Roasted delicata squash with pomegranate molasses and date syrup is a simple crowd pleaser. You don’t have to peel delicata squash, making it so easy to use. And if you haven’t discovered pomegranate molasses yet, what are you waiting for?!
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Roasted delicata squash: a simple healthy side dish
I post so many food photos, people assume I cook all the time. In reality, I don’t have nearly enough time in the kitchen. As committed as I am to eating healthy home-cooked foods, sometimes I take shortcuts (or make reservations). But shortcuts don’t have to be processed or unhealthy. Roasted delicata squash is a perfect example.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Have you ever shied away from using winter squash because it’s a bear to cut up and peel? Delicata squash is small and manageable and best of all doesn’t require peeling.
Another reason you’ll love this recipe is that you can prepare it ahead of time and even serve it room temperature if you want to. You’ll also find the pomegranate molasses and date syrup wonderful flavors for your kitchen. But if you don’t have them at hand, I offer you alternatives.
Ingredients you will need
- Delicata Squash: If you’re not familiar with delicata, they are similar in color to butternut when you cut them open, but a bit milder in flavor. The Happy Boy Farms website describes the flavor as hinting of sweet corn. Best of all, you can easily leave them in your fruit bowl on the counter for a couple of weeks (or more). I find that incredibly convenient.
- Pomegranate Molasses: This is one of my favorite kitchen condiments – it is basically the boiled down essence of pomegranate juice. Frequently used in Middle Eastern cuisines – it is tart and tangy and great for so many dishes from breakfast to dessert and everything in between. You can buy pomegranate molasses or make your own.
- Date Syrup: Date syrup is a lesser known sweetener that I love to introduce to people. You can make your own but it is available in international markets or you can buy date syrup online. No date syrup? No problem – use maple syrup.
- Aleppo pepper: Aleppo pepper is a mildly spicy Turkish pepper but if you want a touch of spice and don’t have Aleppo, a pinch of cayenne will do the trick.
- Pomegranate Arils (seeds): Finishing the dish with these crunchy, juicy seeds is beautiful and texturally wonderful. Seeds are available in most stores pre-packaged but you can buy (or grow) pomegranates and seed your own.
Steps to make this recipe
1. Slice the delicata squash down the center vertically and use a spoon to remove the seeds
2. Cut each half into half moons. Remember, you do not need to remove the skin. OR cut each half into strips and then cubes. The advantage of cubes is it will be easier to make a large amount as you can just mix them around while roasting instead of turning each half moon over.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the date syrup, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt and pepper and optional spicy pepper if using.
4. Place the squash moons on a parchment-lined cookie sheet then pour the mixture over the squash and mix it around until the pieces are coated fairly evenly and pop it in the oven.
5. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, then turn the squash moons and bake for 7 minutes more. Remove the squash from the oven and sprinkle the fresh pomegranate seeds all over to finish the dish.
Expert Tips and FAQS
I used to shy away from using whole squashes of any kind because of my fear of cutting them safely and properly. Think of delicata squash as a gateway to get over this fear.
- No matter how you decide to slice them – half moons or cubes – they will cook up quickly and the skin will be tender.
- If you are serving a larger group or want a lot of leftovers, cubes may be a bit easier to wrangle.
- You can make this dish ahead of time and then reheat or just serve it at room temp. So think about making this dish and serving it at room temperature for your Thanksgiving feast.
Delicata squash does not need to be peeled – just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and continue to cut it up as you desire.
Where can I buy pomegranate molasses and date syrup?
Date syrup and pomegranate molasses are available at your local Middle Eastern market or can be ordered online. See the ingredient section for links to two of my favorite brands for date syrup and pomegranate molasses.
What can I substitute for pomegranate molasses?
Try balsamic vinegar instead of the pomegranate molasses. Or make your own – find all the instructions in this pomegranate molasses post.
What can I substitute for date syrup?
You can use maple syrup instead of the date. Or if you have enough dates, you can try making your own!
What to serve with this dish
I highly recommend pairing this roasted delicata squash with almost any holiday or regular meal. Or you can substitute delicata squash in for the butternut squash in this elegant vegetarian wellington recipe.
And now that you’ve bought or made pomegranate molasses, here are many more recipes you can make with the tart and tangy syrup.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate Molasses and Dukkah
- Instant Pot Brisket with Pomegranate Molasses
- Pomegranate Molasses Cocktail: Minty Pomegranate Mule
- Lemony Flank Steak with Pomegranate Molasses
- Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Recipe
- Arugula and Fig Salad — The Perfect Match for Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
P.S. If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or a review in the comment section below. I so appreciate your feedback! AND find more inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Signup for my email list, too!
Roasted Delicata Squash with Pomegranate Molasses and Date Syrup
- 1 delicata squash about 12 – 15 oz
- 1 tablespoon date syrup or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Optional: Aleppo pepper or any spicy red pepper to taste, fresh pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries would be lovely too
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice the delicata squash down the center vertically, remove the seeds (you can toast these like pumpkin seeds if you want), and cut each half into half moons. You do not need to remove the skin. It is completely edible.
- In a small bowl whisk together the date syrup, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place the squash moons on a cookie sheet or parchment-lined cookie sheet then pour the date mixture over the squash and mix it around until the pieces are coated fairly evenly. If you want a hint of spiciness, sprinkle on some Aleppo pepper (a mild turkish red pepper or any red pepper that you prefer) and then pop it in the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, then turn the squash moons and bake for 7 minutes more.
- While the squash is roasting, cut open your pomegranate to release about a 1/3 cup of seeds. Use as much or as little as you like – this does not have to be precise.
- Remove the squash from the oven and sprinkle the fresh pomegranate seeds all over to finish the dish.