Delicata squash will be your new favorite EASY fall/winter vegetable! This roasted delicata squash recipe is sweet, nutty, velvety, with buttery caramelized flavor that’s delicious plain or fabulous on salads! The squash is a breeze to prepare with a manageable size, edible skin (no need to peel!), and super easy-to-slice.
What is Delicata Squash?
Delicata squash, scientifically known as Cucurbita pepo, is a winter squash that is relatively smaller compared to other winter squash varieties. It is prized for its convenience in cooking due to its thin, tender skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. Delicata squash is often roasted, sautéed, or stuffed, making it a popular choice.
What does Delicata Squash taste like?
Delicata squash is nicknamed the “sweet potato squash.” It boasts a sweet and nutty flavor with a creamy texture that becomes increasingly rich and nutty once caramelized in the oven. The skin is also edible, adding a subtle, sublime crispness to contrast the velvety interior.
What does delicata squash look like?
Delicata squash has an oblong, cylindrical shape, typically 2-3 inches wide and 6 to 9 inches long. It has a pale yellow or cream-colored skin marked by green or orange stripes and distinctive ridges. The flesh is golden-orange.
How to cut Delicata Squash
How to cook Delicata Squash
Delicata Squash Roasted FAQs
The calories in delicata squash will vary based on preparation, but on average, a one-cup serving of cooked delicata squash contains approximately 40-60 calories. This estimate is based on roasting the squash without additional fats or oils. If you add ingredients like oil, butter, or sweeteners during cooking, the calorie count will increase. For precise nutritional information, check out myfitnesspal.com.
The carbohydrate content for a one-cup serving of cooked delicata squash contains approximately 8-12 grams of carbohydrates without additional sweeteners. As with any food, the exact carbohydrate content may depend on factors such as size and cooking method.
Delicata squash is in season during the fall months. It is considered a winter squash and is usually harvested from late summer to early fall. The peak season for delicata squash is from September to November. However, the exact timing can vary based on factors such as the region, local climate, and farming practices. Look for this flavorful squash in farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and supermarkets during its seasonal peak for the freshest and most abundant supply.
Delicata squash is usually ready for harvest when it reaches its mature size and develops a firm, solid feel. The skin should have a creamy color with distinct green or orange stripes. Additionally, the stem connecting the squash to the vine should be dry and the skin hard enough that you can’t easily puncture it with your fingernail. Harvest delicata squash before the first frost, as exposure to frost can damage the quality.
Typically, the harvesting time for delicata squash falls between 75 to 100 days after planting, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions. It’s advisable to check the individual recommendations for the variety you are growing and monitor the squash regularly as it approaches maturity.
Yes, you can eat the skin of delicata squash. Unlike some other winter squash varieties, delicata squash has a thin and tender skin that is entirely edible when cooked. Roasting, baking, or sautéing delicata squash with the skin on not only simplifies the cooking process but also adds a pleasant texture and flavor.
To determine if a delicata squash is ripe and ready for harvest, consider the following indicators:
1. Color: Look for a creamy color with distinct green or orange stripes. Delicata squash should have a vibrant, well-defined pattern on its skin when it’s ripe.
2. Firmness: Gently press the squash with your finger. A ripe delicata squash should feel firm and have a solid texture. Avoid squash with soft spots or areas that give excessively when pressed.
3. Skin Toughness: The skin of a ripe delicata squash becomes hard and resistant to puncturing. Try to press your fingernail into the skin; if it resists, the squash is likely ripe.
4. Stem Condition: Check the stem where the squash connects to the vine. A dried and brown stem is a sign of maturity. If the stem is green and fresh, the squash may not be fully ripe.
5. Size: Delicata squash is typically harvested when it reaches its mature size. While specific sizes can vary between varieties, a ripe delicata squash generally has a size consistent with its mature characteristics.
While delicata squash is becoming more popular and widely available, it might still be less common than some other squash varieties for a few reasons:
1. Growing Conditions: Delicata squash has specific growing conditions and may not be as adaptable to a wide range of climates as more common squash varieties. It might be more regionally produced.
2. Harvest Season: Delicata squash has a specific harvest season, typically in the fall. Outside of this season, it might be less visible in grocery stores.
3. Shelf Life: Compared to some other winter squash varieties, delicata squash has a shorter shelf life, and its skin is thinner, making it more perishable. This can impact its availability throughout the year.
4. Culinary Trends: As culinary trends evolve, certain ingredients gain or lose popularity. Delicata squash has been gaining recognition in recent years, but it might not have been as commonly used in the past.
Despite these factors, the increasing interest in diverse and unique vegetables, as well as the growing popularity of delicata squash in various cuisines, has contributed to its wider availability in many grocery stores and markets.
The best temperature for roasting delicata squash is around 400°F (200°C). Roasting at this temperature allows the squash to caramelize, developing a delicious flavor and a tender texture.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Roasted Delicata Squash
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- 2 pounds delicata squash (2 medium squash)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or sub brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 tsp EACH paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme (or sub rosemary for thyme)
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
- Prep: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet (13×18) with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
- Wash and trim: Wash and dry the outside of the squash. Trim off both ends.
- Halve and remove seeds: To slice the squash in half lengthwise, I find it easiest to stand it straight up on the cutting board, then slice top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds.
- Make rings: Place squash cut side down on a cutting board. Cut slices ¾-inch thick.
- Roast: Add the squash slices to prepared baking sheet in a single layer without touching (reserve any remaining glaze). Bake for 15 minutes, then brush the tops of the squash with remaining glaze. Flip over, and bake an additional 15-20 minutes depending on desired tenderness/caramelization.
- Storage: Let roasted delicata squash cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
- To freeze: Place roasted, cooled slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and flash-freeze for 1-2 hours, until solid. Transfer the half-moons to a freezer-safe, airtight container or zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label the container with the date and store in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
- To reheat in the oven: Spread the frozen or thawed delicata half moons on a baking sheet in a single layer Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly warmed, flipping halfway through.
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