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This Cranberry Walnut Roasted Acorn Squash recipe is the best festive Fall side dish! It’s packed full of tender roasted acorn squash, tart cranberries, sweet red onions, crunchy toasted walnuts, and finished off with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe
Are you thinking about Thanksgiving yet? I am! I’ve also been thinking about this cranberry walnut roasted acorn squash recipe…like a lot. Yes, it’s just that good.
This recipe is loaded with all of the best Fall ingredients that come together to create a side dish that is absolutely bursting with flavor! Sweet, tart cranberries and red onions, toasty walnuts, warm sweet and spicy cinnamon, fresh minty sage, and more.
If that isn’t the epitome of Fall eating, then I don’t know what is! This festive holiday side dish is definitely something you’ll want on your holiday menu this year.
What Does Roasted Acorn Squash Taste Like?
Acorn squash has a naturally sweet, nutty, almost buttery flavor. When it’s roasted, all of those flavors are heightened when the natural sugars in the squash caramelize!
Acorn squash can be incorporated into more savory dishes, like my Thanksgiving stuffed acorn squash recipe, or into sweeter dishes, like this cranberry walnut roasted acorn squash recipe. Either way, it’s delicious!
- Garlic: I always go with fresh garlic for that delicious flavor!
- Acorn Squash: look for squash that has equal amounts of green and orange on it. The skin should also be dull rather than shiny.
- Red Onion: add a sharp sweetness that makes the perfect addition to this side dish.
- Fresh Cranberries: gives the dish a burst of tart sweetness to contrast the warmer tones from the other ingredients.
- Olive Oil: the amount of oil you use will depend on the size of your acorn squash. Just make sure you’re using enough that all of the ingredients are fully coated.
- Seasoning: fine sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon.
- Ginger: we use fresh OR ground ginger! This recipe works great with either.
- Natural Sweetener: you can use either honey or maple syrup.
- Raw Walnuts: the walnuts toast in the oven which brings out the nuttiness of the squash and adds a delicious crunch in every bite.
- Sage Leaves: optional, for garnish.
How to Cut Acorn Squash
Prepping the acorn squash is super simple! You’ll just need a sharp knife and a cutting board.
- Wash the outside of the squash thoroughly and trim off the top and the bottom.
- Use a knife to slice through the middle, from top to bottom.
- Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and the strings in the middle.
- Lay each half, flat side down, on a cutting board, and cut straight down to create 1” thick slices.
- Take each slice and cut it into smaller 1” chunks.
How to Roast Acorn Squash
After the squash is prepped and ready to go, this simple holiday side dish comes together in just a couple of minutes!
- Mix it up: Mix together squash, onion, cranberries, oil, and seasonings in a large bowl, then transfer the mixture to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Roast and serve: Roast at 375ºF for 40 minutes, toss, then roast for another 10 minutes. Add the walnuts, then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes before serving.
Is Acorn Squash Healthy?
Yes! Acorn squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is also said to help with digestion, reduce inflammation, reduce blood pressure, and support a healthy immune system.
The bonus? It tastes SO GOOD! The numerous health benefits from acorn squash paired with the other fresh and healthy ingredients used in this recipe make this holiday side dish something you can definitely feel good about!
Can You Eat the Skin of Acorn Squash?
Yes! In fact, it’s so good that I actually recommend eating it. After it’s roasted, the skin of acorn squash becomes tender and slightly caramelized and only adds to the overall deliciousness of this side dish. The skin also contains a good portion of the vitamins and nutrients that are in acorn squash. Don’t forget to wash the outside of the squash thoroughly before you chop it.
If you prefer not to eat the skin, you are more than welcome to peel it—although this does add an extra step to the squash prep process.
- Line the baking sheet. Less mess and easier cleanup is always the way to go…especially during the holidays! We use parchment paper liners.
- Wait on the walnuts. You’ll combine everything except the walnuts to start. If you add the walnuts with the other ingredients, they’ll burn before the squash is cooked all the way through.
- Check the squash. The last thing you want is crunchy or mushy squash. Be sure to check that it’s fork-tender before you take it out.
- The oil amount needed will depend on the size of your squash. You will need anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons to fully coat all of the ingredients.
How to Store
Leftover cranberry walnut roasted acorn squash will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Keep in mind that this will probably affect the texture slightly and I don’t fully recommend freezing this, though it is possible.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen then warm in the oven at 350ºF for 10 minutes or until heated through. You can microwave the leftovers but the walnuts won’t be as crunchy.
If You Like This Squash Recipe, Try These Others:
- Harvest Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing
- Roasted Kabocha Squash Recipe
- Curry Butternut Squash Noodles
- Butternut Squash Curry Soup
- How to Cut Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas
Cranberry Walnut Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large acorn squash 1" cubed
- 1 medium red onion sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- Optional: Sage leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add squash, onion and cranberries and toss with oil, spices, ginger, and sweetener.
- Roast for 40 minutes, toss, and roast another 10 minutes, until squash fork tender.
- Add the walnuts and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- Garnish and serve!
- If your squash is large, you may need more oil, hence the varying amount.
I’ve made this recipe twice now…once for Thanksgiving as it is written, and again at Christmas with a swap of butternut squash and pecans instead of acorn squash and walnuts. Equally fantastic and gobbled up by my family. Thank you for a great recipe.
I made this for my family for Thanksgiving and they LOVED it! I tripled the recipe and added butternut squash too and it was delicious and super easy to make. Even toddler approved!
I am so so happy!
Not only was this really yummy, it was beautiful with the colors and textures. I’ve never ever eaten the skin of an acorn squash and it was surprisingly tasty. We will make this again since it was such a hit at our Thanksgiving table!
There is nothing I like more in the Fall than roasted vegetables, and this is a great Thanksgiving recipe too!
Yes!!!! The burst of cranberry and walnuts are perfect for Thanksgiving!