Roasted Acorn Squash, with Applesauce and Cinnamon

When we were growing up, my mother cooked dinner every night. There was always a  protein, a vegetable, and a starch except on Sundays when one of my grandmothers cooked dinner and the lines between the food groups were blurred by the magnificent bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on the table. Milk was the only beverage served and it was poured from the “Orange Poppy” ceramic milk pitcher. Milk bottles on the table were a big No-No with Mom.


The table was always set, and food was served in pretty serving bowls that dotted the table. We ate what Mom cooked. At the time, I so envied my next door neighbors who got to sit in front of the television and have TV Dinners.


Mom was a single parent, worked full-time, and was a fabulous cook. I was her sous chef and worked by her side to get dinner on the table. Helping with dinner was a point of pride; we were a team. While structured family meals have undergone some changes in the last fifty years, the way I prepare acorn squash remains the same. Mom knew how to prepare adult foods so children would eat them.


Serves 8


4 acorn squashes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups unsweetened “natural” applesauce
Cinnamon sugar (1 T sugar and 1 t ground cinnamon)
cracked pepper

Mise en Place:

Preheat oven to 400º
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Prepare Squash:
Cut off each end of squash. Cut off as little as is necessary to stabilize the squash so it will stand upright.


Cut squash in half. Admire nature’s bounty and beauty and then scoop out seeds. .


Coat the interior and top edges with EVO.


Add a quarter-cup, or more, of applesauce to each squash half. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar followed by a little cracked pepper. Place squash halves on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.


Roast for about one hour, until browned and fork-tender. Serve in a pretty serving dish.


Mom and I in the kitchen. She was tiny, but strong.

Mary Judy

Serve with:
Cooking Dinner in an Unfocused Way, or Ode to the Rice Cooker
Brooks’s Pork Tenderloin with the Most Amazing Marinade
Judy’s Mom’s Meatloaf
Mom’s Marinated and Grilled Lamb
Mom’s Apple Pie (with a cheddar streusel topping)
Mom’s Pumpkin Pie


Follow my photos of vegetables growing, backyard chickens hanging out, and dinner preparations on Instagram at JudysChickens.

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© 2014-2019 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.

24 thoughts on “Roasted Acorn Squash, with Applesauce and Cinnamon

  1. Oh does this bring back memories! I’ve never heard of the applesauce trick, will have to try that. On Sundays I would go home with my Grandma after church – she would have started the meal before church and Grandpa would tend it. My great Aunt would join us and we would play games while Grandma finished dinner. Table was always properly set and the good china was used and I had better use my manners. Great times!

    1. Kathy, Yes! The sauce was started by my grandmothers before they went to church on Sunday, too. Before they left for church they would turn the heat off. Dinner was served when they got back home. The rest of the day you were too full to do anything useful. And the table was beautifully set. Thanks for sharing your memories. They were good times. Smile.

  2. That squash made it into my napkin most of the time- it was the one thing I dreaded most, since until our plate was cleaned, you had to sit at the table (sometimes for hours)-I remember that milk pitcher well-finally, where is the “shake and bake” 😆

    Samuel A Culotta Jr. President, Broker – Owner Platinum Group Companies, LLC

    1. Sam!! Your post made me laugh. Lou was the king of falling asleep at the dinner table. I have a picture of him (somewhere) doing just that. Shake and Bake! I forgot all about THAT. Mom used it for chicken and thin pork chops. You are such a good rememberer. xo

  3. I have an acorn squash in my kitchen. I prepare and cook it like you do except I fill each of the centers with cranberries, (fresh or frozen) sprinkle with about 1T brown sugar, add some cinnamon and place 1T salted butter on top. Next time I’ll try yours!

  4. Hi Judy,

    Had to laugh at your latest blog post – the intro could have been written about our family. Yes, we always sat down to meals together. Dinners like yours, were a protein, veggie and starch for the most part, there were exceptions. My mother didn’t allow milk bottles on the table either, nor any condiment jars or green cans of parmesan cheese. All of that stuff was transferred into their own bowls.

    I was always envious of my friends who didn’t have to “sit down” to a meal with the family, but could eat on the fly. In fact I liked it when my dad was out of town and meals became more casual, like waffles and sausage. Better yet we got to go to Howard Johnson’s for fried clams!

    TV DINNERS!! The only time I had one of those was when my parents were going out so that was a “treat” for me. I only liked one kind – it was pork with stewed apples and I can’t remember what else.

    Ah, those shared universal memories . . .


    1. Kren, no condiment jars were allowed on our dinner table, either. Think about all the extra dishes to be washed that those bowls generated. I loved when Mom made pancakes for breakfast, too. It seemed so decadent at the time. Plus, faster cleanup. The only time I had TV Dinners was when I babysat for one family on Friday nights — that’s how I learned about Salisbury Steaks. I never ordered one in a restaurant because of my remembrance of how they tasted in those tin trays.

      Look what a great cook you turned out to be, by the way – some of that love of great cooking stuck. Thanks for writing! xo

  5. This looks great (well, not that TV dinner!), and reminds me to plant acorn squash again when it’s time to get back out to the garden!

    1. That is my favorite image, as well! I didn’t grow them. I picked up a boxful at a Mennonite farmstand in KY where we go for vegetables. They had a big sell off just before they closed in November for the winter. They last for a long time.

  6. O how I loved your story……she and I are from a different time, one which is now a lost art. I still do it for small dinners but my dinner guests say I am being “too fancy”….. hey, I love being fancy once in a while. XOXO

  7. If you are hosting Thanksgiving Day dinner what do you “make-ahead” and how do you plan your days leading up to the big day?

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