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Recipes » Soups & Salads » How to Make Crispy Delicata Squash

How to Make Crispy Delicata Squash

My method on how to make crispy squash will soon become a “baked moons of deliciousness” obsession, and you’ll be adding them to every salad!

Warm and mildly sweet Delicata squash is tossed in an herby olive oil before being coated with fresh Parmesan cheese. The little moons are baked in the oven until crispy, then paired with Roquefort and drizzled with a honey vinaigrette. This method for making crispy squash is sure to impress.

squash on a baking sheet, with olive oil

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Assembled into a salad, this dish has texture, nutrition, plenty of fiber, and satisfies those cravings for sweet ‘n salty. The squash moons can be served warm or at room temperature which is my preference for them. Whether as a snack or atop a salad, crispy squash is for sure a real crowd pleaser.

Simple ingredients baked to “a crispy Parmesan cheese golden brown,” all in your oven in just about 20 minutes. My troop has been gobbling this up as a side dish for a couple of months now.

Last night, I added them to a butter lettuce salad and topped it all with a veiny crumbled Roquefort. I whisked a 1-minute dressing, drizzled, and et voilà!

Not only GORGEOUS, but DELICIOUS. Just two Delicata squash scattered atop a baking sheet in a single layer, drizzled with fresh herbs, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, fed ten people as a side salad.

It’s that time of year where we entertain weekly, so finding ‘easy extras’ that are healthy and taste great are required. Use Delicata squash in this method or acorn squash for best results. It’s the perfect side dish!

a salad, with crispy squash

Crispy Squash Ingredients

  • Delicata squash (at least two fresh squash)
  • olive oil or vegetable oil
  • smoked paprika
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • garlic powder, NOT garlic salt
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh sage leaves
  • fresh thyme leaves

For the salad

  • butter lettuce leaves
  • Roquefort cheese

For the honey vinaigrette

  • olive oil
  • honey
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • onion powder
  • dried oregano
a white plate, with food and salad

Steps for How to Make Crispy Squash

  • Step One. Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the squash under warm water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  • On a large cutting board, cut the ends off each squash, then cut each right down the middle lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the pulp.
  • Cut each half into moons. These squash slices should be about 1/2-inch thick. Set aside.
a bowl of grated cheese
  • Step Two. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil together with some smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and Kosher salt. Chop the leaves of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage until they are more or less fine.
  • Whisk the herbs right into the oil mixture. Add the squash slices to the mixture and toss well to coat.
a hand, whisking vinaigrette
  • Step Three. In a separate shallow bowl or pie plate (I have found this is the best way to do this), grate about a cup of Parmesan cheese from a block. No stuff shaken from a big green can, we are going ‘real deal’ all the way.
  • One by one, take a piece of squash and roll it in the cheese. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all of the squash. If there is cheese left in the bowl, sprinkle it over the squash.
a hand, coating squash in cheese
  • Step Four. Bake the squash in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the squash has achieved a deep golden brown and the cheese begins to brown deeply around the edges of the squash. Remove from the oven, set the baking sheet on a wire rack (cooling rack), and allow to cool for a minute or two before serving.
  • ProTip: I sometimes allow the squash to go an extra 3 to 5 minutes in the oven so they become VERY CRISPY and can easily be used in lieu of chips for dipping in ranch dressing as a snack!
baked crispy squash
  • Step Five. If you plan to use atop my Delicata Roquefort Salad, assemble a handful of butter lettuce leaves on a platter or individual plates. Add crispy Parmesan squash moons to the top and sprinkle a generous amount of a Roquefort (or perfumy Bleu cheese) over the top.
  • In a mini food processor or jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake up a quarter cup of olive oil, three-ish tablespoons of honey, two-ish tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar (may substitute red wine vinegar), a quarter teaspoon onion powder, and a hefty pinch of dried oregano.
  • Blend or whisk until emulsified, TASTE FOR SEASONING, then drizzle lightly all over the salad leaves and squash.
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FAQ’s and Tips

Where Can I Find Delicata Squash?

Peak season for Delicata squash is late August/early September and you can find it at your grocery store or farmer’s market pretty much through December. Despite it being a winter squash, it seems to be available year-round in most instances which is how we have been enjoying as both a fall and summer meal.

