Nov 14, 2019

Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso Fresco

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
This dish makes for a great unexpected side for your Thanksgiving table. I like roasting acorn squash because the skin becomes tender over time so it can be eaten - the skin is in fact delicious and adds a bit of texture to the dish.

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This dish makes for a great unexpected side for your Thanksgiving table. I like roasting acorn squash because the skin becomes tender over time so it can be eaten – the skin is in fact delicious and adds a bit of texture to the dish. If you are still skeptical, the skin will easily peel away from the flesh after it’s roasted.

Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso Fresco

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Acorn squash – Acorn squash has a mild yet sweet and nutty flavor. While I leave the skin on in this recipe for the texture it can easily be removed either before or after cooking.
  • Ancho chili – Ancho chili comes from dried poblano peppers. Did you know that the dried versions of peppers are given a different name? I only recently found this out. For example, dried ripe jalapeños are chipotles and Mirasol peppers are guajillo peppers. Ancho is a dark version of chili powder that adds a slightly smoky rich flavor and mild heat to the dish which then contrasts with the buttery acorn squash. Rather than just tossing the seeds from the squash they are roasted and used as a crisp topping.
Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso Fresco recipe from Cooking with Cocktail Rings

How to Cut Acorn Squash

Use a sharp chef’s knife or other heavy-duty knife to cut squash in half. Just be careful as no one needs any emergency room trips around the holidays.

  1. Cut both the squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and setting aside. 
  2. Trim ¼-inch from the stem end and bottom of each squash and discard.
  3. Slice each half into ½-inch slices.

How to Make Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash

  1. Cut the squash. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut both the squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and setting aside. Trim ¼-inch from the stem end and bottom of each squash and discard. Slice each half into ½-inch slices.
  2. Season the squash. Toss in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and arrange in an even single layer on a baking sheet. Season with the ancho chili powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the squash. Roast the squash for 20 minutes then flip each piece and continue roasting until golden brown and tender, about an additional 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Roast the seeds. While the squash is roasting, clean the membrane from the seeds and discard, rinsing the seeds until separated and clean. Pat dry with a paper towel and toss with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Roast until dried and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
  5. Assemble and serve. Arrange squash on a platter and top with the roasted seeds, lime zest, queso and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso Fresco harsh light

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Ancho Chili Roasted Acorn Squash with Queso Fresco

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • Handful cilantro leaves

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut both the squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and setting aside. Trim ¼-inch from the stem end and bottom of each squash and discard. Slice each half into ½-inch slices.
  • Toss in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and arrange in an even single layer on a baking sheet. Season with the ancho chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the squash for 20 minutes then flip each piece and continue roasting until golden brown and tender, about an additional 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • While the squash is roasting, clean the membrane from the seeds and discard, rinsing the seeds until separated and clean. Pat dry with a paper towel and toss with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Roast until dried and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
  • Arrange squash on a platter and top with the roasted seeds, lime zest, queso and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

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