Grilled Delicata Squash is easy to make and bursts with flavor. The natural sweetness and the warm, creamy center make this the perfect side to a winter dish but it is light enough to enjoy during a summer BBQ too!
Grilled delicata squash is the perfect low carb, gluten free side dish. It’s easy to make and tastes amazing! You can even prep it ahead of time for an easy weeknight dinner. We’ve got all the tips and tricks right here in this recipe so you can get started cooking today.
From my experience, kids and adults alike really enjoy this dish. Guests are always impressed when I serve this because it's different. They think I put in a lot of time and effort to make something extra special. I did make something special, but it really takes no time at all!
My kids on the other hand love it when I serve them a half squash so they can scoop out the creamy center on their own. It's fun for them to eat this way and combined with the sweetness, they forget it is a vegetable.
What is delicata squash?
Delicata squash is a winter squash, similar to butternut squash. You likely see them pop up in stores near pumpkins and gourds. They have an off-white/yellow color with dark green stripes. Don't be fooled though, delicata squash is more than just a decoration!
If you like the taste of sweet potatoes you'll likely enjoy the sweet flavor of delicata squash too. I've heard the flavor be described as a cross between sweet corn and pumpkin pie, and I couldn't agree more. When cooked the flesh of the vegetable has a sweet, caramelized nutty flavor that even the pickiest eaters enjoy.
Delicata squash can be eaten raw or cooked. Delicata is actually named for the squash's delicate and edible skin! If you are wondering whether or not you would enjoy eating the rind, I would describe it as similar to that of zucchini. Either way, this recipe is for cooked delicata squash, and eating the rind is completely optional.
How to cut delicata squash
Delicata squash is easier to cut than many of the other winter squashes but if you are having trouble you can poke it with a fork and microwave for 30-60 seconds before cutting it. This helps soften it. For this recipe I just cut the squash in half lengthwise.
How to prepare delicata squash
This grilled delicata squash recipe is simple enough that anyone can do it but tasty enough that everyone will love it. Plus, with our step-by-step instructions, you won’t have any trouble.
My favorite way to eat and serve delicata squash is grilled. Cooking brings out its natural sweetness and makes the center perfectly tender and creamy.
It only takes a few minutes to prep and get the squash on the grill, and the only additional ingredients you'll need are salt, pepper, and olive oil. Here is how to make it:
Step 1: Using a sharp knife slice your squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and insides using a metal spoon. No peeling required!
Step 2: Drizzle each half with olive oil. You can spread it evenly using your hands or a brush.
Step 3: Sprinkle with salt (kosher salt or other) and black pepper.
Step 4: Grill on medium for 25 minutes. You can use a fork to test for desired tenderness and grill longer as needed.
Grilled delicata squash can be served fresh off the grill but if you want to mix it up there are many things you could do. Once the squash is done grilling you can cut it up and toss it with a salad or pasta dish, or stuff it with a grain salad or protein to make it a full meal. For an extra sweet treat, you can drizzle with maple syrup or honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. If you are looking for entree suggestions I recommend serving it with this garlic roast chicken.
I like to slice the grilled delicata squash halves into smaller slices and serve it with baby spinach leaves, roasted salted pecans, dried cranberries, and balsamic glaze.
Could I bake these in the oven instead?
Don't feel like cleaning the snow off the grill? You could bake these in the oven to make roasted delicata squash instead. You'll lose a little bit of that grill flavor but baking will still bring out the sweet, creamy deliciousness. Prepare the same way you would for grilling but pop them on a baking sheet. Use a fork to test for the desired tenderness and cook longer as needed.
Alternatively, you can remove the seeds and cut it into cubes before roasting in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
What other squash could I use?
One thing I love about squash is how versatile it is. Depending on the time of year, grocery stores may have different squashes in stock. Any type of winter squash would work for this grilled squash recipe. For example:
- Butternut Squash is a winter squash variety that comes in many different shapes and sizes. It’s one of the most popular varieties available because it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes! Grilled butternut squash is delicious.
- Acorn Squash is one of the most popular squashes. It's called acorn because its shape resembles an acorn.
- Hubbard Squash is another variety of winter squash. It has dark green, rough-textured skin with cream-colored flesh.
- Spaghetti Squash is a unique vegetable that resembles spaghetti. It's delicious when roasted with herbs and spices, or added to soups.
Depending on the squash you choose you may not be able to eat the skin. Delicata is one of the few winter squashes with edible skin. But they all have delicious flesh once they are cooked.
Delicata Squash Nutrition
One of the joys of eating delicata squash is that it tastes like sweet potatoes but has a fraction of the carbs and calories. So for those of you watching your carbohydrate intake, this might be a delicious substitute for starchy potatoes. Delicata squash is also a great source of fiber and potassium which we can all probably always use a little more of! They also have vitamins C and B and I always feel good when I know my kids are getting their vitamins!
Grilled delicata squash fits into vegan, paleo, and gluten-free lifestyles too.
- 1 delicata squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
To Serve (optional)
- baby spinach
- roasted salted pecans
- dried cranberries
- balsamic glaze
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill on medium for 25 minutes or until fork-tender.