I saved some seeds because I intend to give it a go and attempt growing a few plants here in the backyard garden.

Do I Peel the Squash?

You need not peel a Delicata squash. The entire squash including the thin skin, hence “Delicata or delicate,” is edible.

Can I Use a Different Squash?

Squash is a favorite thing of mine, and we enjoy the abundance of squash available year-round whether it’s a beautiful yellow squash, a zucchini, or any variety of winter squash.

For this method, using either a Delicata squash or an acorn squash works best because they are naturally sweet which plays off the salty Parmesan beautifully.

What to Do with the Excess Oil?

You’ll inevitably have some of the olive oil mixture left over once you’ve coated the rounds of squash. You can opt for drizzling the remaining oil and herb mixture atop the squash or discard it.

For me, adding all of the excess oil makes me feel like I’m indulging in deep-fried foods which is what this method is meant to negate. So, I discard. If you are really intent to use it, use a teaspoon and see if you can drizzle just the solids over a few of the squash.

This will mainly be the herbs and it’s the perfect way to ensure those tiny bits of flavor do not to waste.

How to Store Leftovers?

The baked moons will keep in an airtight container on the counter for a day. I like to dice them and re-bake briefly in the toaster oven before adding to tomato bisque soup like croutons or lay across a slice of thick crusty bread that I toast along with some melted cheddar and crispy fried sage leaves.

If you have a classic recipe that you believe could be elevated with the addition of crispy squash, consider any leftovers already allocated.

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How to Make Crispy Delicata Squash

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
My method on how to make crispy squash will soon become a "baked moons of deliciousness" obsession, and you'll be adding them to every salad!
No ratings yet
Servings: 10 servings depending on how large the squash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 10 servings depending on how large the squash
Calories 276 kcal

Equipment

  • rimmed baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • mixing bowls
  • grater or microplane

Ingredients
 

  • 2 medium Delicata squash washed well, thoroughly dried, halved and deseeded and sliced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch moons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika sweet or hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary fresh; chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon thyme fresh; chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon sage fresh; chopped fine
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated from a block of aged Parmesan, NOT imitation cheese
  • 6 cups butter lettuce leaves
  • 3/4 cups Roquefort cheese crumbled; may substitute a perfumy Bleu cheese if unable to source Roquefort

for the honey vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the squash under warm water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. On a large cutting board, cut the ends off each squash, then cut each right down the middle lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the pulp. Cut each half into moons. These squash slices should be about 1/2-inch thick. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk olive oil together with some smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and Kosher salt. Chop the leaves of fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage until they are more or less fine. Whisk the herbs right into the oil mixture. Add the squash slices in the mixture and toss well to coat.
  • In a separate shallow bowl grate 1 cup of Parmesan cheese from a block. One by one, take a piece of squash and roll it in the cheese. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all of the squash. If there is cheese left in the bowl, sprinkle it over the squash.
  • Bake the squash in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the squash has achieved a deep golden brown and the cheese begins to brown deeply around the edges of the squash. There is no need to turn or flip the squash. Remove from the oven, set the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow to cool before adding to the salad.
  • To assemble the salad, arrange a handful of butter lettuce leaves on a platter or individual plates. Add crispy Parmesan squash moons to the top and sprinkle a generous amount of a Roquefort (or perfumy Bleu cheese) over the top.
  • In a mini food processor of jar with a tight-fitting lid, blend or shake up a quarter cup of olive oil, three-ish tablespoons of honey, two-ish tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar (may substitute red wine vinegar), a quarter teaspoon onion powder, and a hefty pinch of dried oregano. Blend or whisk until emulsified, then drizzle lightly all over the salad leaves and squash.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Buy Delicata Squash at your grocery store of farmer’s market beginning in August and through December. Do not peel the squash. 
Substitute Acorn Squash in lieu of Delicata is you are unable to source. 
Store Baked Crispy Squash moons in an airtight container on the counter up to 1 day. Dice and re-toast in a toaster oven and add like croutons to soup or assemble toasted thick crusty bread with pieces of crispy squash, melted cheddar cheese, and fried sage leaves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 10gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 612mgPotassium: 710mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 6355IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 331mgIron: 3mg
Keyword fall, salad, squash
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