Sweet and Sour Roasted Squash is an incredibly easy side dish that is as beautiful as it is delicious. As the name suggests, it’s sweet, sour and even a little bit spicy thanks to the addition of some Aleppo pepper. To finish the dish, I like to add some toasted pecans for some added crunch. The play of flavours and textures is incredible.
The play of sweet and sour comes from an easy agrodolce sauce. Sounds fancy, but it’s really just a combination of sugar and vinegar. To keep things Paleo, I like to use a natural sweetener, such as pure maple syrup or honey. The taste is incredible so I see no reason to not use a healthier option here. It’s also very versatile and makes an amazing glaze for grilled meats, like these pork chops.
There are two important tips when it comes to making delicious roasted squash. The first is to space them out on the baking sheet with one of the cut sides. Giving them enough room to “breathe” will result in a deeper caramelization, which is a good thing. Placing them with one of the cut sides down allows for contact to be made with the baking sheet, which actually helps brown the squash.
The other tip is to cook the squash undisturbed. Most recipes call for flipping squash halfway. So, for example, if you cook the squash for 50 minutes total, you’re asked to flip at the 25 minute mark. I actually find this to result in a less caramelized, and less delicious, roasted squash. Instead, I let the squash roast for 40 minutes before flipping it and glazing it with the agrodolce sauce. This way, the squash has enough time to develop a deep and delicious crust on at least one side.
Sweet and Sour Roasted Squash
- 1 acorn squash seeded and cut into 2-inch-thick wedges
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil EVOO
- 6 springs fresh thyme tied together with butcher’s twine
- 2 cloves garlic - smashed
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- ¼ cup unsalted pecans toasted and roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the squash, avocado oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the squash on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, cut side-down. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Roast the squash for 40 minutes, undisturbed, or until the bottom of each wedge is golden brown and the centers can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, add the vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic and thyme to a cold, 2-quart sauce pan. Set the pan over medium-low heat and gently cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced in volume by 1/4, approximately 12 minutes. Discard the garlic and thyme and set the sauce aside.
- Flip the squash wedges, drizzle with ¼ of the sauce and return it to the oven to allow the sauce to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Arrange the squash on a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining sauce and season with the Aleppo pepper. Garnish with the pecans and serve immediately.