There’s been a subtle change of step. The days are getting shorter, the winds are cooling down, and the first fires of the season have been lit. Fall’s here. And with it, an abundance of squash.
Butternut and acorn are loved by many, myself included. But there’s another lesser-known variation that you need to know about: the delicata.
Delicata hit the seed market over a decade ago. It was hugely popular when it was first introduced in the late 1800s but due, in part, to its shorter shelf life (and smaller yield), the delicata was less commercially viable than its hardier counterparts, like butternut and acorn.
As a result, delicata (also known as bohemian or peanut squash) fell out of mainstream gardens during the Great Depression and has only recently made its way back into homes and gardens thanks to new and improved varieties.
The delicata’s thin skin makes it highly susceptible to various diseases and it can be easily bruised during harvest. But that thin skin is precisely what sets the delicata apart from its cousins. It boasts an incredibly tender summer squash skin, one that does not need to be peeled prior to cooking. In fact, the skin enhances the dish with a hint of buttery flavor and creamy texture.
When it comes to cooking, this dainty early winter squash can do just about anything. Stuff it, bake it, sautée or steam it. But its best form is perhaps its simplest: the roasted delicata. Not only is it exceptionally simple to make, but roasted delicata also tastes like sweet autumn sunshine.
Or, another way to put it: a french fry. And a McDonald’s french fry, at that. The perfect balance of salt and slightly sweet, you’ll think you’re indulging when you bite into a roasted slice. But you’re not.
Delicata is magically nutritious, possibly more so than other winter squashes. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and beta-carotene. More importantly, though, it’s lower carb than both butternut and acorn.
As you settle into the hunker-down, sweater weather time of year, add roasted delicata squash to your fall menu. It will quickly become your new favorite fall comfort food.
Roasted Delicata Squash
- 2 whole delicata squashes
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut ends off of the squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into ½” half-moons.
- On a large baking sheet, toss squash with oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast until golden and soft on the inside, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
*Pro-tip: add any additional spices or herbs—such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, or basil—for enhanced, bright flavor. But do try first on its own!