how to roast delicata squash.
The distinctive stripes of the delicata are decorative and keep their color even when the cut surfaces turn slightly brown during roasting.
Roasting a delicata squash in a toaster oven
I made this recipe while in-between kitchens, so only had a toaster oven’s worth of roasting space. The delicata is the perfect squash to roast in such a small oven, because it just fit! And, it didn’t give me the huge amounts of finished product that I would have had with a butternut, for example, since this is mostly for me.
I used a small, toaster-oven-sized silpat silicone baking sheet which, as you can tell, was just a little too big for my toaster oven tray. I had plenty of space to spread out the slices of delicata, though.
The great thing about the delicata is that its color is light enough to see when it is browning, whether you use regular oven or a toaster oven. The timing in a larger oven should be the same.
What does delicata taste like?
Delicata has a smooth, mild flavor that to me tastes a little like butternut or acorn squash, less nutty than a kabocha. That mild flavor could make it go with so many dishes, like salads or instead of butternut in this squash bowl.
What does delicata’s name mean?
According to Wikipedia, “Delicata squash is a variety of winter squash with cream-coloured cylindrical fruits striped in green or orange that are cooked. As its name suggests, it has characteristically a delicate rind (or skin). It is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash.”
We can assume, though Wikipedia doesn’t say, that the name means the squash is delicate.
What nutrients are in delicata squash?
Like other winter squash, delicatas provide a good dose of fiber, vitamin A from carotenoids, lutein, potassium, and folate, all for around 80 calories per cup.
How do I prepare the delicata for roasting?
Because you will be eating the skin, it’s important to clean the squash really well before cutting into it. You want to use a soft brush to get into the grooves, if any, but not scrape off the outer skin.
Otherwise, the slices need just a little oil to keep them from drying out, plus salt and any other seasonings you like.
I used avocado oil in roasting these delicata pieces because it’s better suited to the high cooking temperature than olive oil. Adjust the spice according to what you will use the pieces for: black pepper for the greatest versatility, or chipotle if you will use a dressing like my chipotle pumpkin vinaigrette.
Note: Perhaps because delicata’s skin is, well, delicate, I can’t keep the delicata in storage for as long as other winter squashes such as pumpkin and butternut. It’s much more susceptible to rotting from inside than any other squashes. So check for firmness when you buy them, and use them sooner than you might a butternut or other thick-skinned squash.
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How to Roast Delicata Squash
- 1 delicata squash
- 1-2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin chipotle or black pepper (more or less to taste)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Scrub the outside of the squash with a brush until very clean. Cut ends off to create two flat edges. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds (a grapefruit spoon helps make this easy).
- Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices, keeping the size of the slices consistent. Rub, toss, or spray with olive oil so both sides of each slice are coated with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place in preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes (the longer time is needed at high altitude). Using tongs, flip each slice over and roast for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Enjoy immediately.
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