This flavorful squash recipe for winter is a quick and simple side dish that will get everyone to eat their veggies. Originally published February 2015. Last updated January 2023.
If you're looking for a good eat in season recipe for winter, this roasted squash is a winner. Fresh flavors and simple preparation will make it a mainstay in your rotation. Let's get into the details!
I was first introduced to squash in my grandmother's kitchen and don't remember being very into it. As an adult, I've realized that flavor and texture are key when cooking vegetables kids will want to eat as well as grownups.
This flavorful roasted veggie dish tastes bright and citrusy. You'll also taste savory and earthy notes plus a subtle fruitiness from the oil.
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Calabaza Squash, also called Mexican gray squash or gray summer squash. Calabaza squash is widely available in North America and elsewhere but if you cannot find it, you can easily use zucchini squash (green or yellow) in this recipe.
Lemon Juice and zest from fresh lemons is best but if you don't have access to fresh, lemon juice from concentrate will also work.
Olive Oil is my preferred oil for roasting squash but feel free to use the oil of your choice.
Black Pepper & Sea Salt
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients list, measurements, and step-by-step instructions!
What does calabaza squash taste like?
Calabaza squash has a mild flavor that is fairly neutral--almost sweet. It can taste a bit nutty. If you've ever had butternut or acorn squash, it will taste familiar.This recipe is fresh, bright, and zesty thanks to fresh lemon juice and zest. Even the smell of the squash when you pull it out of the oven is amazing.
By the way, squash is technically a fruit because it has seeds and comes from flowering plant parts! But we treat most squash, including calabaza squash, as a veggie because of the flavor. Keep reading for more tips on the best time to make squash and my favorite tricks and tools for this dish.
Tips & Tools
How to cook gray squash? You'll need a sheet pan for roasting calabaza squash and just about any other vegetable.
Cut the squash into bite-sized pieces and be sure to spread it out on the pan with at least one inch between each piece. This helps the squash roast rather than steam, which results in a less mushy texture.
Best cooking method for winter vegetables? Roasting is a quick and easy way to cook squash and you can combine all the ingredients on the sheet pan without the need to dirty up any other dishes. Use your hands or a couple of kitchen spoons to toss the squash in oil, spices, and lemon.
How to Serve
The flavors in this easy squash recipe pair well with a variety of other dishes. I recommend adding a protein like my orange maple chicken breast and another veggie or a grain like fluffy rice. Lemon squash is great in power bowls.
When is this recipe in season?
Calabaza squash tends to be available throughout the year, especially if you live near it's origin, as I do. But it is a winter squash, so although it can be harvested in summer, it's at it's peak during winter months. Lemons are likewise available just about any time of year but technically in season during colder months--November through April. This is when they'll be the largest and most flavorful.
More Favorite Winter Recipes
I hope you'll enjoy this citrusy squash soon and add it to creative ways to eat your veggies. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin it for later and follow me over on Pinterest.
Easy Lemon Pepper Squash Recipe
Roasted Calabaza Squash with Lemon
- 4 calabaza (gray) squash about 1 ½ pound
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick oil spray. Set aside.
- Zest one lemon into a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the squash into quarters, lengthwise, then cut each quarter into bite-sized pieces, about two inches in length.
- Add cut squash, sea salt, and black pepper to prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil then squeeze juice from zested lemon over top. Toss all ingredients until squash is evenly coated.
- Spread squash out into a single layer on pan with at least one inch of space between each piece. Transfer pan to oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Parts of squash that were in contact with sheet pan will have dark brown sear marks. Overcooking will result in texture that is too soft or mushy.
- Garnish squash with lemon zest just before serving.