Recipe of the Week: Harissa-Roasted Acorn Squash

By Amy Pennington

December 1, 2016

Image Credit: 

All images: KKDundas

Recipe of the Week is contributed by Seattle-based award-winning cookbook author, urban farmer and Seattle magazine contributor Amy Pennington.

Winter squash is one of the few colorful vegetables available to use all winter long. This dish is a wonderful side dish for a crowd: it cooks up quickly and takes little effort. Further, a soft-fleshed squash like butternut does not require peeling. I roast squash this way at least once a week and eat it as-is, or add a handful to grain bowls. You can also mash leftovers into a hummus-like dip for crudité or chips.

Harissa is a Middle Eastern oil–based relish made from crushed chiles, garlic and spices such as coriander. Although it may sound exotic, you can find harissa in most international sections of the grocery store or in smaller ethnic markets. It can be used on its own as a condiment for many meals.

Here, I combine slices of acorn squash with a spoonful of spicy Moroccan harissa, toss it together, and bake it. It’s one of my favorite recipes in my Fresh Pantry eBook series. The dish is a perfect pairing and takes only ten minutes to prepare. It also holds well, so it’s a great whip-together side dish for a potluck dinner. Add a garnish of plain yogurt for a nice cooling element.

Harissa-Roasted Acorn Squash
Excerpted from Fresh Pantry, Skipstone Publishing 

1 acorn squash, washed well, cut in half, seeds removed
3 tablespoons harissa
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash into 2-inch-wide slices and put them in a large bowl. Add the harissa, olive oil, and salt, tossing with your hands to coat evenly. Put the squash in a shallow roasting pan, mak- ing sure the slices do not overlap. Scrape up any harissa remaining in the bowl and add it to the squash pieces, then put the pan in the oven.

After 20 minutes of baking, toss the squash lightly to recoat with the harissa, and return the pan to the oven. Bake for another 10 to 25 minutes (30 to 45 minutes total), until the squash is tender and the harissa starts get- ting crispy and thick. Serve immediately, with spoons, so guests can scoop the soft flesh out of each slice.

PANTRY NOTE: Any leftover Harissa-Roasted Acorn Squash can be mashed and used as a filling or added in chunks to a chickpea stew during the final stages of cooking. You can also purée Harissa-Roasted Acorn Squash with chicken stock for a spicy squash soup.

More seasonal recipes by Amy Pennington on Seattle magazine:

Homemade Aged Eggnog
Maple-Baked Acorn Squash & Sage
Fried Apple Hand Pies

Rocky Rochon’s keen eye for space and color has transformed everything from penthouses to townhomes. At age 67, he’s not done yet.